Your Ideas

Any student can submit an Idea to change the Union, University or City of Leeds. All submitted ideas go to a forum meeting to be decided on. If the student panel can't reach 75% consensus either way, a campus-wide vote will decide.

Policy ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY

Below is the current policy about the University, click on the policy for the full details.
There is no current policy! :S
 

Policy about the University

Below is the current policy about the University, click on the policy for the full details.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
 

Should the union lobby the university to abolish all in course mandatory charges?

Should there be better language support for international students?

Should the seating around Balcony have proper plugs?

Should the University give all staff mandatory face-to-face training around Equality and Diversity?

Should the University cover the cost of re-sits?

Should LUU attempt to save NHS bursaries?

Should the Union run a 3 year Cost of Living campaign?

Should the University of Leeds integrate voter registration with the online enrolment process?

Should the union lobby the University to provide more mental health support?

Should the university offer free foreign language courses for all?

Should the union support students in opposing the new online check in system?

Should LUU lobby against the changes to Higher Education?

Could some of the computer clusters be free from lectures and workshops?

Should PhD students be allowed to park at the University?

Should the Union lobby the University to provide equal opportunities in module choice for parents and carers?

Should LUU work with the University to create individual study spaces for postgraduate researchers

 

2017

Should the University extend the use of @leeds,ac,uk email addresses for use longer after graduation?

Should LUU lobby the university to ensure that all buildings have at least one gender neutral toilet

Could some of the computer clusters be free from lectures and workshops?

Should the union support postgraduate teaching assistants to receive fair pay for the work they do?

The University of Leeds should only use contractors who pay their employees the Real Living Wage.

LUU should lobby the University to provide more spaces for students of faith.

Should the University become more aware of the dangers for students living with allergies?

Should graduation fees be scrapped?

Should there be an extension of services and opening hours for student counselling and mental health services?

Should the University display assessment submission deadlines on student's timetables and Minerva?

Should LUU research women's experiences of sexism, in STEM departments, at UoL?

Should the University adopt a standardised and/or centralised room booking system?

Should hardship funds for estranged LGBTQ+ students be easier to access?

2018

Should we have a free/subsidised laundry room in the Worsley building?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Date of forum: 29th October 2015
Expires: 29th October 2018
 

What the idea is about:

Students in catered accommodation pay for food and rent all together. Part of the money goes to your Refresh Card which you use to buy food. That card has ten pounds credit a day which you cannot carry over to the next day. However, we almost never spend the maximum amount, so we are losing money every day! It is already paid but we are not going to use it so, why not give it to people who really need it? I propose that LUU should lobby the University to give this money to charities and food banks in the local community.

 

Why have you proposed it?

I want to do this because I feel so lucky for being able to study higher education and this is a chance to give back and help people that unfortunately are not as privileged as I am. The university made a bigger profit than Tesco last year, so they can afford to give the money to a good cause.

Should Leeds University provide compost/food waste bins as standard?

Date of forum: 29th October 2015

Expires: 29th October 2018

Proposed by: Joshua Alston

What the idea is about:

This motion would require LUU to lobby the University to make compost and food waste bins a standard element of the bins provided in student halls of residence. Further, there would be larger and more numerous compost and food waste bins provided on campus.

Why have you proposed it?

At the moment the University fails to provide for the recycling of food waste on campus, with these bins only being available upon request. To promote recycling it is important that they exist as standard in every hall, as people are more likely to take easily accessible actions. Within the context of the campus many people are not aware of the locations of the food waste bins, and continue to use the more numerous  and accessible general waste bins.

 

Should the Union take a stance against the recent changes to Junior Doctor contracts?

Date of forum: 29th October 2015

Expires: 29th October 2018

Proposed by: Nick Spencer

What the idea is about:

In September the government decided to impose new junior doctor contracts from August 2016, despite months of negotiations with the British Medical Association – the Union for doctors – who condemned the majority of the changes due to risk to patient and doctor safety.

This policy would mandate the Union to oppose and condemn the contract changes facing current and future junior doctors from August 2016.

I would like to see the Union take a stance against these changes so that they can represent students, when they can’t necessarily represent themselves. I want to see LUU help to raise awareness of these changes amongst the student body, and illustrate how it will affect students as well as lobby the University to represent their students.

 

Why have you proposed it?

  • The term ‘junior doctor’ describes almost every UK doctor that isn’t a consultant.
  • The new contract changes redefine ‘sociable hours’ to 7am-10pm Monday-Saturday. This means that working at 9pm on a Saturday will be paid the same as 9am on a Monday. It also removes vital safeguards that stop employers over-working doctors.
  • Many doctors are also facing a 15-40% pay-cut, depending on their role. Although there is a 15% increase in ‘base rate’, all banding of jobs is being scrapped. This is the system that allows doctors’ pay to be reflected in the responsibilities they take and the amount of anti-social hours they are required to work.
  • The new contracts are a huge disadvantage for women who take maternity leave, those needing breaks in their training or those spending time in academic medicine. These people no longer have any pay protection and start at the bottom of the pay-scale.
  • Contracts could be incredibly damaging for specialities such as emergency medicine, psychiatry and general practice, who are already under incredible strain. GPs alone are facing a 30% cut in their pay.

For many medical students, this is a looming prospect. Current 5th year students become junior doctors in 10 months and will have no option but to enter these contracts. However, as students, we can’t strike. Campaigning is very difficult due to our schedules and our professional restrictions in which we are bound the General Medical Council. Anything we say in the media could have huge negative implications on our careers, the medical school and the profession itself.

 

Should the University use its profits to reduce the impact of the removal of DSA on students?

Date of forum: 29th October 2015

Policy expires: 29th October 2016

Proposed by: Gemma Turner

What the idea is about:

LUU should lobby the university to take responsibility to support disabled students. At the moment the government have massively cut DSA funds to support disabled students and expect the university to replace these funds. With these changes LUU should lobby the university to make sure students’ needs are at the heart of decision making and do not cut back on support for disabled students.

Why have you proposed it?:

Disabled students should not have to pay more financially to experience the exact same degree as their peers. DSA cuts will limit funding to support students with technology, software, accommodation and even getting around campus. With the University earning more than the supermarket Tesco last year we should make sure they use their money to ensure disabled students can access the education they want. 

 

Should LUU work with the University to provide consent classes during Freshers week?

Date of forum: 25th November 2015

Expires: 25th November 2018

Proposed by: Emma Healey, Anja Komatar, Eleanor Price

What the idea is about:

Consent classes should be part of the induction week timetable for new students along with library inductions and personal tutor meetings etc. These should make clear what consent is and what it is not and be given by trained consent workshop leaders. This would bring us in line with many other universities.

Why have you proposed it?:

A recent survey by The Tab found that 38% of female Leeds university students had experienced sexual assault. This is unacceptable and both the union and the university ought to be taking a stance to ensure that our students can feel safe at university.

 

Should we introduce an online booksale to reduce the cost of buying textbooks?

Date of forum: 25th November 2015

Expires: 25th November 2018

Proposed by: Samuel Ross

What the idea is about:

An online booksale system for students to buy and sell textbooks necessary for their degree. The system would either be run centrally through a university payment method or provide students the opportunity to buy/sell directly to each other, allowing second hand books to be bought at a fraction of the cost of buying brand new.

Why have you proposed it?

