As your 6 elected sabbatical officers we’re dedicated to improving the overall experience for students at Oxford. We know the last few months have been incredibly difficult for everyone and that much of the future including next academic year remains uncertain. We don’t have all the answers, but we are committed to transparency and clear communication. We want to update you on what we’ve done and what we’re doing next.
What have we done already?
- Led the Teaching and Assessment Student Consultation which had responses from 5,462 students to inform policy for exams.
- Delivered wins for students such as calling for the University in implement safety net policies for Trinity Term exams.
- Lobbied to secure graduation ceremonies for all by ensuring the ceremonies were postponed not cancelled.
- Worked with our student groups through lockdown: RAG have raised over £3000 for charities affected by the Coronavirus, Oxford SU disabilities campaign have been supporting students self-isolating and shielding, Oxide Radio have kept students entertained with podcasts and charity livestreams.
What are we doing?
As a team we’re sitting on a range of coronavirus related university committees including Michaelmas Coordination Group and the Student Experience Co-ordination Group and its subgroups. These committees include staff from across the collegiate university and provide a chance for us as sabbatical officers to represent students on key decisions.
In total as a team we are sitting on 12 dedicated Coronavirus committees ranging from re-starting of clubs and societies to admissions and accommodation. This is in addition to the 30 existing committees we represent students on where we continue to ensure student voices are heard and help secure the best deal for current and future students.
We’re meeting with a range of student groups including SU Campaigns, JCR and MCR presidents and Fresher’s Reps to ensure we can represent the on-going concerns of students.
We are working closely with the University to ensure the security and safety of students, staff and wider community are prioritised in all decisions made.
What are our priorities?
As a team we have worked to outline several key principles we will use when lobbying the collegiate university to ensure the best possible outcomes for students in Michaelmas 2020 and beyond.
- We believe that the student experience is holistic. It is a lifestyle, composing of academic study, social activities and a care for your mental and physical wellbeing. These are all equally important to student life and inseparable from one another.
- Equality and parity of choice and outcome must be ensured throughout, especially around college life and student opportunities.
- Despite this the breadth and multiplicities of different student experiences, student may decide or need to do things differently. This should be encouraged and facilitated.
- Opportunities, activities and events must be protected and delivered, in an alternative format to normal if needed, e.g. Virtual Fresher’s Fair.
- Proactive communication that offers empathy and reduces uncertainty should be prioritised, alongside signposting to relevant and detailed information.
- Students as partners in all aspects of the student experience from curriculum design to welfare provision.
- It’s clear that for both new and returning students, this year’s freshers’ week is going to be a bit different.
- There’s lots still to be decided given the frequently changing government guidelines but through our representation on the Student Experience Co-ordination Group we’re lobbying to ensure decisions are made in the best interests of students.
- We’ll be working with the Uni and partners to support Common Room reps and clubs and socs with resources to run activities and safe events
- Our virtual freshers fair will provide a great opportunity for students to see everything Oxford has to offer- more info coming soon!
- We are maintaining our lobbying around a range of issues for graduates.
- These include supporting students in University Graduate accommodation who are facing rent and tax changes.
- For Post graduate researchers we continue to actively call for: extended financial support from the University to those who are not UKRI-funded and whose ability to complete research has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and that the University waive the continuation fees of those who have had to extend their study owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We are working with our partners at Brookes Union to develop a campaign to remind students of their responsibility for their local community and reassure residents
- We are working to re-launch our volunteering platform with loads of opportunities for students to support local charities and community projects.
We’re here to represent students. Please get in contact to tell us what questions you have, what you think about the University’s coronavirus response and what you'd like us to focus on. We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with Oxford SU
University Information on Coronavirus
Who are the Sabbatical Officers?
We’re a team of 6 students elected annually and in post for a year from July-July. We work full-time at Oxford SU (yes, we’re paid too!) to represent students and campaign on a range of issues. You can see what we do on our website and if you think it sounds fun, look out for the annual elections in February when you can run to be a Sabbatical officer for 2021-22.