Well gidday Craccum Readers
I hope you’ve been keeping safe and well and that the first week back to Uni online has been a good one. I’m sorry that I haven’t written to you for a while… I’ll admit a combination of busyness and the general dreariness of all our days combining into one meant that I lost track of my duties towards this essential work. I humbly apologise. I’m sure you’ve been in Cam and Dan’s safe keeping with their wise words.
This week’s column is about Student Voice and in particular, the power that we have if we’re able to come together to advocate for our interests. Just three weeks ago, students were on their own with no direct support from the Government. Now, things have changed – the Government has extended the amount that we can borrow on the Course-Related Costs Loan and, just this last weekend, the Government has announced a hardship fund for those needing devices to study online. What changed?
What changed was students spoke up. Students asked why they weren’t getting a fair share and this mandate allowed our National Students’ Association, NZUSA, to push the Government to do better.
Learning in the age of Covid-19 is difficult. We’ve had so many students write to express just how hard studying at this time is for a whole range of reasons – from caring for dependents to simply finding it tough to learn while alone. It’s clear to us that all of our students have been deeply impacted by this pandemic.
That’s why AUSA is pushing for the University to adopt an interim policy allowing all students who achieve any passing grade for any course that is less than the GPA they began this Semester with to have that course noted as a “PASS” and their result exempted from GPA calculation. To us it’s a fairer way of accounting for the disruption caused by Covid-19 and to mitigate against the negative impacts that Covid-19 is having on our studies, and by extension, on the choices we have for after-study: whether entering the workforce or pursuing Post-Grad. From the student response we’ve received to it so far, the vast majority of students agree.
To get this over the line though, we need to show the University just how much students want this proposal to go through. Just like the national movement to get more support for students at this time, we need to show the University just how diverse, how widespread and how unequivocal the support for this is. If you’re able to, please signal your thoughts on the policy (whether you agree or not) here: http://www.ausa.org.nz/change-to-gpa-due-to-covid-19-campaign/
You can read the Letter that we sent the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) making the full case for this policy there as well.
Until next week, stay safe, look after yourselves, wash your hands and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think AUSA can help.