News Article

Union Officer COVID Update

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This year has seen an incredible amount of change and disruption to our normal day-to-day lives and this has had a significant impact on the student experience here at Stirling, and beyond. We know that this has been difficult, and that while some changes may have been positive, many others may have been negative. Your voice matters and we at the Students' Union are here to empower our students and represent your interests. 

Your Student Experience During the Pandemic

We have opened a survey as part of a collective action case on behalf of the Stirling student body, to both project the student voice and concerns to the University, as well as provide us with information on what changes we can make as your Students' Union to better support you during these challenging times. 

There are no identifying questions within this survey, so you will remain anonymous. This is a safe place for you to express your experiences as a student during the pandemic and the Union will treat your information in accordance with its privacy policy (available here www.stirlingstudentsunion.com/privacy). There are 11 questions and you can provide as much or as little detail as you wish, but remember that the better we understand the issues and needs of our students, the quicker and more effectively we can help support our students. Anecdotal evidence is very welcomed.

The survey is now closed and we had an incredible number of responses and so much feedback. Thank you to everyone who took the time to do this. We are working through the results and will use them as part of our collective action case to project the student voice.

 

If you are looking to get more involved or would like to reach out more directly to the Union and the officers, you can either send an email to theunion@stir.ac.uk, or you can contact any of your Sabbatical officers directly at the following:
Amy Smith (Union President) president.union@stir.ac.uk
Lexi Ehresmann (VP Education) education.union@stir.ac.uk
Josh Muirhead (VP Communities) communities.union@stir.ac.uk
Edd Keeler (Sports Union President) sports.union@stir.ac.uk

If you are having any more personal challenges, Lynn Maher, our Advocacy and Inclusion Development Coordinator, can provide professional, non-judgmental, confidential, one to one, support, guidance and advocacy that is independent of the University. It is free of charge and can be accessed by contacting her by email at lynn.maher@stir.ac.uk or by phone at 01786 467188. She can assist with exploring options for accommodation problems, course changes, extenuating circumstances, appeals, complaints, disciplinary matters, academic misconduct and the rights of our students within the University, supporting students on professional programmes and more. She can signpost to appropriate services in and out of the University and other representation within the Union and is available to all students. 

If you are looking for additional support from the University, we encourage you to explore the Student Services Hub website. You can access support via live chat, email, phone call, or by booking an appointment at the hub on campus. The services range from support for mental health and wellbeing, money advice, accessibility and inclusion, spiritual support, travel and immigration advice, and more. You can also check out the Be Connected Programme which provides opporunities for activities you can get involved with.

Accommodation

We have saught clarity and guidance for you from Accommodation Services on occupancy agreements and what happens if you want to leave University Accommodation.

  • Students can now terminate their Occupancy Agreements if they want to move out of University accommodation.
  • Under the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, contracts entered into after 27 May 2020 can be terminated with 28 days’ notice. The University of Stirling has decided to waive the notice period.
  • Students will not be able to “pause” their contracts or rent payments in order to leave and move back in later. Some students have opted to move out and continue to pay their rent to keep their options open. Others have terminated their Occupancy Agreements. Those terminating have been asked to take all belongings with them as accessing households to retrieve belongings at a later date could be problematic. Any students who have already moved out and left belongings will be supported with returning to collect them should they now choose to terminate their OA.
  • It should be noted that students who terminate their OA will be welcome to reapply for accommodation later in the academic year if the situation changes and they want to return to Stirling.

You should get in touch with Accommodation Services as soon as possible if you have queries - accommodation@stir.ac.uk. If you still have questions or issues surrounding this, please contact us at theunion@stir.ac.uk or at Lynn Maher's email detailed above. 

We know that this has been really difficult, and sometimes it feels like its never going to end, but the best way we can combat this is by coming together as a community and supporting one another. Reach out to your peers, check in with one another. Help keep everyone safe and protected by following the guidelines and respecting the health and wellbeing of our community. We in the Students' Union will keep trying to provide as much support and community building as possible, and we hope that by hearing your responses in this survey, we will be able to do this even better going forward.

You can stay up to date on the progress of this survey and any resulting action by checking the Union's website and following us on our social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Take care and stay safe everyone.

- Amy, Lexi, Edd & Josh

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