SU take a stand for a no detriment policy and value for money for UCL students

Find out here what the SU is doing for Students in regard to a No Detriment policy and ensuring Students get value for money this year.

They are “determined to ensure that everything at UCL is designed to make it a place where you can truly succeed”.

The SU has just released an Open Letter to Students, detailing their plan to help us get the protection and support we need and deserve this year, especially through no detriment policies and fee reduction.

They start by recognising how difficult higher education has been during the pandemic and acknowledging how our education “in its current form doesn’t support a healthy learning environment”.

The Letter then goes on to thank the academic reps who have fought to make this year “viable and valuable”, before expressing gratitude to every person who has signed the petitions, made their voices heard and expressed feedback on the challenges of this year.

Regarding the no detriment policy

The Union opens its response and strategy plan for a no detriment policy by explaining that the direction they thought learning would take this year is different than the road the pandemic has forced it to navigate. Specifically, they anticipated that there would be face to face activity from January, and this is why UCL claimed: “there would be no compromise on the academic standards you’ve come to expect”.

However, they acknowledge that now the situation has escalated to a point where the Temporary Operating Model employed in Term 1 is no longer suitably supported by extenuating circumstances and Statements of Reasonable Adjustments (SORAs) and that further measures are necessary.  They admit that there “is no longer an environment in which students feel confident in their ability to perform optimally in their learning and assessments, and the online platforms we rely on are not beneficial for a healthy learning environment” and that “it is time for UCL to do more”.

Therefore SU is now actively working with UCL to design a “safety net and additional academic mitigation” just as they did last year.

This move and collaboration will require a few steps. The first of which is an emergency meeting of the UCL Education Committee tomorrow on Friday 8th January. The SU says that they anticipate that the Examinations and Assessments Contingency Panel will be re-established here, the same panel responsible for contributing to the no-detriment policy last year.

They assure students that they are “committed to ensuring that …fair and reasonable mitigations are implemented to address all the issues you have faced”.

The Letter then thanks UCL staff for the changes and adaptations they have made this year, before stressing one again the necessity for a safety net policy. The SU claims that the main issues that need to be taken into account in the design of this policy are “the impact on student mental health and wellbeing, the impact for grade inflation, and the academic integrity and prestige of a UCL degree”.

On tuition fees and value for money

The SU also addresses the cost of learning this year in their Open Letter.

They note that despite great efforts by the University, the learning experience this year is simply not comparable to years in the past.

The SU’s stance on campaigning for fee reduction is that doing so at a national level will be the most effective and productive measure we can take.

They note that “individual complaints made directly to institutions may result in individual outcomes” but for a total reduction in fees for all we need to push in National campaigns.

Therefore, the SU will not be pushing for UCL, but for a National reduction in fees and they are currently “spearheading national action, collaborating with other Students’ Unions across the country and ramping up [their] lobbying efforts to the Government and its Department for Education”.

They have promised to keep the student body in the loop about any updates over the coming days, and we too will try and get this News to you as fast as we can.

To read the Union’s statement in full click here.