Recent campaign wins:
As part of our four campaign priorities for 2021/22, we have been lobbying UAL for change which benefits our student communities. Keep up to date with our wins below:
Modernising Course Resources Project
We worked with CCW to launch two pilot sessions for the Modernising Course Resources Project, exploring decolonisation and how students can bring their own experiences into their dissertation. We are now feeding back to UAL on how to improve these sessions, alongside identifying courses to work with in other UAL colleges.
Georgia Spencer (Welfare Officer) and Calum Sherwood (Senior Policy Coordinator) presented our sector-leading Crits Research at WonkHE National Conference, investigating how reformed Crits can function as positive safe spaces which focus on professional development. We also ran safe-space crits sessions as part of LGBTQ+ History Month and Black History Month.
We lobbied UAL to agree to add Racial Trauma to the Extenuating Circumstances list. We also ensured that UAL continued to allow students to self-certify for ECs in certain cases (up to 60 credits), publishing transparent advice to support students through the process.
Compulsory Disability Awareness Training
We got UAL to commit to Compulsory Disability Awareness Training for all UAL staff from the start of the 2022/23 Academic Year. We will be trialing the training with Arts SU Staff & Student Volunteers (Course Reps and Committee Leaders) by the end of Term 3.
Arts SU supporting UCU-UAL Strike Action
We ran a student referendum on whether Arts SU should formally support UCU strike action, which you voted overwhelmingly in favour of. In response, we put together an online ‘Strike Hub’ to educate students, alongside organising workshops on strike action and grassroots organising so that students could support the strikes, should they wish to.
NUS Student Strike: Walk Out / Teach In
Syahadah Shahril (Campaigns Officer) ran a session as part of the NUS Student Strike / Walk Out Teach In on fostering positive and supportive communities within Higher Education. The event was a great success, with over 60 students from institutions nationwide in attendance.
International Student Support
We have submitted a policy around Working Rights for International Students to NUS Conference, seeking their support to launch the campaign on a national level. Led by Brenda Hernandes Gonzalez, the campaign is advocating for improved freelancing rights for international students, alongside flexible hourly contracts within HE (not fixed due to international visa limits).
Campaigns Wins from previous years.
Mental health support
This year we lobbied the university to increase the budget for counselling by £250,000 to help with the increasing demand for support. With this they have doubled the amount of mental health advisors, hired an additional two full time counsellors and extended access to weekends and evenings.
We lobbied for changes to the extenuating circumstances policy to ensure the university’s process is as easy, robust and accessible to students as possible. This included changes such as mental health to be listed as a serious medical condition and no longer needing a police report for cases of sexual assault.
Unconscious Bias Training
From 2017, unconscious bias training will be mandatory for all staff. We believe this training is a step towards creating an inclusive culture that identifies and helps eliminate hidden bias - whether this is race, gender, disability or sexuality - with the aim of reducing discrimination.
Gender Neutral Toilets
In November 2015 we launched our first transgender awareness week and a petition for gender neutral toilets. This campaign was successful and UAL now has gender neutral toilets across all 13 campuses.
24 Hour Library
Our petition for a 24 hour library gathered over 2000 signatures in 48 hours. We won, and we now have longer library opening hours at every college, and a 24 hour library at CSM KX during spring and summer term.
Fix the Fees
We stopped tuition fee increases for continuing home and EU students for 2017/18.
From 2015/16 UAL has agreed to introduce anonymous marking wherever possible to make sure everyone is marked fairly and without any bias.
In 2015, we made the University reduce the price of colour printing by 50%. Now we’re lobbying to make it free!
Mental health support
From 2016 the University is going to be introducing a new mental health adviser to support the growing number of students who experience mental health issues at university. On top of this, we’ve lobbied for mental health to be listed as a serious medical condition on the extenuating circumstances guidance for 2015/16.
Scrapping international student sign-ins
Until recently, international students had to come to LCF High Holborn every week to prove their attendance. We thought this was detrimental and unnecessary – and we got the University to scrap the sign-ins.
Working together with trades unions, we convinced UAL to pay all of its staff, including outsourced staff, no less than the London Living Wage.
Free Wednesday afternoons
UAL agreed Wednesday afternoons would be free for all undergraduate students so that they can take part in extra-curricular activities such as sports and societies. If you’re studying a BA course and have anything scheduled for Wednesday afternoons, please get in touch with your Activities Officer, Armani Sutherland, and we’ll sort it out: firstname.lastname@example.org