The cost of textbooks is high - especially with multiple modules per academic year, and often the library is unable to provide enough copies for the number of students in need of specific course texts. Even with student grants, the cost of buying new textbooks is often excessive. By introducing this booksale system, all students would have access to the course texts they need at prices they can afford. This also allows students to free up space by selling their unneeded textbooks and make back money on their original purchase. 

 

Should there be more and functioning water fountains?

Date of forum: 25th November 2015

Expires: 25th November 2018

Proposed by: Isaac Lichtenstein

What the idea is about:

I want there to be more water fountains around campus and those that are already there to work better.

Why have you proposed it?

Because I am often thirsty after attending an intellectually stimulating lecture / seminar.

Seriously though, often I find myself on campus with my own water bottle (as there is no bottled water on campus - which I believe to be great!) and really want to fill it up. I'd much rather fill it up at a water fountain than in the toilet.

Also I reckon more people would then drink water, bring their own bottles and avoid soft drinks.

 

Should the union lobby the university to abolish all in course mandatory charges?

Date of forum: 4th Februrary 2016

Expires: 4th Februrary 2019

Proposed by: Nathan Blott

What the idea is about:

Some departments in the university, including my own, require student to pay for materials that are essential to progress the year. I propose the union should lobby the university to abolish these charges.

Why have you proposed it?

Most students at this university are already paying in excess of £9000 P.A in tuition fees. To add extra charges for any equipment, whilst threatening restricted access to core teaching without it, is both unethical and unfair.

 

Should local, student led & LUU ventures be given priority in bids for commercial spaces on campus?

Date of forum: 4th Februrary 2016

Expires: 4th Februrary 2019

Proposed by: Jon Clark

What the idea is about:

I believe that every effort should be made to ensure that any commercial space on campus sees the majority of income generated put back into the university and the students' union, and with this in mind, would propose that local, student led and/or LUU ventures be given priority during bidding processes for new and existing commercial spaces on campus.

Why have you proposed it?:

The inclusion of a Cafe Nero in the recently opened Laidlaw Library is a cause for concern.

The international coffee giant was the winner in a bidding process which included Leeds RAG (who were forced to drop their bid), and means Nero have now opened a branch opposite a number of local, independent coffee shops and cafes.

In addition, both the Waterside Cafe (Roger Stevens) and Parkinson Court Cafe sell and distribute Costa coffee. This means that the money you spend there leaves our local economy and funds large multinationals, as opposed to the campus we call home.

Recently, a space vacated by Starbucks has been taken over by LUU under the name Balcony, and this means that every time you spend there, the income is going to support the clubs & societies, support services, club nights and gigs that LUU provides.

It seems only right that money spent by us on campus (in addition to our already considerable fees) stays on campus and in our local economy, benefiting us as opposed to already successful multinationals.

 

Should the seating around Balcony have proper plugs?

Date of forum: 3rd March 2016

Expires: 3rd March 2019

Proposed by: Melz & Toke

What the idea is about:

The space is great. The café is great. The people are great. But in this day and age, it is really hard to get by without plugs. Let’s ask the University to give us plugs at every table by the Balcony.

Why have you proposed it?:

There is a constant need for seating appropriate for study. There is probably no student who has not been desperately looking for a place to study. We could get dozens and dozens of seats ready for use if they had proper access to plugs.

 

Should there be better language support for international students?

Date of forum: 3rd March 2016

Expires: 3rd March 2019

Proposed by: Thiago Guimaraes

What the idea is about:

Structured language courses for international students

Why have you proposed it?:

English skills are essential for good academic achievements. Currently, the Language Centre offers high-demanded short workshops only for some students (those who score less than 65% at a compulsory written test for newcomers). Many international students need and want to continue to learn English on regular basis and in a structured way.

 

Should the University give all staff mandatory face-to-face training around Equality and Diversity?

Date of forum: 3rd March 2016

Expires: 3rd March 2019

Proposed by: Melissa Owusu

What the idea is about:

The University should give all staff mandatory face-to-face training in equality, diversity, and liberation

Why have you proposed it?:

The student population is getting ever more diverse, more and more students define as, for instance, a gender identity that wasn't even in the language 20 years ago. So as our student populations grows ever more diverse staff need to be made aware and be sensitive to these societal shifts. Many students across campus deal with racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, sexism and many other forms of discrimination and staff should be taught how to deal with such incidents and ensure they are not party to any form of discrimination.

 

Should the Union run a 3 year Cost of Living campaign?

Date of Forum: 3rd May 2016

Expires: 3rd May 2019

Proposed by: Toke Dahler

What the idea is about:

I want the Union to prioritise the cost of living for students. It is the single biggest concern students have – and the financial pressure is only going to get worse with the scrapping of maintenance grants and increased living costs. I want the Union to consistently identify and campaign on areas where students can save money. This idea would allow that.

Why have you proposed it?:

A lot of areas can be cheaper for students. For Better University, cost of sport, hidden course costs, resit fees and printing are current priorities. In Leeds, costs of housing and transport are massive. And the Union itself can be supportive with lobbying, student co-ops and a range of other areas.

 

Should LUU attempt to save NHS bursaries?

Date of Forum: 3rd May 2016

Expires: 3rd May 2019

Proposed by: Melissa Owusu & Freya Govus

 

What the idea is about:

Lobby the Government, University and MPs to not scrap the NHS bursaries and to recognise that these students are undertaking unpaid work for up to half of their course which should be rewarded with a wage or bursary. To support all students in any campaigning around this issue.

Why have you proposed it?:

Currently the bursary means these students are paid roughly £3 for each hour worked during clinical placement. This does not cover living costs, but it does offer some support. NHS courses find some of the highest rates of mature students (many with dependants) and students from widening participation backgrounds, the removal of the bursaries puts this in serious trouble. Students on these courses undertake many other costs such as DBS checks, placement travel, uniforms and Occ. Health referrals and the government has made it unclear who will now foot the bill for this.

These courses require up to 45 weeks of participation in a year, leaving hardly any time for part-time paid work to top-up income.

This legislation has caused over 155,000 people have signed a petition and over 5,000 people marched through London on 9th January against this decision.

The majority of other courses with £9k fees paid by student loans have changed incrementally since 1998 – this change would see nursing, midwifery, social work and allied health professional courses put through this change in one year.

 

Should the University cover the cost of re-sits?

Date of Forum: 3rd May 2016

Expires: 3rd May 2019

Proposed by: Melissa Owusu

What the idea is about:

I believe the University should not charge individual students for the cost of their re-sits

Why have you proposed it?:

Re-sit fees are one of those extra course costs that has not been reviewed since the cost of University (£9k per year) was shifted from the government onto individual students. I think we can all, hopefully, agree that nobody wants to re-sit an exam, and the current price plan at Leeds exceeds most Universities. I fundamentally believe that finance should not be a barrier to progression at University and the added cost of re-sits adversely affects some students in a way that it doesn’t for others.

The University will only allow students to have one re-sit as of next academic year, this single re-sit should be absorbed by the University so the ability to re-sit does not ever come down to a student’s individual ability to fund the re-sit up front. Further, even if the re-sit was granted without payment upfront, no student should have to have the weight of paying money to the University in order to enrol on their next year of study, as the constant calls for such a debt to be repaid can lead to severe anxiety. Essentially let’s just abolish re-sit fees!!

 

Should the University of Leeds integrate voter registration with the online enrolment process?

Date of Forum: 27th October 2016

Expires: 27th October 2019

Proposed by: Jamie Ali

 

What the idea is about:

I propose that we lobby the university to adopt a similar voter registration system as they have at the University of Sheffield. This system, with the support of Sheffield City Council, has been very successful. It has meant that electoral registration is integrated with the University’s online student enrolment system. This made the electoral registration process integral and requiring an active decision rather than simply linking students on to the gov.uk registration portal. The Sheffield model led to 64% of students registering to vote, which is substantially higher than the number of students who are registered here in Leeds.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

LUU itself already puts great effort and resource into registering students to vote at election time, but the number of Leeds students registered to vote remains stubbornly low. Following a change in the law at the end of 2015, voters must now register individually, meaning that Universities can no longer register students en masse. Integrating individual voter registration with the university enrolment process means that the university can take advantage of the institution’s ability to reach every single student at the University of Leeds.

 

As we have seen with changes to tuition fees and student grants over the last few years as well as in the recent referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, when students don't vote (or, perhaps even worse, can't vote!) bad things happen to them. So, we need to do something about this.

 

Should the union lobby the University to provide more mental health support?

Date of Forum: 27th October 2016

Expires: 27th October 2019

Proposed by: Martha McGuinness

 

What the idea is about:

More than 3 counselling sessions available at a time to students and a follow up phone call/email.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

Three counselling sessions are offered to students before they go on the waiting list again, but if someone is vulnerable this can be dangerous to their health. The follow up call or email, whilst time consuming, would be beneficial to ensure students safety and that is far more important than time or money.

 

Should the university offer free foreign language courses for all?

Date of Forum: 27th October 2016

Expires: 27th October 2019

 

Proposed by: Adriana de las Cuevas Salgado

What the idea is about:

University is about creating bright people and bright futures. It is a place for knowledge; the perfect place to grow academically but also as human beings, therefore knowledge should not be restricted to whoever can afford it.

In this university, unless you can afford to pay for the extra module classes, your only option is to take them as discovery modules. This way you have to drop one of the modules related to your degree; which is what you chose to study in the first place. Nowadays, languages are essential and their learning should be encouraged for all.

Languages empower people and open their mind to different cultures. In the globalized world we live in today they are a key element for success and for a better understanding of the world. They open many opportunities in your own country but they also expand your professional reach.

Other universities already offer this possibility in Leeds. For example Beckett University offers them to its students but there are many others around the UK who also think this way. Let´s make it happen here!

 

Why have you proposed it?:

I want to make this happen because it would be beneficial for everyone.

It would make University of Leeds students better candidates for future opportunities, but it would also increase the interest in other cultures.  Therefore, implementing free foreign language courses in the university would help the multi culturalism of the university. It would contribute to a better understanding of different cultures from the students, helping foreign students to integrate better.

 

Should LUU lobby against the changes to Higher Education?

Date of Forum: 27th October 2016

Expires: 27th October 2019

Proposed by: Melissa Owusu

What the idea is about:

The government have proposed a number of changes to UK higher education through the Higher Education Bill. These changes all culminate in the marketization of the Higher Education system as opposed to a system that is publically funded and driven only by academic curiosity - not money. These changes include the ability for institutions to raise tuition fees, it gives an independent body (Office for Students) the ability to open and close Universities more easily and assumes teaching quality can be quantified by a collection of vague metrics.

More information can be found here:

http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/articles/higher-education-bill-mps-debate-huge-shake-ups-to-the-sector

http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/resources/tef-briefing-august-2015

This would take the form of LUU lobbying the Vice Chancellor & University.

Why have you proposed it?:

As education should be a public good and not driven solely by the competition of the market – Universities should not be raising fees any further and we need to put pressure on the government to continue funding higher education. Education should be open to all and the recent proposals are not conducive of this.

 

Should the union support students in opposing the new online check in system?

Date of Forum: 27th October 2016

Expires: 27th October 2019

Proposed by: Nathan Blott

What the idea is about:

For the union to campaign against the new check - in system and to support those students who choose to boycott it.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

This year the university has enacted a new policy whereby students must check into lectures. they must do this by their phone using location specific bluetooth beacons or they must visit a cluster and sign in every day to allow them to manually do this.

The new check in system undermines the opportunities and experiences that set university apart from school and college. University is a place where people come to learn because they want to. Where they should be able to explore their own learning styles and access resources in a way that supports their personal learning style. This system - imposed in the greater context of new stricter rules for international students - is draconian and infantalises the university community.

Furthermore this system unfairly impacts students with learning difficulties. Speaking as a student with learning difficulties lecture catch up has allowed me to access material in a way that allows    me the extra time i can sometimes require. From speaking with others i know i am not alone in feeling that often the recordings are more accessible than the lectures themselves. With this new system we are forced to attend the live lectures which are often too fast.

 

Should the Union lobby the University to provide equal opportunities in module choice for parents and carers?

Date of Forum: 23rd November 2016

Expires: 23rd November 2019

Proposed by: Paige Kesemeyer

What the idea is about:

This idea would see the University providing more flexible and balanced timetables, exam dates, and allow for greater representation for parents and carers attending the University. 

Why have you proposed it?:

I feel as though as a parent I was restricted as to what degree course I could choose to progress onto. The past year I have studied BA social Science foundation year, meaning my first year was only 3 days’ contact between the hours of 10am – 1pm this was easily accessible for parents and careers alike. Schools and childcare options are more accessible at these times and finding care for students with care responsibilities were more accessible.

However, during exams our last exam of the year was set in the June school holidays, which could have easily effected a student’s chance of attending and finding alternative care, putting them at a disadvantage for revision compared to other students without caring responsibilities. I viewed the timetables online for next years modules. I needed to enrol on the courses that fitted with my caring responsibilities before they got fully booked up. This means I was deciding my future and my course based on what I could attend and what was more accessible for me, not what I was capable of or what I enjoy doing. I couldn’t choose what I wanted to do as I couldn’t find care or support for a 9am lecture or a 5pm finish. My child is four years old and attending a primary school from 9am – 3pm in Sheffield. I commute as I cannot just leave the family home due to my child's requirements due to his disability.  

I am a single parent/career and he relies solely on me which again got me thinking: How do other parents and careers feel about this? Do they feel the same? And do they also let their education suffer or push themselves more than they should to gain an education because of the same reasons? For me this is not acceptable. Why are parents and careers not given a thought when looking for education choices to better their lives and the lives of the people they have responsibility for?

 

Should LUU work with the University to create individual study spaces for postgraduate researchers?

Date of Forum: 23rd November 2016

Expires: 23rd November 2019

Proposed by: Polly Galis

What the idea is about:

There is a general consensus amongst Postgraduate Researchers within the School of Languages, Cultures & Societies (LCS PG(R)s), that study and social spaces are inadequate and that LCS PGRs are undervalued and underrepresented, as proved by a recent student-led survey. We feel that the discontent in our school constitutes an example of the unfair treatment received by PGRs across the University, and we are appealing to the LUU and University body to create new study spaces in all schools and to ensure a broader recognition of postgraduate researchers’ contribution to academia.

