To win, we all need to take action under the #StudentsDeserveBetter banner. Here is a short summary of who to target to win if you want to work on a specific set of demands:
Uphold students' basic legal rights
Fair treatment during accommodation lockdowns, including rent reimbursement and supplying free food to students
Who can fix this? University leaders.
What can they do? Commit publicly and proactively to NUS’ national demands on upholding students’ basic legal rights and fair treatment during accommodation lockdowns
What can you do? You could organise an open letter from your students to show support for this, organise a meeting with university leaders and students for them to lobby, organise a petition or a stunt, share student stories, or hold a meeting with your VC. Make sure that they commit publicly, so that they can be held accountable!
The right to leave without financial detriment
Who can fix this? University leaders OR the government.
What can they do? Commit to letting students leave their accommodation contracts in uni-owned halls, commit to letting students defer their year or leave their course with no financial detriment.
What can you do? You could lobby your university leaders for local solutions using a lot of the tactics we mentioned above! Or, you could take part in national government lobbying to the Treasury to make sure that they release money for universities to be able to do these things – why not work together with students’ unions in your area to ask your MP to lobby the Chancellor, and share stories of your students’ experiences with them?
An effective strategy for education now and for post-covid recovery - winning a student support package
Who can fix this? The government – Department for Education, devolved education Ministers and the Treasury
What can they do? As a priority, we want the Treasury to make money available for student support in the Budget at the end of November, and that is best done by local MPs lobbying Rishi Sunak on behalf of their constituents to address hardship.
Take action: Long term, we want a new strategy for funded, accessible and lifelong education. We will only do this by changing the public narrative on education, so that more people agree with our principles – and all of the work we do as a movement to respond to Covid shows the need for this.
You can work on this by ensuring that when you are talking to students about this, you link the problems we are all now seeing to marketisation and the way education is run. We will shortly be running some webinars on this!