In the last few weeks, I have been updating you all on behalf of all the Full Time Officers, on social media, to let you know what we have been doing as a result of the many issues you have raised with us.
Many students living in the local community have been in touch with both myself and Amelia Trew, the Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer, on private housing and purpose-built student accommodation and financial concerns. We wrote to Clive Lewis MP earlier this month (read our letter here). The Vice Chancellor said he would be willing to write a letter encouraging landlords to be considerate at this time. There is also an update about Pablo Fanque House below.
A few first and second year students have asked me what provisions are being put in place to support students financially to return to the University in September. I was told that more discussions will be had around this in relation to a hardship fund to ensure that all can continue their studies come September.
I have had many Postgraduates getting in touch about concerns on the protections for grades. I’ve asked the university why a safety net policy has not been implemented. I have been told this morning that due to Postgraduate courses being a year, this would not be possible; however exam boards (final grading that looks at coursework and examination marks) have been informed to make considerations to ensure grades are not detrimentally affected.
If you have any queries or concerns you think need to be raised with the University, please let any of the Full Time Officers, including myself know so that we can represent you and ensure that you are getting the answers and support you need during this period. I will continue to update you on social media and be available for you all to get in touch!
NUS Student Safety Net Campaign
Additionally, the National Union of Students, who represent around 600 student unions, have launched their Student Safety Net Campaign which aims to:
- Create a £60 million governmental national student hardship fund
- Allow students to be able to re-do their year of study
- Students to have access to maintenance support with no extra cost
- To lobby the government to write off tuition fees for this year
What can you do to support this campaign? Your Full Time Officers will be sending a letter to local MPs about this specific campaign by the end of the week. It will be updated here when it has been sent. If you would like support to write a version of the letter, please get in touch at email@example.com and I will be able to help you with this.
Do you live in Pablo Fanque House?
Finally, many of you who live in Pablo Fanque House in the city have been in touch with me regarding rents being waived for the final semester. UEA and your Students’ Union have been working hard to seek a resolution for you. If you live in Pablo Fanque House, you should have received the following communications on Friday:
The University has been in regular contact with the Pablo Fanque House owner Mapletree and the landlord,?Homes?for Students, requesting clarification from them about how?and when?UEA students?may?be released from the third semester accommodation?agreement.
The landlords have confirmed to UEA today that they will be emailing you directly this week and in their email?we understand?you will have the option to be released?from?your tenancy agreement at Pablo Fanque House from 1st?May 2020 – provided you are currently up to date on your tenancy payments to 30 April 2020.
Please?ensure that you?read the email from Homes for Students carefully as there are a number of options for you to consider. Both Student Services and the Students’ Union advice teams stand ready to provide advice if required.? However, please do remember that your contract is a legal agreement between you and the landlord and you will therefore need to ensure that you comply with the landlord’s requirements.??
You have the following options, so please ensure that you make your decision via the link in that email.
- Please allow me to defer my rent payments for 3 months
- Please allow me to transfer rent I have already paid from May onwards to my next academic year as I have rebooked with you or plan to rebook
- Please allow me to stay on for up to a further month free of charge after my tenancy ends and I understand I need to request this by 30th April 2020
- Please allow me to be released from my tenancy from May 1st 2020 on compassionate grounds* (This will be a rent waiver for instalment payers, or a refund for advance payers).
* Please note, this is only available on the basis that your rent account payments are up to date as required as at April 30th 2020. Due to the quick turnaround, if you need any advice, please do get in touch as soon as possible, at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that we can support you.
I’m very aware this was a blog update completely full to the brim with information, but if you have any questions about anything that I have mentioned, please get in touch and drop me an email at email@example.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible!