Written by Toby Cray
A petition started by Leicester Student Magazine calling for the University of Leicester to implement a safety net currently has 1,216 signatures, as of the 11th of January.
Ella Johnson, Secretary and Wellbeing and Inclusions Officer for Leicester Student Magazine, reacted to the success of the petition by stating:
“Hopefully, with our petition reaching well over 1000 signatures now, the university will be encouraged to act quickly and implement a policy to calm the rising anxieties and concerns of the student body.”
Universities all over the country are under pressure to provide a safety net for students given the difficulties faced this year, both academically and with rising concerns surrounding student mental health.
Ella believes that: “The university has a duty to protect the attainment of vulnerable students who have paid an awful lot for their education and are simply not able to work to their full potential in these incredibly difficult circumstances.”
A spokesperson for the university has stated: “we have been working on the development of a new ‘Education Safeguard’ policy intended to mitigate any detriment to students’ academic performance resulting from disruption caused by the pandemic.
“Work is still ongoing on the full detail of this, but the University is exploring every avenue possible including the option to defer assessments, uncapping of re-assessments and increasing the scope of ‘mitigating circumstances’.
“We know that we must be flexible during this time to ensure the best for our students.”
The last academic year has taken its toll on many, with a signature of the petition, Ibrahim Farid stating: “the combined stress of dealing with lockdown, Covid and university on top of that has made this one of the worst years of my life.”
With an email from PVC Education Graham Wynn, on behalf of the university, sent to students on Friday stating: “The wellbeing and attainment of our students is always paramount in our planning and there is nothing we want more than success for you all.”
As the country faces another lockdown Emma Cunningham, another signature of the petition, stated: “With so many government plans in place, to protect businesses, individuals and ‘schools’, the university students MUST NOT be forgotten.”
We will continue to update our News column with further developments as they come.
Toby Cray is a second-year journalism student at the University of Leicester. You can find him on Instagram here: @toby5.c