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03/06/2020: A statement from Sheffield Hallam Students' Union Elected Officers and Representatives

This morning, the Students' Union Elected Officers and Representatives met with members of the University Leadership Team, namely the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students to discuss the Safety Net Campaign.

The campaign, which has received the endorsement of more than 4,000 students, recognises the progressive and helpful measures the University has put in place to support students through Covid-19, but is advocating for a safety net, through which students grades cannot fall below their average mark prior to the pandemic.

The meeting was productive, with the University keen to listen to and understand the views of the campaign, as well as seeking to explain the merits of the approach the University have taken and provide assurances as to how students will not suffer any academic detriment as a result of Covid-19. Prior to the meeting, the University responded to 11 key questions that the campaign has posed, you can read their response here. 

A number of issues were discussed, including the way in which Assessment Boards can ensure that students grades are not impacted and the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on student groups, including those with learning contracts.

At the meeting, the University expressed a desire to work productively with the campaign to provide assurances to students that the measures taken will work to protect students, as well as to providing ongoing assurances that the measures are working as assessments are completed. The campaign remain committed to advocating for the addition of a safety net to the comprehensive package of measures provided by the University. 

Moving forward, it is clear that, whilst the specific approaches are still different, it is clear that the overwhelming priority of both the Safety Net campaign and the University is to support students in achieving the grades they deserve. Both the University and the Campaign have committed to reflecting on the meeting and coming together again in the near future to continue discussions.

28/05/2020: This petition was sent to University leadership, requesting a formal response and a meeting to discuss the issues. 

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University gave a formal response to the petition, and representatives of the campaign, alongside the Elected Officers will be meeting with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the Dean of Students in the coming days.

You can read the response from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor below:

This is a difficult and challenging time for our students, as it is for people across the country.   We have worked hard and successfully across the university to support students to continue their studies remotely, and we accept and understand that this has at times been difficult and stressful for students. We have also undertaken recent student surveys to try and better understand some of the issues that our students are experiencing. I’m grateful for the responses and feedback which we are taking on board as the situation progresses.

With more than 30,000 students, adapting our approach to online examinations and assessment has been extremely complex. Hallam’s no detriment approach is designed to support all of our students to continue their learning and to achieve meaningful qualifications. Our priority is, and has always been, to ensure that all students’ learning, assessments and results are not adversely affected as a result of COVID-19. Therefore, the range of measures we have put in place are designed to ensure that no one is disadvantaged.  

Having said that, I understand that some students are not happy with this approach, and this petition shows that there are a considerable number who want us to consider different methods.

I would therefore like to suggest that you, other Union officers and those involved in setting up the campaign meet with Dr Neil McKay, Dean of Students, and myself, to discuss students’ concerns, questions and have a constructive conversation about the University’s approach.

You can read the letter by your SU President on behalf of the campaign and your elected representative team here.

More than 4,000 students signed the Safety Net petition. Thank you for your support.