Adam Tickell signs open letter asking government to help students

He has been joined by six other vice chancellors from universities around the UK

The University of Sussex vice chancellor, Adam Tickell, has signed an open letter to the UK government.

The open letter has been addressed directly to Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, and Gavin Williamson.

The letter specifically requests more leniency for universities and their students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tickell’s signature was amongst several other vice chancellors’. The letter makes it clear that the current situation is unprecedented and it is unfair to expect the same results from students. The letter says, “existing challenges are being amplified by the impact of the pandemic on students and their life chances”.

The open letter also recognises issues of worsening mental health and troubles working from home, including poorly-functioning technology or internet – Sussex have made clear that if these are particularly challenging issues for students, they are able to move back to their university address in such exceptional circumstances.

They also stress that university management have been under new pressures which have, “stretched financial resources”, which will lead to financial deficits.

Here’s a breakdown of the proposed measures to help universities and their students during this time: A fifteen month interest waiver on student loans to cover the 15-month period from the first lockdown up until now. They also requested the government provides technical equipment, especially in cases where students lack access to a computer, laptop or tablet. Finally they asked the government to make apprenticeships more accessible in the post-university transition and also more flexibility in using other sources of government funding to aid this.

This comes after the University of Sussex have announced they are looking into no detriment policies for all students this year, due to disruption by the pandemic. The Tab Sussex have exclusively revealed that this will mean individual support for students in exceptional circumstances, course-level adjustments, and increased leniency with First Year minimum pass marks.

You can read the full open letter here.