Nottingham students deserve more support, here’s why

Tell me you’re a disregarded uni student without telling me you’re a disregarded uni student – I’ll start

Last night, the UK watched with anticipation as PM Boris Johnson came on TV to announce yet another national lockdown. Nurseries, schools, colleges- all part of the PM’s agenda. But universities? Its students? What about us?

The announcement showed us, yet again, that university students continue to be dismissed and neglected  – no mention, no support, no nothing.

It was announced that A-level and GCSE exams would not go ahead as planned- be it perhaps delays or even cancellations. As it should be. But why is this not the case for uni students?

With one less week of the Christmas holidays to prepare for the upcoming exam period, we are still expected to go ahead as planned. With no extension of the grace period and no plans in place for a student ‘safety net’ similar to the one implemented last year, students are left with Microsoft Teams and and unreliable wifi to produce the same high standard of work, whilst living in a pandemic as if we were under normal circumstances.

Let’s not even get started on the money side of things, paying the full price to teach ourselves a course online with many of us not even stepping a foot on campus this academic year.

Students in halls have been instructed by our government not to return to uni at this time – fair right? But is it fair that accommodation fees are still legally required to be paid? Not at all.

When it comes to housing contracts we should be allowed the right to withdraw without a penalty or see reductions in our rent if we are advised against returning. We are not in a normal situation and therefore it should not be treated as such.

For some of us, it isn’t as simple as it seems to work from home. Now, with libraries and working spaces on campus closed, we are expected to carry on as normal.

It is an incredibly tough and stressful time for everyone and whilst it is not helpful to find somebody to blame or to point fingers, we at least deserve the reassurance and appropriate support to make sure our education and futures are not adversely impacted by the current environment.

We are all in the same boat in a lousy storm and many of us feel helpless with some struggling more than others. The current situation has no doubt left many of us feeling lonely, isolated, worried and unmotivated, to name but a few. Therefore it is important as ever to check in on your friends, acquaintances and co. by providing each other the support we so desperately require.

Action needs to be taken. Our voices need to be heard. See the following resources to get involved in making this happen:

Open letter to VC, Shearer West, imploring for a student safety net policy

Petition for no-detriment policy

Nottingham halls rent strike

Nottingham student demands form of which information will be collated into an email template for students to send to the VC’s office and university administration

Email template for alumni and graduates