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Our students are kids, not convicts. We must let them live.

@UsForThemUni

Starting university should be a brilliant time for young people. Instead, young people across the UK are being locked down, isolated, and betrayed. Promised and paying for a normal university education and experience, many are receiving something that looks very different: limited or no face-to-face teaching, limited extra-curricular and social experiences, solitary isolation in sterile accommodation.

We call upon the Higher Education sector to to immediately institute a Minimum University Provision. This should at a minimum include:

Restoration of in-person learning for tutorials and seminars.
Restoration of extra-curricular activities and societies.
Restoration of opportunities for social interaction in line with government advice.
Targeted and specific quarantines only.
Pastoral care for young people who are isolating.
Sign the petition to protect our students from disproportionate Covid measures:

Young people across the UK are being locked down, isolated, and betrayed.

Promised and paying for a normal university education and experience, many are receiving something that looks very different: limited or no face-to-face teaching, limited extra-curricular and social experiences, solitary isolation in sterile accommodation.

Many are living away from parents for the first time and are either entirely alone, or holed up with people they’ve only just met. Patrolled by security guards and police dogs many are suffering from limited access to food, washing facilities, and most of all, human contact.

This is an inhumane and disproportionate infringement of their human rights. Many are already struggling with their mental health.

For this privilege, they are paying around £15,000 for tuition and accommodation.

students university

Some in the media have blamed students for spreading Covid-19, but students are in fact being subjected to harsher restrictions than almost everybody else. We appreciate that universities are operating under severe constraints, and that many are doing their very best to give students the highest quality teaching and a university experience that is as ‘normal’ as possible. However, the unfortunate reality is severe issues remain for large numbers of students.

Many campuses have become ghost towns, with food and drink outlets shut down. Some university dining halls do not allow even six people to sit together, providing instead single tables in exam-hall format, or pushing sandwiches through bedroom doors. Food deliveries are restricted. Sport and exercise is often non-existent. Meanwhile the population at large continues to eat in restaurants, frequent bars and pubs and work-out in the gym.

These are our children. We are betraying them when they need us most. And we betray ourselves too, since this generation are the best hope we have of clawing ourselves back up from the depths of the economic abyss we’re about to find ourselves in.

Extensive empirical evidence makes it clear that young people are not at serious risk from Covid 19. Nor are they to blame for it. They have lost the most and gained the least from the measures enforced to tackle it and if we do not act soon their life chances may be damaged beyond repair.  They deserve a proper university education and quality of life.

We call upon the Higher Education sector to to immediately institute a Minimum University Provision. This should at a minimum include:
  1. Restoration of in-person learning for tutorials and seminars. Whilst we understand that – for now – large gatherings cannot take place, the same concern should not apply to tutorials and seminars which could be arranged in small groups or in bubbles.

  2. Restoration of extra-curricular activities and societies. These are crucial to social interaction and to mental and physical health and are the bedrock of the university experience. Online substitutes do not meet these needs.

  3. Restoration of opportunities for social interaction in line with government advice. Every dining hall to at a minimum allow tables of up to six; food outlets and bars to be open in accordance with the law.

  4. Targeted and specific quarantines only. The sweeping lockdown of entire halls of residence is neither logical nor sustainable. Instead, isolate only where kitchen or washing facilities are shared. This may be per room, per flat, or per floor. Whole buildings must not be quarantined.

  5. Pastoral care for young people who are isolating. These students are barely out of childhood and many are struggling with very little support. When isolating, they need help with food, washing, and other practical arrangements. They also need welfare provision including contact with mental health practitioners where needed.

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If this minimum provision cannot be met, then students must be allowed to leave and universities must provide full online learning for no more than two thirds of the tuition fee (as per correspondence learning at The Open University). All accommodation costs should be refunded to those who wish to return home.

Making Their Voices Heard

Student voices are to be heard, not ignored!

Do you have a story to tell? Contact us here. We’d love to hear from you.
"My first few weeks at university have been overwhelming and confusing. I had no idea what to expect..."
"I think a lot of students had high expectations. We were all told things wouldn’t be too different, and we’d be fine...”
"With no face-to-face teaching whatsoever, with no opportunities to socialise, and with the threat of being locked..."
"Help the elderly and vulnerable stay at home, but let the young and invulnerable go out and achieve immunity for us all, while earning a living."