This Sunday (15 November) a number of our senior staff, including our President and Vice-Chancellor, Nancy Rothwell, will be meeting with student representatives from our Fallowfield residences and Students’ Union officers to discuss their concerns and how we can work together to resolve them.
This first semester has been, and still is, really challenging for our students. The growing COVID-19 infection rate and current government restrictions has meant we have been unable to provide students with the on-campus experience that they would normally expect, and that we want to deliver. We knew this year wouldn’t be normal, and prior to arrival we gave students, where possible, a choice of whether to join us in Manchester or study on line for semester one.
Due to these truly exceptional circumstances, we notified students in October that if they wish to leave our accommodation they can break their contract without penalties. If students wish to return later in the academic year we will also guarantee that there will still be a place for them in University accommodation.
We acknowledge that we have not resolved all repairs and maintenance issues as quickly as we would like due to the impact of COVID-19. Where students have faced significant problems with their accommodation we have and will provide compensation as part of the usual complaints process. We recognise that students are having to spend more time in halls or their private rented accommodation – when we all want them to be on campus and experiencing what our amazing city has to offer, and that leads to greater frustrations. We have provided additional support to students during this time, including expanding our existing mental health provision.
Given the very large student body, in order to hear their concerns and collectively find the best way to support them, we work directly with elected Students’ Union officers, elected representatives from student halls and through student course representatives.
Our aim tomorrow is to listen. We will then work with our students to develop an action plan.
Elections for student residence representatives are not finalised, so we have invited all 37 students who have put themselves forward for election, along with representatives from the Students’ Union.