10 Things We've Done This Year on Student Policy

A photograph from Student Members Meeting 2019

Policy! You passed it, we chased it. 

Every year, at Student Council and Student Members’ Meeting, City students pass exciting policies, shaping the work of the Union for the next three years. Some policy seeks to improve the academic experience, where as some look to start or support campaigns, others may be about the social experience. As your elected Sabbatical Officers we have been working hard to implement your policies, turning dreams into a reality. So, here is are a few updates on some of the things you have told us to work on…

1.    Extensions and Late Submission Policy – Progress: 50%

We've been working with the University ease the harsh regulations over extensions for coursework and penalties for submitting late. The Union prepared two separate responses and pushed for improvement! It was discussed with all five City schools, in (many) senior level meetings and the Schools and the University are happy to support a much nicer and lenient system, SO happy days and improvements coming your way soon!

2. Lecture Capture for All Courses – Progress: 25%

You love it, we love it, some academics don’t love it - but we’re working on it!

We conducted and analysed a survey to show why students use (or would use) and demand lecture capture to the University. The survey provided evidence that there are a number of competing and conflicting issues which contribute to the demand for capture, including: commuting time, sickness, disability, language barriers, work commitments and, the fact that it is God’s gift to use for revision!

After a number of meetings the University has made a commitment to improving lecture capture and making it more user friendly. This includes expanding the number of rooms it is available in and revisiting their policy. Just this year there has been a 9% increase in the use of it as a tool for students.

3.    Tackling Sexual Harassment on Campus – Progress: 25%

Like many other Student Officer teams in the U.K. we have been working hard with the University to gain traction on this issue. We have played an active role in lobbying for better support for survivors of sexual violence on both the University project Working Group and Implementation Group. Over the next year you can expect to see a Union campaign addressing Sexual Violence, Consent & Bystander intervention training a clearer reporting system with the option to anonymise your report and more.

If you are interested in getting more involved with this work please email Tuna Kunt.

4.    Making your Union Relevant: Introducing your Vice-President Community & Wellbeing, Student Media Officer and Societies Officer! – Progress: 100%

From 1 July this year the Union will no longer have a Vice-President Activities & Development, instead the role will change to Vice-President Community & Wellbeing. This change is really exciting for us and reflects not only where we believe the Union should be focusing its work, but also how it enables us to focus more on your experience at City with a focus on the community.

Further we’ve introduced two new voluntary roles to lead our work on extra-curricular activity. It will be their job to champion our student media and societies and ensure that student feedback from those groups is acted on.

5.    Halal Food on Campus – Progress: 100%

Who doesn’t love food? We have worked with Sodexo to ensure that there will always be a halal option on campus for students and staff, more so as your Union we are also dedicated to ensuring that there are always good options at the events we run.

6.    Going Green – Progress: 50%

No, not like the Hulk – unless you use too much energy. This year the Union was mandated to look at Sustainability in a big way. There were three huge pieces of policy passed giving us a kick in the right direction to get moving on saving our planet. Firstly we will shortly be signing up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and help ensure peace and prosperity. Secondly, we recruited a Sustainability Assistant to audit how sustainable we are as an organisation which has enabled us to create an action plan for changes to make over the next few years. For any Society Leaders or Programme Reps – expect to be a fountain of green knowledge from next academic year!

7. BAME Attainment Gap – Progress: 25%

Why is my curriculum white? Great question.

We have been working alongside the University to tackle the BAME attainment at City; sitting on multiple working groups, committees and meetings to ensure that the student voice is fully represented, and that the university is held accountable for the lack of support and progression for students from a BAME background.

8.    Free Events on Campus – Progress: 100%

Who doesn’t like free stuff eh? Last year at the Student Members' Meeting you decided that all activity run on campus should be free and since then we've made sure that they don't cost you a penny!

9.    Reduce External Speaker Wait Time – Progress: 25%

The policy that is like a broken record… every year students leading our Societies tell us about their frustration with the amount of time it takes to get speakers approved. Well, we promise we are listening and making progress to implement changes which will hopefully in the long run make progress towards this.

Your VP Activities & Development is currently reviewing our Union External Speaker Policy to make it more student friendly, as well as lobbying to change the University’s Freedom of Speech Policy to reduce wait time. The short term aim? To implement some that will help you understand the process a little better. The long term aim? To shorten the wait time.

In the meanwhile we are going to take steps to update society leaders each month on the average wait time for Speaker Requests, this includes looking at easy ways to update you on the progress of your request and digitising the process.

10. Transgender, Intersex and Gender Non-Confirming Facilities – Progress: 75%

TIGNC stands for Transgender, Intersex and Gender Non-Conforming and is an umbrella term used to represent people whose gender does not conform to binary understandings of gender and biological sex. City use this term in relation to the Working Group which we sit on which aims to enhance the experience of TIGNC students and staff.

The group has achieved a number of things over the past year, including: the launch of new staff training, clearer processes with regards to student records, new gender-neutral toilet and changing facilities and a non-gendered uniform option for students in School of Health Sciences (SHS) courses.

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We are now adopting a percentage red, amber, green system to mark how far along a policy is in its development. If you want to see more of the currently live student policy and its progress you can find it here: https://www.citystudents.co.uk/student-voice/studentpolicy/

if you have any questions about this article, or the work we have been doing you can email us on studentrep@city.ac.uk