We recently held an open consultation in response to the Vice Chancellor, David Richardson, announcing that the ring-fenced wages of striking staff would be spent for the ‘benefit of students.’ After gaining nearly 600 responses, our survey closed last week, to ensure that decisions are made with enough time to benefit students graduating this summer.
On Wednesday 25th April we met with the Vice Chancellor to discuss the results and where the majority of students felt the funds should be spent.
The University has released the following statement regarding direct refunds for missed teaching:
We have received a number of enquiries from students about the potential for tuition fee refunds or compensation as a result of the industrial action. At present, we’re not considering any form of reduction in fees or compensation because we’ve put mitigation plans in place to ensure that students suffer no detriment as a result of any impact. We will keep full records of any and all impacts of the industrial action to ensure this is the case.
If, at the end of the academic year, you believe that your results have been adversely affected by the industrial action, you can submit a formal complaint via our Academic Complaints Procedure. If students are unhappy with the outcome of their complaint, they can appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), an independent body that reviews students’ complaints.
The results of the survey were presented to the Vice Chancellor, and the most popular requests were explored in terms of their practicality and impact on all students.
Here is what was agreed at the meeting:
- £200,000 to support mental health services, which will be immediately allocated to source additional counselling services over the exam period. This is in recognition that students may need additional support. The remaining funding should be used to hire additional full-time counselling staff in SSS for the next two years. The specific staff positions within SSS that will be funded will be mutually agreed with the SU and announced as soon as possible.
- Funding for additional Library resources for the benefit of all students. An EBSCO subscription e-book package should be purchased for £16,000 a year for two-plus years up to end of August 2020 which would provide access to 160,000 additional books for that period.
- If there is funding left, UEA will investigate portable power stations for the Library down the line.
For those in financial hardship due to losing work because of shifting deadlines, SSS has a discretionary fund that you can apply to. This fund is also available for those who have had to pay for childcare.
SSS will also be holding additional learning enhancement sessions for students who need additional support, including specific sessions for those with Specific Learning Difficulties. You can find out more about these sessions here.
We look forward to seeing the ringfenced fund being used in a way that sincerely benefits students and if you have any questions feel free to get in contact with me at firstname.lastname@example.org