NUS MEMBERSHIP UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) 9 April 2020
Our number one priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of the students and apprentices we represent, so we have been working closely with institutions, trade unions, national sector bodies like Universities UK and the Association of Colleges, the Student Loans Company, and the government to inform our response to Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Here’s an update of what we are doing on your behalf to ensure your interests are represented as we tackle this pandemic:
- Tomorrow UUK will announce a proposal for a package of measures proposed to enable universities to play a critical role in rebuilding the nation. We’ve responded emphasising that any package of support for higher education must include appropriate support for students. We’re working up our own proposals and will be seeking to join up with the various bodies across the sector. We’ve already been talking to UCU about their ideas. As we’ve previously stated we’ll support students, staff and the sector best by working together.
- We’ve had a follow on call with the Student Loans Company today, looking at their detailed operations. We received updates on their work on processing of applications and discussed the information advice and guidance they offer students and how this can be improved.
- We’ve also met with the unions representing nursing and midwifery students to discuss how we can take forward campaigning work on student loans and debt for these students, especially those who have moved into the NHS workforce early. More on this work will be announced soon.
- Our #NotStayingNotPaying campaign was covered on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland this morning. Tune in here at 1 hour 48 mins to hear from President Liam McCabe, as well as the Presidents of Glasgow Caledonian University Union and Heriot Watt University Students’ Union! Remember to sign our petition calling for all accommodation providers to cancel the rents of students who’ve left due to COVID-19, as well as sharing using the hashtag #NotStayingNotPaying and tagging any providers you know of that are still to do the right thing!
- We’ve written to the Minister for Communities and the Minister for the Economy jointly, to ask them to work together to determine the best method of ensuring students, who have been made redundant as a result of the pandemic, have access to a sustainable form of income over the next few months.
- We’ve heard that a student had been denied access to the Discretionary Fund despite the Minister’s statement that full time students were now eligible. We’ve written to the Permanent Secretary of the Department to ask them to ensure that all staff are aware that the criteria has changed and that being a full-time student is no longer a barrier to access.
- We participated in Universities Wales' Learning and Teaching Network, arguing for students in Wales to be given flexibility in how they progress their studies.
- The Housing Minister responded to our letters on students' access to housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We updated members in Wales on the latest developments. Because of the bank holiday weekend, the next COVID-19 membership meeting for sabbatical officers in Wales will be Wednesday at 10am.
- As you are aware events around the country are being cancelled or moved online following the guidance from the government around travel whilst we try and contain the COVID-19 virus. We have a number of NUS events that are due to take place during the rest of this year so here’s a quick update on them below:
- NUS-USI Conference on 21 April 2020. This event will now take place online. Registration has closed and attendees will receive joining instructions and further information in due course.
- Train the Trainer (London) on 12/13 May 2020. This event will take place online and we are currently working on reshaping content.
- Liberation Conference 2020 on 27 May 2020. This event will take place online. Registration is now open for this event. NUS UK Liberation Conference has a fixed delegate entitlement for each member union. The number of delegates you can send is not linked to your student numbers. Each union may send a maximum of six delegates. The six delegate spaces are reserved for delegates who self-define into the groups which are represented at Liberation Conference. The reserved places are as follows: one Black* student; one additional place for a Black* woman student; one trans student; one LGBT+ student; one disabled student; one woman student. Your delegation must fill these reserved spaces i.e. if you send a delegation of six, each of the above spaces must be filled. You could not, for instance, send six delegates that all only define into one of these reserved spaces.
*the NUS use Black to mean students from African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean heritage.
- Commercial Training Day and Trade Show. These events will not take place in July 2020 and have been moved to 15/16 September 2020.
- Lead and Change July 2020 & August 2020. These events will take place online. We are hoping to open registrations soon, and you will receive a communication to update you. We recognise that many of our members are transitioning their officer inductions online. We will be working with membership to ensure the right content is delivered centrally, co-designed with members.
- Learning Academy training and development sessions. If you have booked any places on in-house Learning Academy sessions these are taking place in a digital format. If you would like to book on these sessions, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide further information.
- Membership Services Conference on 11/12 August 2020. NUS is supporting this event with Liverpool Guild of Students who will be making the decision on how this event will proceed.
If the event moves online then registration for this event will open week commencing 4 May 2020. We will communicate with members as soon as a decision has been made.