‘This is not good enough,’ say Notts SU officers in letter to Gov
Shearer West has also been sent a similar letter
University of Nottingham Vice Chancellor, Shearer West, and Secretary for Education, Gavin Williamson, have today been sent a letter from Notts SU officers stating that the coronavirus pandemic, and the government’s handling of it, has left students in a situation that is “not good enough”.
In the letter, the Notts SU full-time officers explain that although they are “grateful for the efforts of our colleagues in the University, who have worked so very hard for the past 6 months” that it is “time to be honest”.
It has become clear, they explain, that it has “not been possible to contain the infection… and it has not been possible to consistently provide a student experience that meets the most basic expectations.”
“This is not good enough.” They repeat.
The letters goes on to outline a lengthy and detailed list of worries and anxieties currently facing students. These include damage to mental health due to lack of human contact, a “severely compromised” learning experience, inability to access stretched university support, the feeling that students are being “demonised by a government seeking to blame others for their poor management of the pandemic,” and many more.
To Professor West the letter explains that they “do not blame you or the university for this situation.”
Instead, the officers ask the Vice-Chancellor to “take a leadership role within your sector networks… to present an honest disposition of the situation that students at the University of Nottingham and across the UK are faced with.”
To Secretary of Education, Gavin Williamson, the letter says that it is “clear that you have not acted as you should”, going on to to explain that because the coronavirus and its effects on university are a national issue, “solutions sit within the power of government.”
In a clearly sterner and more urgent tone officers wrote they they “demand” Williamson “take strong and responsible leadership,” and acknowledge his “role in the creation of this predicted and avoidable situation”.
To end both letters, three demands are listed that officers “strongly urge” national policy to be reviewed to reflect. These include the ability for students to be able to make their own choices regarding whether to remain on an online only course, defer, or leave all together; suffer no financial detriment; and be “treated fairly and proportionately as members of a civil society”.
The letter comes as over 500 Notts students responded to a survey conducted by The Tab saying they were self isolating and a household mixing ban has been reported ‘likely’ due to a regional spike in coronavirus cases.