Read about what we've been working on...
East-Asian Hate Crime
One of our main priorities this term is supporting students who have been affected by the rise in East-Asian racism and hate crime. With our EDI Officer Halimo, we have set up Solidarity Space events, published this article with resources, and have pushed RCA to fund a series of workshops for our students focusing on East-Asian hate crime in the UK. Chenyu sent RCA a timeline of actions for RCA to follow in conjunction with us that you can see here. The workshops will be with Daikon zine, who focus on training around East-Asain Hate Crime in the UK. We hope to work with Daikon to create reports from these workshops to inform new Bystander / Anti-Racist training for staff members. We will also be launching a visual campaign to raise awareness and show support.
Students turned away from campus
We recently met with RCA's Head of Estates to discuss the treatment of students by reception staff and being turned away from Campus, and in some instances being discriminated against. We have a zero-tolerance for this and we're sure to, whilst protecting the anonymity of those who have come forward, push for change. The Head of Estates will now be giving additional training to their staff members, speaking to them all collectively and fully investigating the instances that we brought forward. We will continue to update.
We have recently joined the Convocation steering group, which will enable the SU to have input into the graduation ceremony this June. We are working with them to explore the possibilities of after-convocation events and celebrations run by RCASU. We hope to make this Convocation the best one yet - you deserve it!
Campus-Access / Burst Week
We are glad that RCA has confirmed an additional 2 weeks for 2nd Year students to complete any outstanding projects. We are still waiting for information about any other extended campus access for students. We are also seeking clarification on students being refused campus access because of confusion of having to book a “desk space” as well as a workshop space.
Career Support Service
A clear request was made for a Career Service provided by RCA from the beginning of Term 2, especially as current students will be entering an unstable job market due to Covid-19. We have been discussing a suitable plan with the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Registry and Student Support to work out a better plan and we have successfully pushed this forward. As per the VCO's request, RCASU got back to the VCO with a Summary of the SU’s choice on 29 March and RCA started the recruitment process of the temporary Career Advisors on 31 March and closed on 18 April. We expect these temporary Career Advisors will be in a position to support the students in Term 3.
We have confirmed with RCA that another allocation of “Opportunity Fund” will go out to students, to fund their projects. A reminder that Back on Track funding is still available.
With staff unions, our EDI Officer Halimo has been able to shape the RCA’s anti-racism project, e.g. we managed to get the school to incorporate expert counselling and compensation for students who were taking part. We recently received the full report from the external consultancy and action planning will shortly begin, pushing for this work to have clear terms of reference and to fall under the work of a newly constituted EDI committee. Much of the focus has revolved around the hiring of a new Head of Equity and Inclusion. Halimo has pushed to be part of the hiring process and will be joining other staff unions and an EDI rep to interview the two candidates very soon. Thank you Halimo!
Leave of Absence Students
We were recently informed by RCA that the current 350 (approx) students who are on Leave of Absence will not be allowed to return in September 2021 as expected, but instead in January. This means that their final term will run through summer. This is of concern to us, we worry significantly about the quality of their education and its impact on staff and also the final show. We have strongly opposed this decision by the College. If you are one of these students affected, please get in touch with us.
Student Union Review and Reform
Over the last year, we have been going through an overhaul of our governance, procedures, policies and many other things. The first step has been a review by an external consultant, who has made a series of recommendations. One recommendation is a refinement of our Rep system, to allow School Reps more responsibility in the operation of the SU and giving them paid roles (something we were keen to do before). Another recommendation was to have 1 President and 1 Co-President, something we hope to adopt in the academic year after next. We also have recently rewritten our HR and governing documents. We are beginning to rewrite our Strategic Plan with a facilitator, which we hope to consult students on, this will help inform our future work and allow us to create goals and aspirations as an SU. We will also be employing an Admin assistant to off-load some of the admin work from the Presidents, allowing them to focus on campaigning and advocating for students more. We will be looking at refurbishing our space in Kensington in time for Sep 2021, and are looking forward to having a new additional home in Battersea South in 2022, as well as a space to use in White City in Sep 21.
This year we have continually raised the faults in the RCA’s complaint process. We made an informal complaint to OIA about the significant delays in timelines at the RCA, and conflicts of interest that have appeared. Now, due to the Anti-Racism project, the RCA has been recommended to have a complete overhaul of its complaint process and procedures, as well as adopting an anonymous reporting tool. We are glad to see this finally happening. We will be working with the College to ensure that these policies are fairer for students.
If you have any questions or feedback please email us.