Jamie’s January Update
Jamie’s January Update
January was an incredibly intense month for us all. The Government’s announcement of a third national lockdown at the start of the month was not the way we all wanted to begin 2021 and it created a lot of questions and confusion for university students. I’ve spent the month working to support our students through these troubling times by ensuring that measures are taken to protect them through the pandemic.
The Safety Net:
The big one throughout the month was the implantation of a new safety net policy that would protect our students’ success despite the pandemic’s best effort to intervene. After several meetings over the first couple of weeks of January, we were delighted when the University announced it would be implementing the 2021 Safety Net. The full list of measures is on the website and I hosted a Q&A with PVC Learning and Teaching Susan Orr and Academic Registrar Jim Irving to try to explain some of the finer details and have the University answer any questions students may have.
Another hot topic throughout the month of January, with the Government advising the majority of students to not return to university many of our students were left paying for paying for accommodation they couldn’t access. With this is mind, I wrote a letter to both of our local MPs, Julian Sturdy and Rachael Maskell, calling on them to lobby the Government to introduce financial support for institutions and landlords to allow for rent rebates for all students. This letter was then signed by the VC and also by the President of York University Students’ Union and their VC as well. Furthermore, after discussions with the Vice Chancellor, the University agreed to provide rent rebates for all students in University managed accommodation which was a great win. We’re still working to support our students in privately rented accommodation so keep an eye out.
Throughout January, I’ve been constantly working with SU Presidents around the country to understand how we can collectively work to enhance the student experience. These sessions are extremely valuable as it allows us all to swap ideas and ensure we’re empowering students as best as we can. I’ve also continued working closely with Patrick O’Donnell the President of York University Students’ Union to make sure we’re doing our best for the students of York.
One of my manifesto points was to create a buddy system to allow for easier transition into University life. I’ve been working over the last few months with members of SU staff to get this up and running. We had meetings in January to continue working on the structure and the operations in the hope it will be ready for a pilot scheme launch in time for September.
And of course, no update would be complete without a nod to all the meetings that I’ve been in. I won’t go into the riveting details too much but as one of my roles is to attend various meetings across the University and provide a student voice, I’ve found myself in quite a few this month. From discussing graduation, the new creative centre, University finance or my 121 with the VC, it’s safe to say I’ve had my fair share of meetings.