Why have you proposed it?:

Our survey showed that the majority of students found the quality of facilities to be unsatisfactory, and the majority are neither likely nor unlikely to recommend the LCS to prospective students based on their appraisal of the facilities. The reputation and development of the University is thus at stake as a result of this problem.

The majority of participants were also international students. This adds to their level of dissatisfaction given that they pay higher fees, often receive funding from external national bodies, and have different expectations to UK students, and this also impairs the University’s image on a global scale. 100% of participants were also full-time students who work on campus during weekends and holidays, which indicates that most PGRs need a suitable work-space at all times throughout the year.

The new spaces dedicated to PGRs in Edward Boyle and Botany House are not adequate for PGRs since there is insufficient space for storage, personal study and for school-specific research activities and general sense of community.

In light of these findings, we believe new and improved study spaces would improve the University’s image and PGR activity and development in every school. We also believe these efforts will reflect PGRs position as valuable members of the academic community.

 

Should the University extend the use of @leeds,ac,uk email addresses for use longer after graduation?

Date of Forum: 23rd November 2016

Expires: 23rd November 2019

Proposed by: Daniel Murgatroyd

What the idea is about:

I would like for the university to extend personal use of each students leeds university email address for longer after graduation.

Why have you proposed it?:

Many students use their university email addresses for important applications to postgrad positions, Phd applications and general important logins which are often cut off halfway through. The university currently cuts off access to the email address after graduation which makes it difficult to change the registered address from the university email. Paying £9,000 per year in university fees should at least cover an email inbox linked to the university. 

 

Could some of the computer clusters be free from lectures and workshops?

Forum date: 9th February 2017

Expires: 9th February 2020

Proposed by: Beatriz dos Reis

What the idea is about:

The idea would be to have some of the 24-hour computer clusters free from booking day and night so everyone could have access to a computer and also not to have its work interrupted continuously.

Why have you proposed it?

Most of the computer clusters can be booked for lectures and workshops. During these times the computers cannot be used by students who do not belong to the module and the students who are already working in the clusters are forced to leave. Some clusters like in the Worsley building are free from booking but not all students have access to them. At the same time, the computers provided in the libraries are not enough for the thousands of students that need Uni computers to work. This idea would provide rooms to students that need to work and study without being continuously interrupted and having to search for a free computer for hours.

 

Should LUU lobby the university to ensure that all buildings have at least one gender neutral toilet?

Forum date: 9th February 2017

Expires: 9th February 2020

Proposed by: Emma Healey

What the idea is about:

The University ought to have gender neutral toilets in every building - as access to a toilet is a basic right and many students are currently having to misgender themselves or walk a much further distance to have access to a toilet. The University should ensure that gender neutral toilets are included in the plans of every new build or upgrade, as well as converting current single-stall toilets to gender neutral.

Why have you proposed it?:

This has been done at lots of other universities and is a really important issue. It's a small change that they can make that can have a really big impact - whilst they are upgrading the campus, we must also ensure that it is made to work for our students.

 

Should PhD students be allowed to park at the University?

Forum date: 9th March 2017

Expires: 9th March 2020

Proposed by: Alison Telford

What the idea is about?

I believe PhD students have the right to be able to park our cars at the University as we are treated in most ways like staff. However in this case, it is not an available option for us. Therefore I want PhD students to be offered the chance to buy the "day passes" that are currently being offered to staff.

Why have you proposed it?

Most PhD students including myself are involved in teaching activities as well as living further than 6 miles away from campus. This means that it becomes incredibly time consuming and unreliable to get to the University for specific times. For example, it takes me well over an hour to get into University whereas it would only take me half an hour (counting traffic) to get into Uni if I was to drive. Not only this but I have encountered many train reliability issues when it comes to getting into University for 9am, which is not good when we have teaching responsibilities for that time.

 

Should LUU support postgraduate teaching assistants to receive fair pay for the work they do?

Forum date: 9th March 2017

Expires: 9th March 2020

Proposed by: Ed Berry

What the idea is about:

We would like the Union to support postgraduate researchers in seeking changes to University of Leeds policy for postgraduates who teach. This would be aimed at achieving a more accurate reflection of the amount of time needed to plan teaching activity, offer ongoing support to students, and conscientiously mark essays/reports in the teaching contracts offered to postgraduate researchers who teach. Currently most postgraduate teaching assistant contracts vastly underestimate the actual time needed to undertake the work. It would also aim to achieve greater parity between schools and faculties on what constitutes, say, an hour’s work. For example, there are currently large differences between schools in the amount of time postgraduate teaching assistants are allocated to mark undergraduate work.

The current code of practice (linked below) was drawn up in 2014 with the understanding that it would be reviewed annually. This review is now overdue and offers an opportunity to improve these conditions and ensure that schools and faculties across campus are adhering to these policies in their recruitment and appointment of PGRs to teaching positions. While the code of practice includes guidelines on how much PGRs should be paid for an hour’s work, it does not currently include guidelines on how schools should calculate what this constitutes.

http://ses.leeds.ac.uk/info/22149/a-z_of_policies_and_key_documents/718/postgraduate_research_students_engaged_in_teaching

Why have you proposed it?

Securing changes to University policy would benefit both postgraduates and undergraduates, as well as the University more generally. Currently many postgraduates are forced to work for free, exceeding their contracted hours, just to make sure undergraduates receive the quality of teaching and feedback they deserve. There are a number of particular issues that would improve the experience of all students involved on both sides of this concern:

  • Affording postgraduates more time to mark undergraduate work would result in more thorough and useful feedback. Allowing for more preparation time would mean that seminars would be of higher quality for undergraduates, while also giving postgraduates the time and space to develop their professional skills in these areas.
  • Being a postgraduate teaching assistant can be a rewarding job that gives the postgraduate student vital experience for an academic career. This should be an opportunity for everyone, not just those that can afford to work for ‘free’.
  • Improving the teaching contracts of postgraduates would also allow them to balance teaching with their research, benefitting them in particular and the University’s research output in general. This would likely improve 3-year completion rates in schools where postgraduates have unrealistic teaching contracts, reducing the emotional and financial hardship postgraduates face when having to complete their qualification without the support of funding.

 

The University of Leeds should only use contractors who pay their employees the Real Living Wage.

Forum date: 9th March 2017

Expires: 9th March 2020

Proposed by: Kitty Ottmann

What do you want?

We would like the University of Leeds to ensure they use contractors who pay their employees the ‘Real Living Wage’. Currently the University commission outside organisations who do not pay their staff such as cleaners or catering suppliers the Real Living wage of £8.45 an hour.  Whilst we accept the University is currently tied into contracts with these organisations we request that when the contracts come up for renewal they seek to commission an organisation who respect their employees by paying them the Real Living wage. By employing organisations who do not adhere to the employees’ rights, the University is inadvertently supporting this unethical practice.

Why do you want it?

Recent research published by Oxfam demonstrates the increasing inequality levels in the UK and the growing disparities in wealth. One way Oxfam looks at tackling these inequalities is by focusing on fairer wage systems which is something the University ought to support and show a greater commitment towards. Existing and prospective students are often attracted to Leeds University due to its progressive politics and open minded ethos. Making a stand on this issue and being one of the first Russel group University’s to do so would send a clear message regarding the University’s commitment to its staff and students, something to be proud of.

