By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor
Calls to reinstate safety net provisions follow students’ concerns about how their academic performance may suffer during the third national lockdown.
A petition started by Bristol student Betsy Bowman-Hood has already garnered over 1500 signatures.
The petition calls on the University of Bristol to introduce a safety net policy to ‘alleviate much pressure and allow a proper, unhindered assessment of [students’] achievements by allowing [them] to maintain the grades [they] obtained in a covid-free world.’
The petition is one of several circulating online amongst university students asking universities to review their safety net provisions to take account of the pressures on university students in the current circumstances.
Speaking to Epigram on why she felt it necessary to start the petition, third-year Bristol student Betsy said: ‘It is appalling how university students are being treated. From being blanked by the Government on multiple occasions, to the University being ignorant of our distress for months.
‘How can the University justify only setting a safety net and provisions for last year’s students who had a semester of disruption, but not for students who were sold the false pretence of ‘blended learning’, who were enticed back to Bristol with now limited resources and teaching, and have deteriorating mental states.
‘We should not be expected to produce the same level of work without provisions in place to mitigate the disruption and lack of service we have been provided from the extortionate tuition fees we pay.’
The petition had received the signatures of 900 supporters in less than 24 hours.
Students have also been emailing their faculties directly asking for the reintroduction of the safety net measures.
One such student is Caitlin O’Donoghue, a second-year student of Politics and Sociology at UoB, who spoke to Epigram and said: ‘We are going into our third lockdown. Students’ mental health is suffering. As a young carer, I understand how difficult it can be to be productive during this period at home. To not introduce the safety net, and to expect students to work at the same level, is unacceptable at this point.’
Whilst the University of Bristol earlier emailed students asking them to stay where they are, they have not yet communicated information regarding any potential reintroduction of safety net measures.
A University of Bristol spokesperson earlier said: ‘The safety of everyone in our community remains the primary concern at this time. Following the Government’s announcement, we are awaiting further information from the Department for Education and will be assessing the situation before providing detailed advice to students and staff as soon as we are able to do so.
‘We know how important in-person teaching is for our students and we are committed to ensuring we continue to offer the best possible education.’
Featured Image: Lucy O’Neill
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