The University of York have a new safety net for students, the Vice Chancellor has announced in an email to students today.
This will include the reweighting of marks for students in second year and above, removing the need for evidence in Extenuating Circumstances (ECA) claims, “significantly more generous” resit possibilities for first years, making awards rules for postgraduate students more flexible, and reviewing the performance of students this year in comparison to previous groups.
This comes two days after York Vision broke the story that all teaching for the University would be moved online for the spring term, with some exceptions, such as Medicine, Nursing, Social Work, and Education.
In the email, Charlie Jeffery acknowledges that the University could not “replicate the same style of safety net” as the last academic year, but he hopes “this package of measures lessens your anxiety over the coming months and reassures you that we can, and will, take into account the ongoing impact the pandemic may be having on your studies”.
The Academic Officer of the University of York’s Student Union (YUSU), Matt Johnstone, has commented to Vision that:
“It’s been a long battle for these measures and your support has been vital. These measures make York one of the first Russell Group institutions to bring in safety net measures this academic year. While that’s something we’re happy about, it doesn’t mean these measures are perfect and we want to work with other SUs to ensure lasting support for students.”
However, not all students see the announcement in this positive light.
Ellie Galeozzie, a third year English and Politics student, commented that the policy is “not a safety net, it’s ‘let’s shuffle existing policies until we get a slightly less disastrous outcome than the one we were on track for'”.
YUSU President, Patrick O’Donnell, has told Vision that while he is “disappointed by the continued absence of government support for students in this pandemic and in this period of lockdown”, he is “proud that students and Union officers are leading the way for change at York together through petitions and lobbying University leaders.
“We will continue this fight nationally to see meaningful action on students’ incomes, rents, and tuition fees, through engaging local members of Parliament and government ministers at every opportunity.”