We welcome the University communication to you today and we encourage you to read it carefully. We are pleased to see the University have outlined the expected timeline for return to Oxford for postgraduate taught and undergraduate finalists, remember to confirm you plans with your college before planning your travel. We continue to work with the collegiate university to develop plans for the return of students in line with government guidance. On your return to Oxford, we strongly encourage you to utilise the Lateral Flow Device testing.
The University’s website has also been updated with new information including around returning to Oxford and support provided. We would like to highlight that whilst the university and colleges will not routinely cover travel costs, ‘in some instances where the costs of testing or quarantine are a contributory factor in student hardship, it may be possible for some support to be provided from the University’s COVID- 19 Hardship Fund.’
Over the past few days and weeks, we have spent hundreds of hours and 50+ meetings lobbying the University and colleges on key issues affecting students. We would like to thank staff across the collegiate University for working with Oxford SU to ensure student views and voices are at the heart of decision-making.
What have Oxford SU’s Sabbatical officers, in partnership with student leaders and staff across the collegiate University, done for members?
We secured an expansion to the Coronavirus hardship fund.
We highlighted that students should not have to pay for accommodation they are unable to use, and we are pleased to see the colleges and university continue to be supportive of this view.
We ensured that exemptions policies on returning to Oxford for mental health and wellbeing reasons remain in place.
We successfully campaigned for the continued reopening of the Bodleian hub libraries and expansion on online resources.
We continue to call for the best deal for students on exams and assessment:
We have delivered several wins for students on exams and assessment in 2021 through our fair outcomes for students campaign.
Win: The University will rescale exam marks for all cohorts to pre-pandemic years ‘by comparing the overall class distribution as well as the mean and spread of marks and adjusting by scaling where necessary.’ The university has committed to this policy to prevent cohorts from being disadvantaged by the pandemic.
Win: The University will make the mitigating circumstances process easier and remove the need to provide independent medical evidence.
Win: The University will allow “explanatory statements” to be used in the marking phase of certain coursework submissions affected by access to resources. This allows students to highlight any barrier or disruptions they have faced during their course.
We are working with the University to finalise other aspects of the support package and more information about how you can get involved is on our website. This will be communicated to you shortly; we encourage you to read those emails carefully. Furthermore, we welcome the University's commitment to providing a single webpage where students can find clarity on their exam arrangements for Trinity Term 2021.
We know this remains an incredibly tough time for students and we stand in solidarity with you. We understand your frustrations following the recent government announcement. We remain committed to working with the collegiate University to secure the best university experience for you. We are working with the University's student experience group and partners across the colleges to put in place plans for Trinity Term including sport, drama and social opportunities.
None of these changes, comments and collaborations could've been made without the collective voice of student leaders across the university and colleges. We receive countless emails from our members who have helped us shape our approach in university meetings.
We encourage you to continue reaching out to us, to help us represent you and to enable us to work in partnership across Oxford to improve your experience. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss any concerns you may have, on any aspect of your experience at Oxford. We are here to support and represent you.
Nikita Ma – President
Tucker Drew – VP Access and Academic Affairs
Ben Farmer – VP Charities and Community
Lauren Bolz – VP Graduates
Amelia Holt – VP Welfare and Equal Opportunities
Alex Foley – VP Women
If you have issues or concerns about your current circumstances or plans, Oxford SU’s free, independent and impartial advice service are available to help and can be contacted here.
The latest University and Wellbeing information is here.
Information about the University’s covid hardship fund, which you can apply for if your finances have been affected due to the ongoing pandemic, is available here.
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 our leadership elections in February 2022.