The democratic SU body has mandated the SU to campaign for an opt-in system for in-person teaching, with all education available online.
Our Student Council voted yesterday on a motion that mandates the SU to campaign on a suite of measures to minimise disruption caused by an increase in COVID-19 transmission across the University. The motion notes the various ways in which the University has provided inadequate support for online teaching, as well as shortcomings in providing extra welfare provision as student loneliness becomes a major issue of the term.
The amended motion, which was accepted as friendly by the proposers of the initial motion, endorses Cambridge SU’s #DemandSafeCambridge campaign which was launched in September. The campaign includes demands for the Collegiate University to provide safe socialising spaces for students, take a compassionate approach to discipline, and provide adequate adjustments in pay for the increased workload that comes with providing high-quality online teaching.
The original motion sought to challenge the position the SU took two weeks ago in demanding that all “non-essential in-person teaching” be moved online, which had garnered some pushback from students. The SU stated:
“We have consulted a large number of J/MCRs over the past week about their concerns, and found that our objectives are aligned. One of the primary issues raised was that people felt the provision of online teaching was not at the same standard as in-person small group teaching. This is the responsibility of the University and Colleges; their failure to account for the rising number of students in self-isolation and the possibility of moving to Tier 2 has led to a lack of provisions as basic as adequate college Wi-Fi. Our new position of campaigning for online teaching as the default, whilst still enabling face-to-face teaching for as long as possible, would allow for students to choose their mode of teaching whilst encouraging the University to take seriously the needs of those who cannot access in-person teaching”.
The SU is continuing to meet with both student representatives and senior University officials to lobby for the student interests outlined in the amended motion, for both this term and the next.