Over 2,800 Notts students sign open letter to VC calling for reintroduction of ‘safety net’ policy

‘Students are facing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety’

A letter addressed to the University of Nottingham Vice-Chancellor, Shearer West, has received over 2,800 signatures calling for UoN to reintroduce the ‘safety-net’ policy for all assessments in the 2020/2021 academic year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the majority of students undertook mostly online teaching in the autumn term. With “unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety”, the letter reads, students are imploring the university to take action to support them.

UoN introduced a ‘no academic disadvantage’ policy last spring to ensure that students grades would not be adversely affected as a result of the pandemic. However, as the letter points out, learning conditions have only “worsened” since then, with students “still expected to produce the same quality and quantity of work as usual” despite the material circumstances surrounding learning being drastically different.

Last year, this policy meant that final year students’ degrees would be awarded either on the classification achieved in their work to date, or improved from high performance on final assessments. Additional support and consideration was also provided to first and second years.

Chris Taylor, a fourth year physics student at UoN, decided to write the letter after seeing many students express their concerns on the Facebook group ‘The Nottsfessional’.

He told The Nottingham Tab: “I just felt that we have been completely ignored by the university. We’re all struggling to do our best in these circumstances, but expecting students to produce work as though everything’s normal is ridiculous.

“It makes you feel like the uni doesn’t care about us to be honest. I’m worried that on top of everything else, Covid’s going to ruin how well everyone does in their degree. But, the uni has the ability to account for that, and they must.”

You can sign the open letter here.