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Students’ Union Response to College Actions during Covid-19 Pandemic

We reached out to the VCO with a letter, clearly outlining the SU's position and we are sharing it with you for transparency... We hope to ensure no student gets left behind in this challenging time of difficult decisions. If you have any questions please contact us via email.

 

Dear Vice Chancellor Paul Thompson, Deputy Vice Chancellor Naren Barfield and Senior Management Team,

 

These past weeks have proven increasingly difficult to the broader RCA community as public health concern intensifies in the UK. With campus closures prompting a sudden move to online learning, we recognise the variety of needs amongst the student body, as well as our responsibility to support and facilitate equally varied options towards best outcomes, where students do not become collateral damage to unforeseen global events. Solidarity is our strength. Centering compassion, creativity and student experience should form College leadership at this time. 

As the SU considers the College’s contingency plans in light of Covid-19, we look to our duty of care to all students to guide us in our negotiations with the Vice Chancellor’s Office. We have written this proposal of steps for the consideration of the VCO to work towards student-centered solutions together. 

 

Over the coming weeks, the College needs to:

1. facilitate the best possible experience of the Virtual Show, giving all 2nd year students who wish to continue with their studies the possibility to graduate in June;

2. commit to supporting Schools in the organisation of physical shows by School cohorts, open to graduates who wish to take part once it is safe to do so;

3. significantly extend dissertation deadlines for 1st year students proportionally to the experienced difficulties, and work towards the most seamless transition to 2nd year possible;

4. join UCU in their call for the UK government to secure funding, protect jobs, and guarantee that no institution will go to the wall;

5. urgently increase pastoral guidance and support available to students;

6. communicate with its students effectively and empathically 

 

Whilst we appreciate the scale of challenges ahead, and the volume of work completed by the Senior Management Team, we bring attention to the unique opportunity for the RCA to position itself as an institution which prioritised students and staff in a time of crisis. We believe the above measures are flexible, capture the community values of the student body at our university and make sure no one is left behind. We are ready and look forward to working with College Management to implement them.

 

Kind regards,
RCASU Co-Presidents
Aleks Stanek, Lucy Bird, Gabi Davies.