Oxford SU Sabbatical officers: ‘We continue to call on the University of Oxford to #HonourTheOffer’
We welcome the government u-turn to base A-level results on centre assessed grades. Tireless lobbying from student unions, students, alumni and campaign groups has secured this win, providing students with results not allocated by a flawed algorithm. The injustices of the previous system led to unacceptable levels of stress and anxiety for students. We are keenly aware of the precarity experienced by all students affected by this debacle, and their wellbeing is at the heart of our response as a team as we continue to call on the University of Oxford to #HonourTheOffer.
Last week, we were thrilled with the decision of Worcester College to #HonourTheOffer and admit all of their 2020 offer holders regardless of the grades received by students on results day, and have welcomed the announcements of the other colleges who have followed suit.
We believe that the university is genuine in its concerns that guaranteeing places to all offer holders could impact student experience and safety, however we feel this is a false choice. It is our opinion that by re-examining their priorities with student welfare and equal access in mind, the university could accommodate all of the admitted students without sacrificing safety or academic integrity.
The blame both for the A-level crisis and for the pressures that cause Oxford to consistently over-offer across its courses -- a compounding factor in this crisis -- lies squarely at the feet of the Government. However, the University is responsible for how it responds to the crisis, and the reactive, piece-meal strategy it has employed so far is not adequate to ensure fairness and equity going forward following the U-turn. We demand that any policy should seek to combat classism and racism and must not discriminate against the most disadvantaged students. More broadly, we support calls from NUS for investment in our education system to end educational inequality.
By reimplementing the residency requirement for this Michaelmas Term, the University has already committed itself to a certain level of risk regardless of student numbers, and it must take responsibility for the health and safety of their students in Oxford. Ultimately, if Oxford is seriously concerned about the number of students, they must consider allowing admitted students to defer.
We continue to call for all offer holders to be admitted to a place at Oxford regardless of the grades they were awarded on results day.
We have been humbled by the efforts and solidarity of current and former students who are pushing their colleges in the right direction. The statements of support from alumni and former Oxford SU Presidents has also been particularly valued. The efforts of students and student campaign groups continue to inspire us. Student-led access and outreach remain a crucial part of the picture and we encourage the university to engage productively with students, in order to deliver meaningful change.
We continue to call on the University to:
- Admit all offer holders regardless of their results awarded on results day. Worcester College has taken the lead on this, and we call on all Oxford colleges and halls to follow suit.
- Endorse the joint statement from NUS and UCU, which calls for teacher-assessed grades to be reinstated with no moderation, a fair and free appeals process to combat individual cases of discrimination, and a longer-term commitment to tackling educational inequality.
- Reverse their decision to make students admitted after August 13th defer to 2021 entry. The University has stated that this decision was made over a concern over “the health and safety of our students, staff and community” yet we believe that the University has the resources and the duty to accommodate all offer holders wishing to attend Oxford in 2020.
- Reverse their decision to prohibit admitted students from deferring to 2021 entry. This decision, made in order to prevent students unable to physically study in Oxford in 2021 due to health issues or travel restrictions from deferring, must be reversed if the university is truly concerned about “the health and safety of our students, staff and community”.
This autumn, we look forward to welcoming all incoming students, the most state-school educated cohort in Oxford’s history.
Now, more than ever, there is a place for you here.
Nikita Ma – President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tucker Drew – VP Access and Academic Affairs (email@example.com)
Ben Farmer – VP Charities and Community (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lauren Bolz– VP Graduates (email@example.com)
Amelia Holt – VP Welfare and Equal Opportunities (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alex Foley – VP Women (email@example.com)
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Sign the NUS A-Level Results Petition: https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/nus-uk/a-level-results-sign-the-petition