 Everyone irrespective of their profession is entitled to a fair wage. Companies employing their staff on less than the Real Living Wage is exploitative and something the University should not be supporting. Whilst it is acknowledged that budgets for all institutions are increasingly tight, attempting to make savings by paying staff below the minimum wage is shameful.  Although the University is not directly responsible for the wage rate, by knowingly employing contractors paying below the Living wage is colluding with this practice. Paying below the Living Wage to staff is indefensible particularly given the high salary offered to senior positions such as the University Vice Chancellor. University of Leeds’s commitment to numerous projects within the community as well as the more general politics of the University should not be marred by the unjust practice of underpaying their staff.

 

LUU should lobby the University to provide more spaces for students of faith.

Forum date: 9th March 2017

Expires: 9th March 2020

Proposed by: Taiwo Ogunyinka

What the idea is about?

The University should provide more bespoke spaces for students to practice their faith and worship.

Why have you proposed it?

Currently, as a Muslim student, the only permanent spaces where I can worship are the Green Room in the Conference Auditorium and Cemetery Lodge. Both of these spaces are right on the edges of campus. This makes them current inaccessible for Muslim students who have to pray regularly and may have to travel across campus each time. This means Muslim students currently cannot effectively worship on campus. This has led to the ISOC committee having to hold Friday prayers 3 times just so every student can attend. Due to the spaces being so far apart and not large enough.

With more spaces, as well as larger ones, Muslim students will be better supported by the University.

Moreover, this sentiment naturally extends to students of all faiths and there is much more the University can do to accommodate students of faith. The opportunity to do this is now as the University is in the process of revamping and many of its facilities and building entirely new ones too. 

 

Should the University become more aware of the dangers for students living with allergies?

Forum date: 21st November 2017

Expires: 21st November 2020

 

Proposed by: Amy Grabe

What the idea is about:

I want the university to become more aware of the dangers that are associated with allergies, and to promote awareness. Many students have life threatening allergies and face isolation due to misunderstanding and ignorance. I want students to feel included despite their life threatening allergies, and that they can access support when they need it. I also want to also raise awareness for other students who may need to support a friend or housemate, in a time of crisis during an allergic reaction. In order to do this I want the university to offer:

  • More support - groups, posters, 'save a life sessions' to educate people.
  • Improved options around the university for food and allergen information available and easily accessible
  • More staff training on allergy awareness
  • Recognition of Allergy Awareness Week
 

Why have you proposed it?:

Having a life threatening (anaphylaxis) food allergy is like living with a death sentence. It is isolating and often embarrassing yet there is no university support available. There have been a number of deaths in the past year involving young people who, with the right support may still have been alive today. I want the university to be inclusive for all, and at the moment it isn't for those living with food allergies. By offering support to all on campus, we can educate people on what to do if they find themselves facing a situation involving anaphylaxis, hopefully preventing a death. There is a severe lack of information about something that can kill within minutes. Learning about food allergies and their consequences is equipping people with the knowledge to save a life forever, and this is something that I believe the university has the ideal platform to do. I want the university to promote awareness about allergies and to provide more support for those affected.

 

Should graduation fees be scrapped?

Forum date: 21st November 2017

Expires: 21st November 2020

 

Proposed by: Charlotte Mason

What the idea is about:

The University - not students - should cover graduation fees e.g. gown hire, photography

 

Why have you proposed it?

It is a joke that the University charges £9,000+ in tuition fees, but does not cover graduation costs. We work hard and pay thousands of pounds for our degrees, and it is unfair that we should cough up even more simply to graduate at the end of it.

 

 

Should there be an extension of services and opening hours for student counselling and mental health services?

Forum date: 21st November 2017

Expires: 21st November 2020

Proposed by: Georgia Halliday

What the idea is about?

Extending the Student counselling and mental health services

  • e.g. by bringing the services to individual schools to deliver information regarding support
  • e.g. by offering an increased number of sessions
 

Extending opening hours of the Student counselling and mental health services

  • e.g. beyond 4pm weekdays and opening on weekends
 

A more cohesive system between pastoral services

 

Why have you proposed it?

The pastoral support system at the University of Leeds has undergone some reformation over the last academic year. However, the waiting times for services are still growing and the provision of support is not proportional to the needs of the student body, throughout the university. In short, if you were to decide today that you needed to access counselling services at the university of Leeds, you would be waiting approximately three months.

When requesting support, most students fill out an online form which indicates the most relevant service. This method of triaging students seems good in principle however, this is a very impersonal way of liaising with service users, at what could potentially be a distressing time. Additionally, the questionnaire asks a number of invasive questions (e.g. Have you made serious plans to end your life in the last week?). This way of triage may exacerbate people’s situations; be daunting/isolating when filled out alone or service users may feel unable to divulge this information electronically. The student counselling centre (SCC) used to offer drop in sessions to help identify those students most at risk, however, this service is no longer available (as of this academic year).

Upon filling out the form, students would be expected to wait approximately 3-4 weeks for a mental health appointment (i.e. for pre-diagnosed mental health problems) and students needing to access the SCC would have to wait approximately 3 months (i.e. for undiagnosed mental health problems or problems surrounding life events). This is a result of all appointments in the SCC being booked until the end of this term; accompanied by a forever growing waiting list. The SCC has decided to take the drastic action of stopping new referrals until after the Christmas holiday, in order to manage their waiting list. Once students are able to access the waiting list in January, they will be expected to wait approximately 4 more weeks for an appointment. Students do not pre-empt they will require counselling or mental health services one to three months in advance of submitting a referral. This leaves students vulnerable during the waiting period and could have considerable impact on their studies.

Additionally, when arranging the main sessions, all sessions must be at the same time every week. This means that students must miss the same tutorials each week. Appointments are offered from 9am-4pm with very limited 4pm-7pm Tuesday appointments. Therefore, sessions are inaccessible to students with busy timetables, those on placement and students not based on campus. Also, the reduced accessibility discourages pupils from seeking support. When finally beginning counselling, the services offer a maximum of four sessions. After a rapport is established and a support is in place, students are told that they must re-join the waiting list or refer to an external service (which may have longer waiting times!). This disruption to the continuation of support could have a large impact on pupils’ welfare.

All the issues highlighted make the university wide services inaccessible considering many schools rely on these services as a form of pastoral support. I propose a more cohesive service between the student counselling centre, mental health services, wellbeing and disability support. This would allow a more holistic approach to supporting students. I propose that the Student counselling and Mental health services open for longer weekday hours as well as weekends. This will: open more appointments; reduce the waiting list, and allow students to access appointments at more convenient times to fit around their studies. Additionally, I believe there should be an extension of services e.g. offering drop-in sessions based at different schools to increase the access to information and support.

 

 

Should the University display assessment submission deadlines on student's timetables and Minerva?

