Cambridge SU's Annual Wins: Dealing with the Pandemic

COVID-19 has unfortunately been a defining feature of this academic year, but together with students, we changed University policy to work in the interests of students.

COVID-19 has unfortunately been a defining feature of this academic year, but together with students, we changed University policy to work in the interests of students. 

 

As early as August 2020, it became clear that the University’s approach to remote study would be inflexible, making it difficult for students to make an informed decision about where they wanted to study. By November, we had secured an agreement whereby Postgraduate Research students could study remotely at their own discretion. When another lockdown was announced in November we also secured retrospective amnesty from disciplinary action for students who had left accommodation. In Lent term, following the announcement of a third national lockdown, we saw that different colleges had adopted inconsistent approaches to giving permission for a return to accommodation. We presented a paper to Senior Tutors’ Committee, securing an agreement from colleges that they would alter their systems to be as fair and transparent as possible. By Easter term, our consistent lobbying throughout the year contributed to a system where students were allowed to study remotely or in Cambridge largely at their own discretion

 

With the disruption caused by two lockdowns in Michaelmas and Lent terms, it became clear that it would be unreasonable to expect assessments to be conducted normally. Following an open forum, we secured a framework for assessments that allowed faculties and departments to make significant changes to assessment, blanket extensions for coursework, cohort equity for finalists, and automatic progression for non-finalists. Our Access, Education, and Participation Officers then delivered training to Academic Representatives on how to lobby for changes at a local level. Whilst not perfect, this resulted in significant changes in many departments and faculties that helped to mitigate some of the pandemic’s impacts. 

 

Through our #DemandSafeCambridge Campaign, we also secured testing for students living out of College accommodation by Lent term, giving particularly Postgraduate students the ability to study and work more safely. 

 

 

Other news