All the latest news!

Policy Digest: March/April 2023

Find all the latest policy updates from Arts SU.


Updates from the Policy Team

  • The Policy Team has a number of surveys open at the moment. ‘Conversations With Students’ is a collaborative project with the Representation and Democracy Team, investigating the perception of our student voice mechanisms (specifically the course rep system). The project has three target audiences: course reps, general UAL students, and UAL staff. Each group has an individual corresponding survey, within which they will be asked similar but bespoke questions for their demographic. We will then triangulate the findings in analysis to assess the similarities and differences of perception amongst different stakeholders. We will be presenting the findings at UAL’s Education Conference in the summer. If you could promote the general student survey to students you interact with, that would be extremely helpful! The link to the survey is here.  

  • The Policy Team has been working with the Sabbatical Officers this year on addressing bullying and harassment at UAL. We currently have a call for evidence open to all students, to share their testimonies with us. We are seeking to understand how supported students feel by the university and the SU in reporting cases of bullying and harassment. The link for students to submit evidence to is here.  

  • In the next month, the Policy Team will be launching our Private Rental Survey. This research project will be seeking to understand the issues students are facing when living as private renters at university. This builds from our previous work on Housing and Community completed in 2020, which focused primarily on the experience of students in halls of residence. We will share more about this in the coming weeks! 

HE news 

  • Universities UK (UUK), the advocacy organisation for universities in the UK, has issued analysis in rising fuel poverty amongst students. 59% of students in the private rented sector have felt uncomfortably cold in their current accommodation, 54% of students living in the private rented sector report issues with damp and mould, while 49% of students are living in draughty or poorly insulated accommodation. UUK are calling on the government to reinstate maintenance grants for those most in need and ensure that support for students is protected against inflation. Maintenance loans in England have increased by 2.8% with inflation at around 10%, and the poorest students are £1,500 worse off per year than they would have been with inflation-accurate increases. You can read more here.  

  • Lord Willets, the former universities minister, has argued the government’s free speech bill ‘could protect extreme views’. It has been argued that the bill would allow someone who denies the Holocaust the legal right to speak at a university. Willets has suggested that the bill could result in a “safety-first” environment whereby no speakers at all are invited for fear of falling foul of the legislation. You can read more here.

  • Parents whose childred have died by suicide whilst at university are calling for universities to have a legal duty of care towards students - the same duty that applies to employers to keep their staff safe at work. This would entail organisations providing educational and pastoral services to their students that would protect them from what is referred to in legal terms as "reasonably foreseeable harm" - a risk to their welfare that the university should have been aware of. You can read more here.   

Arts / Creative Industries news

  • A new, independent report has revealed that the Government’s £1.57 billion package of emergency cultural funding during the pandemic helped support nearly 220,000 jobs and 5,000 organisations. The Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) increased the income of supported cultural organisations by 140% during the pandemic, and the report also found that, once organisations were able to reopen as normal, they often did so with a new and improved offering. You can read the full report here.  

  • France is finally releasing its long-awaited policy on the issue of the restitution of cultural property, returning objects looted from former colonies and during the Nazi period. French culture minister Rima Abdul-Malak has come up with two main criteria as the basis for restitutions: "illegality and illegitimacy". Abdul-Malak has also called for making restitutions to foreign nations easier, once the criteria for their return have been fulfilled. The announcement of this policy will have a profound impact on global conversations about the restitution of stolen artefacts, including in the UK, considering debates around the British Museum. You can read more here.



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