Forum date: 21st November 2017

Expires: 21st November 2020

Proposed by: Jonathan Dowsett

What the idea is about:

I would like to increase the visibility and accessibility of submission deadlines for written, verbal and practical assessments for students at the University of Leeds. Therefore, the idea I am proposing is the incorporation of deadlines in students timetables that can be found both on the Minerva homepage as well as on the UniLeeds app for smartphones.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

As a student at the University for the last 3 years, I have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of information that is able to be obtained through easy and convenient means when it comes to assessment submission. At present, the submission deadlines for assessments within studies at the university are separately presented via the use of Module handbooks and module information on the VLE. Students may also sometimes receive details of deadlines to submit assessments directly from lecturers, however this is not always reliable. By incorporating these submission deadline dates into existing services such as the timetable within the UniLeeds app as well as using the Minerva homepage, students can easily access this information at a glance. I believe this could be a huge help to students who struggle from lack of organisational ability as well as those who are more organised also. This is because, simply displaying submission deadlines alongside timetables of modules presents a succinct and logical breakdown for students to use, as well as being able to easily compare deadlines between modules for their own personal planning for these assessments, as these deadlines would all now be in the same place

 

 

Should LUU research women's experiences of sexism, in STEM departments, at The University of Leeds?

Forum date: 21st November 2017

Expires: 21st November 2020

Proposed by: Kathryn Irish

What the idea is about:

I want LUU to follow the lead of Bristol University Students' Union and conduct an independent survey of the women working and studying in our STEM departments (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) at the University of Leeds. This survey should investigate whether they have experienced discrimination during their time in these departments. I want LUU to publicly publish their findings.

It’s very important that this be done in a way that is intersectional and acknowledges the ways that gender discrimination can intersect with other parts of people’s identities.

Bristol have published their report, including surveys used and methodology. It can be found here.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

Gender discrimination in STEM negatively impacts our students who study in these environments. Students and staff should be free to work without having to navigate discrimination. Although gender discrimination is a problem across all sectors, there are specific barriers facing women in STEM which need to be explored further.

Women in STEM can’t often talk freely about experiences of discrimination directly to employers or academic supervisors due to fear of repercussions. Therefore LUU is better placed than the university to provide women with anonymity when collecting survey data.

Bristol SU’s report included findings that 46% of students and 64% of staff surveyed “had experienced sexist comments” in their places or study and work.

Having this data would enable LUU to work with the University of Leeds to create a more inclusive environment in our STEM departments. Bristol’s report concluded with a list of steps that could be taken moving forward, LUU could do the same for the University of Leeds.

 

 

Should the University adopt a standardised and/or centralised room booking system?

Forum date: 21st November 2017

Expires: 21st November 2020

Proposed by: Alexander Stoker

What the idea is about:

I would like for all of the room booking systems across the university to adopt a format the same as the Union, as it is easier to use and would be less confusing.

It would also be helpful if all of the room booking systems could be accessed online from a central system based in the Union.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

I have had trouble booking rooms in other university buildings (such as Parkinson) where there is no online system for booking or viewing the availability of rooms.

 

 

Should hardship funds for estranged LGBTQ+ students be easier to access?

Forum date: 21st November 2017

Expires: 21st November 2020

Proposed by: Madeleine Steeds

What the idea is about:

University can be very expensive but student loans are based on the income of your parents or partner and students often have to rely on supplementary income from their family. This can cause difficulties for students who are estranged from their parents. An example of this is if you are an LGBTQ+ individual and your parents reject you when coming out.

Access to hardship funds currently requires you to have not had any form of contact with your parents for 12 months or to have been financially independent for 36 months. During these time periods it is likely that an individual will face homelessness, starvation and be in a very precarious living situation. Therefore hardship funds should be more easily accessible and available within shorter periods of time so students are not at risk.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

The LGBTQ+ community are disproportionately represented in the homeless population and are also disproportionately affected by mental health issues. Having hardship funds that are more readily accessible would help prevent students falling into homelessness and would also help relieve the financial stress being estranged could cause.

 

Should we have a free/subsidised laundry room in the Worsley building?

Forum date: 30th January 2018

Expires: 30th January 2021

Proposed by: Zoe Levenson & Isaac Newsome

What the idea is about:

I want a laundry room in the Worsley building available for dental students to use for washing scrubs, to save money, energy and water resources.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

I am a dental student at the University, and am required to wash my scrubs after every wear. I only have four sets, and have to change at least once per day, sometimes more. Regulation states that the scrubs cannot be washed with any other garment, which means that - living at iQ- washing scrubs alone costs me close to £5 each time. I’ve calculated that across a year this will cost me around £210. Not only this is clearly a huge hidden course cost to dental students, those who are unable to afford this are not able to change scrubs as frequently as required, which creates hygiene issues and is a risk for patients. It is also true that washing facilities in student accommodation can be quite ‘grimy’, and the majority of washing machines don’t reach 60 degrees, the temperature required for washing scrubs according to our regulations. Having a suitable washing system in place in the Worsley building would mean students could wash their scrubs together more easily, saving water and energy and valuable money, and crucially improving hygiene and minimizing risk to patients.

 

Should the University ensure the upcoming GPA marking system is not applicable to first year grades?

Forum date: 30th January 2018

Expires: 30th January 2021

Proposed by: Samuel Greet

What the idea is about:

I would like the University to change its upcoming policy proposal on a parallel GPA marking criteria system to not include first year grades in the final degree GPA score, but match the existing Honours system and run only from beyond the first year of study.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

The University is actively making the decision to include first year grades in its GPA marking scores for students when it makes the change to add GPA scores from September next year. The GPA system has its merits and there is a lot of value in giving differentiation between students final grade, which in the existing honours system I agree can be limited in just showing a '2:1' say for a student who achieved a 68 and may want more representation of this. I also appreciate its value in internationalising the university further as the GPA score is a popular method of understanding students abilities for employers abroad.

However, the University is choosing to include first year results in the final GPA result that students receive. This is an active choice, as is the subscription to GPA marking, that is not enforced externally. In turn, I believe the university is making a decision that will negatively impact all students for a variety of reasons:

  • We can see from the university and LUU's own campaigns and provisions that mental health at the university impacts over 1 in 4 students in Leeds. In First Year, students are adjusting to a completely new way of life away from home, new social circles, new opportunities and living independently. This already imbues First Years with a considerable degree of stress as they take on methods of learning they never have before. To choose to make the marks of this year actually count towards their final degree scores for their degree risks a continuation of A-level style stress and pressure on academic performance on students already dealing with a lot of stress-inducing challenges.
  • It restricts academic freedom and exploration. Students will be less likely to try modules in subjects outside of their own; less experimental in their styles and approaches to their assessments if they know it all counts toward a final degree mark. University should represent a new window to exploring education in a new way and to have all marks count towards a final score would reduce this academic exploration in First Year.
  •  
  • Expanding on my previous point, Leeds University's incredible discovery module catalogue and system will become less useful and less explored. If First Year marks count, students have far less incentive to take up a discovery module outside of their comfort zone and known subjects because of the risk it could pose to final marks that actually count on their final degree qualifications, albeit only the GPA score. The discovery modules help create a more well-rounded and confident student, who when applying for graduate jobs can discuss areas of academia that aren’t just their degree subject.
  •  
  • As far as I understand it, GPA is a comparative method of scoring between students, meaning students will be less likely to work together and help one another in projects, study and revision. This can only be reductive in creating the kind of positive learning environment that encourages everybody to achieve their best together.
  • Mature students who have had an extended period of time away from academic work will suffer. Making first year marks count towards a final degree qualification removes a first year that allowed them to understand and get to grips with returning to education and may discourage people from returning to study.
  •  
  • International students when arriving in first year have all the traditional stresses and challenges mentioned for students from the UK, alongside having to adapt to a new culture, new education system, new country, potentially even a new language. Whilst the GPA score may be valuable to them when they leave Leeds, there is a risk by including first year results that it will lower their GPA score as they have not had time to acclimatise and understand the UK and Leeds. This may put International students off coming to Leeds if they can choose a university that will give them a GPA score based on their final two years of study, rather than choosing to include all three as Leeds has done.
  •  
  • It is negligent of the university to not inform incoming students coming to Leeds University in September of the GPA proposal if it counts for first year marks. Students have been told on open days that their first year marks do not count formally for any final scoring other than pass/fail or study abroad, and if they knew about the universities GPA proposals may choose an alternative university if they knew this information which is being kept from them.

