In a January 11 post to the King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) website, the Student Officers team released a joint letter signed by 23 fellow students’ unions demanding a comprehensive safety net policy for all Russell Group students.
The update follows a 7 January Russell Group statement informing students that member university administrations are “confident that the steps taken this year will ensure all students are given a fair grade”, and would not be considering the “algorithmic approach” used in the 2020/21 academic year when designing new policies. Despite assurances that member universities “would continue to work in partnership with our students to review our approach to mitigation measures”, the government, university administrations, and student unions alike have come under fire in recent weeks for a perceived lack of communication and solidarity.
In their announcement, the KCLSU Officers Team stated: “We are calling on Universities to recognise that all students continue to be affected by the pandemic. Any rejection of safety net policies because they apply to all students fails to recognise the aforementioned fact. We call upon universities to implement safety net policies that both apply to all students, no matter their background or course, and that take into account the individual challenges students have faced. We are also asking King’s for mitigations that are specific to our students to help them the most, alongside national objectives”.
The full letter also calls for clarity in universities’ individual mitigation policies, for self-certification of mitigating circumstances applications to be rolled out Group-wide, and for member universities to use “best practices” when forming new strategies, working closely with Student Officers and academic representatives in the process.
The Russel Group consists of over 600,000 students across its 24 members universities. The letter’s addressees, CEO Dr Tim Bradshaw and the Group’s Vice-Chancellors, have yet to issue a response. King’s College London administration also has yet to comment, though the Students and Education Directorate are reportedly working with SU Officers to develop a Safety Net policy for King’s students.
Roar has reached out to individual KCLSU Student Officers for further comment.