Students’ Union criticises lack of student consultation on ‘Unbound Education’ proposals

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Durham Students’ Union President Kate McIntosh, Undergraduate Academic Officer -Audini, and Postgraduate Academic Officer David Evans yesterday (17th) released a statement condemning the University’s lack of student consultation over online learning proposals.

The proposals to implement online-only learning as early as October 2020 were revealed by Palatinate on Wednesday (15th).

The statement was markedly critical, stressing that “student rights have been forgotten. Again.”

“Consultation with the Students’ Union has not occurred – and we had not seen these proposals before they were made public.”

Kate McIntosh, -Audini, David Evans

The statement comes as a response to an email sent yesterday to all students from Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Anthony Long. In his email, Professor Long wrote that the University had been working on increasing online learning capacity for some time, but that the Covid-19 situation has required more radical changes to be pushed forward faster. 

“While this is still ongoing,” said Long, “we must also plan for the 2020/21 academic year and beyond.” 

We want to give everyone as much time as possible to plan and adapt. One of our proposals, for example, is a reduction in modules for the 2020/21 academic year.

Anthony Long

What the email failed to make clear was a distinction between short-term, emergency plans to move learning online, as a result of Covid-19, and long-term or potentially permanent changes to the way teaching is delivered at Durham.

Acknowledging this, the Students’ Union is calling for “more information about what this proposal includes, what it doesn’t, and what the next steps are.”

“We’ve urgently requested clarification and a meeting with the Deputy-Vice-Chancellor and Provost where we’ll make our concerns known.”

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