For these range of reasons, a large number of students will be negatively impacted by the active choice to include first year marks in final GPA grades. The university should adjust GPA to work as the Honours system does, therefore allowing future First Year students to enjoy and thrive under the benefits of the system we have all benefited from.

 

Should LUU lobby the university to implement lecture capture widely across all schools and faculties?

Forum date: 30th January 2018

Expires: 30th January 2021

Proposed by: Zaki Kaf Al-Ghazal

What the idea is about:

In 2014, the university implemented a system of lecture capture which is hugely beneficial to students in their learning, but there are still schools and individual lecturers who unfortunately have yet to adopt the technology. I believe that they should commit to using the lecture capture as soon as possible.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

Lecture Capture is an innovative learning tool which should be available to all students, though isn’t right now. Some parts of the University have high opt-out rates and this means that students in the areas without lecture capture now have no permission to make personal recordings, which stands to disadvantage a large group of students in their learning. The current climate will disproportionately disadvantage students learning in a second language, who are notable to get written permission to record in the same way that students with special learning needs are. Lecture Capture is also beneficial in allowing students to feel less pressured to take down every word in a lecture and instead try to listen and reflect – as they can make more detailed notes when they review the lecture.

 

Should LUU lobby the university for one 24 hour library on campus?

Forum date: 30th January 2018

Expires: 30th January 2021

Proposed by: Zaki Kaf Al-Ghazal

What the idea is about:

To ensure that the university has one 24 hour library open all year around and not just during the assessment period. Many of our Russell Group competitors including the University of York, the University of Sheffield and the University of Liverpool all have a provision for at least one 24-hour library. There is no reason Leeds should be any different.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

  1. Having one library of this sort provides students with flexibility. In today’s era, many students are having to work part-time to help fund their living costs, others are on placement and some simply prefer to study at night and feel they are more productive then.

  2. Commuter students may prefer to study in the library than in a busy household. Students are adults and it is a fact that many will always work past midnight at their residence, so why not offer a safe and secure space on campus which accommodates those students.

  3. The fact that the University of Leeds has 24-hour clusters means that there is an understanding that some students have to work at night. Clusters tend to be poorly lit, dirty, unsecure and desktop computer based and are generally not well liked by most students who use them. They tend to be used out of necessity with a 24-hour library the preferable option.

  4. Value for money - For the inordinate fees students pay, there should at least be greater flexibility and choice over the time they can study.

One 24-hour library being open whilst three libraries close before midnight does not imply that students should be studying constantly; as all four library facilities being always open may do.

 

Should specific staff across the University be trained in mental health first aid?

Forum date: 13th March 2018

Expires: 13th March 2021

Proposed by: Sana Hussain

What the idea is about:

For staff across the University to be trained in mental health first aid. Students should be aware of who in their School is trained in mental health first aid.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

Just as first aid training is important, so is mental health first aid training, which staff should also be trained in.

 

Should the University have a comprehensive review of Mental Health Services, with a commitment for significant investment in the Counselling Service, and improving students' experiences with mental health services?

Forum date: 13th March 2018

Expires: 13th March 2021

Proposed by: Daniel Katz

What the idea is about:

We need an effective and accessible  student-centred counselling and mental health provision on campus.  Rising demand, and evidence that the current services are not consistently meeting the support needs of students, requires an urgent review of current services.  The failure to provide a consistent support framework is having a significant impact on well being on campus.

 

The University needs to launch a comprehensive review of these services to ensure all students, regardless of sexuality, faith, background, race or gender – are able to access quality support when they need it.  Such a review should include current users, a diverse range of students on campus, staff, pastoral support services and other stakeholders. It should include inquiries into the level of online support provision e.g ability to find information on services online, as well as the number and accessibility of counselling sessions.  Once such a review has taken place the University needs to share and act on its findings.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

An NUS report revealed that 8 out of 10 students have experienced mental health issues - nusconnect.org.uk/articles/student-mental-health-crisis-could-be-on-the-horizon

Freedom of Information [FoI] requests reveal that Counselling service funding remained stagnant from 2009-15 (£511,000 in 09/10 and £512,000 in 14/15) which represents a £100,000 cut in real terms: bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy/inflation

FoI requests to the Leeds Student Medical Practice also reveal that the Counselling service was booked up from 7th November last semester, showing that the service is under pressure, and needs more resources.

 

 

Should LUU adopt a policy of Free Education and lobby the government to this effect?

Forum date: 13th March 2018

Expires: 13th March 2021

Proposed by: Zaki Kaf Al-Ghazal

What the idea is about:

To be able to say that Leeds University Union believes all education should be free at the point of need.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

Education is a public good that we should all be proud to contribute to, in the same vein as the NHS. It is ridiculous to suggest that society does not benefit from university graduates. Healthcare professionals, teachers, lawyers, engineers, scientists and a plenty of other professions can only be accessed through Higher Education and these professions held society as a whole. We should take as much pride in providing education to all as a way of overcoming any inherited disadvantage as we do in providing healthcare to those who need it. Lobbying for a free education means that we believe and aspire that one day University should be free. Coming from a disadvantaged background should not exclude anyone from fulfilling their potential; but tuition fees (even though they are not always upfront) leave students racking up tens of thousands of pounds of debt.

 

Should English Literature and Theatre students be able to complete an English Literature Final Year Project (FYP)?

Forum date: 1st May 2018

Expires: 1st May 2021

Proposed by: Lisa Marie Benson & Katherine Corcoran

What the idea is about:

English Literature and Theatre students are single-honours students who complete up to two-thirds of their course in English Literature. Currently, they can only complete an FYP in theatre, directing or performing a piece of drama. They would like the option, as joint-honours students have, to complete an FYP in their other discipline (English Literature).

 

Why have you proposed it?:

English Literature and Theatre students only have one performing module before their FYP, and some feel as though the culmination of their degree could be better completed in the part of their degree which they have often spent most of their time. English Literature students currently have the choice to complete a Creative Writing FYP, as well as a traditional English Literature Dissertation or Textual Editing Project. English Language and Literature students have the choice to complete an English Literature FYP.

 

 

Should we allow students to take part in lectures outside their course without being assessed purely for individuals' interest purpose?

Forum date: 1st May 2018

Expires: 1st May 2021

Proposed by: Janis Pozemkovskis

What the idea is about:

For students to have access to lectures that are not part of their course without them counting towards your degree credits and hence not be assessed, nor show up on your diploma. This would require knowledge of what lectures are happening when and where. There could be some form to fill in online, if say a lecture is happening in a room which fits 400 people but there are only 330 people on the course, other students of the uni could sign in on a first come first serve basis to fill up the other seats. Of course students that are enrolled in the module would take priority.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

How many times have you been in a half empty lecture hall? I, as I believe many others, came to a University to learn. Gaining knowledge is the key reason many people are in a University and there are so many modules one may be interested in than they are currently taking. However, it is very stressful to take extra credits on and be worried throughout the year of balancing your time. If there was a system in place where one could just learn without being assessed and hence without receiving recognition for it (on a diploma), it would be a nice option for students who have always wanted to learn more but were just too afraid, or unable in some other way, to balance all the extra modules.

