Opinion

University updates for students aren’t good enough

Written by Georgia Hilton-Buckley

It may be uncertain and difficult times, but the latest email from the University of Leicester to students simply wasn’t enough, and I for one am tired of emails promising more and not delivering.

Accommodation Rebate

Rebates have been promised to students living in first-year accommodation, however, these will not be awarded until April (one of the only clear policies in this email) and will only include accommodation from the January lockdown.

Although this sounds promising, it merely places a plaster over the real problem: the false promises first years were sold over the summer. Students were promised the authentic University experience despite the pandemic, and implored not to defer a year.

On arrival, there were no freshers’ events, no flat mixing, and a national lockdown in November – let’s not even mention the tier system. Quite frankly, it’s completely unfair to simply compensate them for rent from January when they’ve not had the experience they expected.

The university claims it will lobby with the Students’ Union to aid those who privately rent, especially considering their failure to enact this in the previous year. Instead, we are guided to the Hardship Fund: a long and arduous process with no guarantee of any compensation.

Tuition Fee Refunds

Ignite is not good enough. Online teaching is not the same as in person. In my very first lecture as a first-year, we were advised to attend our lectures, as the professors insisted that re-watching them would hinder your learning (a rhetoric the university appears to have completely abandoned). My third-year teaching in my first semester consisted of nine face to face hours, which was reduced to two hours over teams – half of this time was spent watching grown adults fail to understand technology.

“The University has undertaken extensive work to develop new teaching materials and approaches, enhance specific support services and adapt the delivery of all of our services to meet the many difficulties and challenges the pandemic has caused.

“We have also put in place measures to try to maintain as much of the wider student experience as possible, while maintaining our focus on keeping you all safe.”

This part of the email feels like a token gesture to acknowledge the outrage of normal tuition fees during a pandemic. Do not forget that Universities can set their own tuition fees and they are merely capped at £9,250.

As a student I am tired of emails that tell me nothing and promise everything. It seems every time we receive one, they tell us more information is to come, but it never arrives. Frankly at this point, I just want it acknowledged that the online teaching isn’t an adequate substitute, and that we are not getting the service worth the cost we pay.

Georgia Hilton-Buckley is a third-year Politics student at the University of Leicester with an infatuation for books, particularly the classics. She is interested in feminism, philosophy, and music.