In February the SU has worked on a number of issues from exams mitigation, postgraduate access to divestment. Here are our wins for the month.
The SU successfully led negotiations on exam mitigation. At the beginning of Lent term, the University had publicly stated that it would not be offering a no detriment policy for students taking exams this year. The change in the University’s stance is testament to the power of lobbying and collective bargaining, as students mobilised within their subject cohorts to hold their faculties, departments and schools to account on this issue. The package of measures we negotiated are not guaranteed changes but rather provide a list of potential modifications to examination or coursework that departments and faculties can choose to implement. We believe that it is a significant win that students are being consulted across subject cohorts to determine the exam mitigation measure best suited for their course of study.
Pembroke and Trinity Colleges have committed to divesting all their investments from fossil fuel. This is a significant achievement for the SU’s Ethical Affairs campaign and students groups at the Colleges who have sustained a grassroot movement to fight climate change for many years. This month, the SU’s BME Campaign and Ethical Affairs campaign also successfully organised Green Week which continued discussion about our roles in the global environmental crisis.
Postgraduate Application Fees
We successfully lobbied the University to waive the £70 application fee for countries that do not permit foreign currency transfer. This allows postgraduate applicants from countries like Iran to apply to Cambridge free of cost. The new policy is another measure to make education at Cambridge more accessible to students from around the world.
Student Led Teaching Awards (SLTAs)
We have received just over 600 nominations for the SLTAs, the highest number of nominations in the history of the awards. The SLTAs exist to reward outstanding teaching and student support across Cambridge University and its Colleges by both teaching and non teaching staff. The nominations are testament to students’ recognition of the difficult work done by members of staff over an exceptionally challenging past year. Judging will happen later this month and there will be a virtual awards ceremony in May.
NHS and Visa Costs
The University is developing a funding search engine that aims to centralise information about all funding available in the University and Colleges. We have successfully lobbied for all funding bodies that enter their details in this search engine to indicate whether or not they cover the costs of Visa and NHS fees for international applicants. This information will be crucial in helping us target our lobbying efforts towards funding bodies that do not cover immigration costs to invest more resources into financing them.