 

Should the University of Leeds make all submissions paperless?

Forum date: 1st May 2018

Expires: 1st May 2021

Proposed by: Budelia Probert Watt

What the idea is about:

 

 

I would like the union to lobby the university to make all submissions across all subjects online only. This would hugely reduce the amount of paper used by students to submit essays, reports and projects.

I understand that this may not be possible for every submission, for instance I would imagine some art or design projects may only be submitted in the paper format, however I believe that for most submissions in most subjects and online submission only would not be problematic. It would also benefit students by removing the inconvenience of having to be physically present in Leeds to hand in work.

If this were implemented, I would hope that lecturers would not simply chose to print work for marking after it has been submitted, however overall I believe it would still greatly decrease the overall amount of paper used- especially if the Union lobbied the university to work with lecturers to find an online marking solution that all parties were happy with.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

Whilst the paper used by 30,000 students is not an insignificant amount, it may seem like a small gesture in the grand scheme of things. However I believe that making all submissions paperless would be a strong positive statement about Leeds University's commitment to sustainability.

I believe students of my generation feel more empowered than any generation before us to do as much as we can to look after our planet. However our individual actions are not going to be enough to reverse the tide of global warming, it needs institutions and corporations to be involved too. Simply steps like this proposal allows students, the union and the university to work together to start making small steps towards a more sustainable future.

 

Should LUU work with University of Leeds to create a formal policy around examination errors?

Forum date: 1st May 2018

Expires: 1st May 2021

Proposed by: Mohamed Kamal

What the idea is about:

I want the university to seriously reconsider its approach to examination errors, by introducing a new policy that provides appropriate guidance to exam invigilators and module leaders. This would include policy on:

  • The amount of extra time added, when something goes wrong with the examination procedure.

  • First and second course of action for the exam invigilator, when dealing with missing information or printing errors on the exam paper

  • The university to reconsider when module leaders have access to the printed version of the exam paper.

  • Clear and prompt communication with students taking the exam, including those in other rooms.

  • I would also like the panel to have sufficient student input, when discussing the potential policy that could be introduced.

 

Why have you proposed it?:

There are multiple reasons why I want the university to reconsider their approach on examination errors. There is a lot of preparation that goes on before any examination by staff and students. Students spend countless hours to study for the exam, while staff spend a lot of time writing up exam questions that are appropriate and meet the learning outcomes of the module. For something to go wrong during the examination procedure, we must be extremely careful on how we deal with it.

During my three years in university, I have found that there is a 50% chance my exam will have a problem. The problem could range from a missing value, to a wrong question. The majority of these errors, are down to printing mistakes. After speaking to module leaders in my school who have experienced problems with their exams, they confirmed with me that the version of the exam they sent was sometimes not the same as the version printed. On top of that, they only get to see the printed version of the exam paper, in the first 10 minutes of the exam. That means it would be too late for them to change anything anyway.

Another problem is regarding the time added. Usually, there are two exams going on at the same time in the same exam hall. If a mistake does occur on one of the exams where extra time is required, the decision is down to the main exam invigilator. The invigilator would then make a subjective judgement of how much time all students should get, rather than just students who are affected. Thus, their decision will usually be very harsh on students who had a mistake in their exam.

A missing constant or a value in an engineering exam, could require 45 extra minutes just to adjust your answer to the question. When something like this does happen, 5 minutes is usually given to the students, wish does not reflect the magnitude of the mistake or error. It’s almost as if students are being punished for a mistake they did not commit. Having done my research and having relevant case studies of exams that went terribly wrong, I believe a formal policy must be introduced that lays the foundation for any decision to be made by the exam invigilator (Or even goes as far as informing them the appropriate course of action).

 

Should the University of Leeds work with LUU to become a University of Sanctuary?

Forum date: 1st May 2018

Expires: 1st May 2021

Proposed by: Jack Palmer

What the idea is about:

The world is currently experiencing a global refugee crisis. People are fleeing violence as their lives are disturbed or uprooted by conflict, famine or persecution. Universities, students and staff, have started to think about how they can make their place of education more accessible and welcoming to asylum seekers and refugees, looking at bursaries, fee waivers, access to facilities and clubs, language tandem projects, accommodation and so much more. People with 'refugee status' from the government are able to work in the U.K and access governments funds (eg: a student loan) however, asylum seekers (those waiting to have refugee status confirmed) are not allowed to work and would have to pay international student fees to attend University, making it nearly impossible.

Since refugee crisis hit mainstream news around 2014/15, many Universities welcomed refugees and asylum seekers into their institutions with scholarships so that they could complete or begin their degrees. These 'Sanctuary Scholarships' offer fee waivers and grants to help asylum seekers in particular access Higher Education. After policy was passed at forum in 2016, LUU began a lobbying campaign with academics for the University of Leeds to establish our own 'Sanctuary Scholarships', as we have a large refugee population in Leeds and needed to do more as an institution to help. After two years of lobbying and research, the University has launched a programme offering 3 scholarships with no fees and £10k grant for living costs. (leeds.ac.uk/info/123000/international_students/598/sanctuary_scholarship)

My idea is that the University should now work in partnership with the Union to make sure that these 'Sanctuary Scholarships' are successful for years to come, by working with external organisations in Leeds, such as 'Universities of Sanctuary' which is part of the 'City of Sanctuary' network (of which the City of Leeds is a member) and others to make our institution truly accessible for those who have fled to this country.  

 

Why have you proposed it?:

The right to access education is something we take for granted, and while it is amazing that our University has established these scholarships, I want this idea to mandate the Union to keep this issue on the agenda over the coming years and encourage the University to work with LUU and national networks in learning good practice and sharing ideas to ensure that we are welcoming and inclusive.

 

Should the University introduce content notes for lectures and readings?

This idea passed at a campus-wide referendum: 11th May 2018

Expires: 11th May 2021

Vote Breakdown: Total Votes: 1562. Votes For: 1008. Votes Against: 486. Abstentions: 68.

Proposed by: Monisha Jackson / Chloe Sparks

What do you want?

I want to get more tutors at the University of Leeds to include content notes for lectures, seminars & readings that may be sensitive and potentially damaging for students’ mental health if they are not notified beforehand.

Why do you want it?

I, and many other students, have found that when personal topics such as sexual violence, eating disorders or racial violence are discussed without warning it can be very distressing. I believe it’s really important for topics such as these are discussed in an academic setting, but not in a way that is damaging to student’s mental health. Students with mental health conditions such as anxiety, ptsd or ocd should be able to have a fair education without seminars/lectures making them ill.

A content note is simply letting people know if sensitive topics, images etc. are coming up, it in no way means these topics won’t be discussed or taught. If they were used consistently across the University, students like me would feel free to choose any courses/modules without worrying about their mental health.  They are commonly used before films, tv shows, and news articles - it won’t hurt anyone if they’re used at uni too, but it does hurt people when they aren’t used!

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