This week we’d like to update you on the work we’ve been doing on graduation, support for students in halls and private renters, academic mitigations for summer assessments, our Fee Justice Now campaign, and on decolonising the curriculum.
We share your frustration and disappointment at the university’s decision to postpone this year’s graduations. We are meeting urgently with the university to discuss alternative ways for us all to celebrate at the end of the year. We do realise that in-person graduations this year may be different to usual to allow them to go ahead, but we’d love to hear from you about how you would like to see graduation done this year.
If you’re renting in Bristol, you'll be pleased to hear that we have written to the private lettings sector today to ask landlords to support you by providing rent reductions, tenancy releases, or rent payment holidays. We have also updated our template letter that you can send to your own landlord to request their support.
We’ve also been working to support you by building a legal case against private accommodation contracts in the pandemic, pushing the uni to be guarantors for students, and supporting the Bristol Student Housing Co-op to launch their membership.
If you’re living in university accommodation we have secured early tenancy releases from the university for anyone who no longer wants to stay living in halls. You just need to apply by the 7 May (plus if you change your mind, you can always come back and start a new tenancy, although this will likely be in a new flat!). Hundreds of students have already signed up and will no longer have to pay rent for accommodation they weren't even living in. For more info, take a look at the university website.
We are re-starting talks with the university on academic mitigations this week. As we have said before, we do not consider the mitigations package finished and will be pushing for increased mitigations from what was offered in January. We will keep you updated with any progress!
This week we led a group of 20 other SUs to write a joint letter to the Competition and Markets Authority to ask them to uphold students’ rights during the pandemic by advising on the right to withhold fees, fixing the broken complaints process, facilitate blanket fee refunds, and support students in rented accommodation. You can read the full letter on our website.
Next week we will be attending the Fee Setting Committee with the university with an aim of fighting against a rise in international students’ fees. If you’re an international student, you can help our campaign by filling in our short survey to provide evidence.
Last week we ran a ‘Decolonising Spotlight’ across our social media channels which celebrated the amazing work student groups are doing to decolonise their curriculum. Watch our video to find out more about these groups, and how you could get involved. If you’d like to set up your own decolonising the curriculum working group in your department, check out our guide to getting started.
Have a great weekend!
Roy, Rushab, Jason, Ruth, Leah, Julio, and David