Today, Cambridge SU has launched an Open Letter to demand that the University of Cambridge adopt ‘no detriment’ measures produced in close collaboration with students for this year’s exams.
We oppose Cambridge’s decision to join other Russell Group universities in ruling out the adoption of a ‘no detriment’ policy for this year’s exams. The Russell Group joint statement from 7th January refuses to recognise that, despite the steps that have been taken to mitigate the disruption of COVID-19 on students’ lives, the scale of this disruption necessitates adjustments to workloads and exam arrangements. Crucially, the Open Letter states that, “to categorically rule out the possibility of adopting a set of ‘no detriment’ policies without any consultation from students demonstrates a disregard for the sacrifices that students have already had to make and will continue to make to keep up with their studies this year.”
The Open Letter collates the concerns raised by the more than 120 students who attended our Open Meeting on 8th January, as well as the countless students who reached out to us following the announcement of lockdown. Our demands are broad in their scope and together they provide concrete recommendations outlining what steps the University needs to take so that no student is disadvantaged as a result of circumstances that are beyond their control.
We hope to build and mobilise student support for our Open Letter to push the University to rescind its support for the Russell Group Statement and work with students to make much-needed adjustments to exam and assessment arrangements that reflect the stark reality of the current situation. In addition to lobbying senior decision-makers, we will be coordinating with academic reps to ensure that the student voice is being heard at all levels of University management and promote course-specific ‘no detriment’ measures. Students in a range of subjects, such as English, HSPS, PBS, and History, have already started their own open letters to their faculties advocating for subject-level adjustments to workloads and exam arrangements, such as a wider selection of questions in exam papers and the option of dropping or modifying certain papers.
We urge students to sign and share our Open Letter, and to get in touch with their academic reps to discuss how students can collaborate within their subject cohorts to raise their concerns with their faculties and schools. We have also put together a resources document with more information on putting together your own open letters. You can find out who your academic reps are by logging into the Cambridge SU website with your Raven details and using the ‘Find My Rep’ function. Students can also reach out to our Access, Education, and Participation Officers firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for support and advice.