Your regular update from the SRC.
Hello University of Glasgow students,
This is your regular update from the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).
In these updates we report to you on the work your student representatives and the SRC staff have been doing to support and represent you. We also let you know about upcoming projects and activities, including new volunteering opportunities and events.
In this newsletter we will be:
- Stating our opposition to the University’s proposed 9.5% rent increase in UofG Accommodation,
- Updating you on the success and next steps of our 'Cap Student Numbers Now!’ campaign,
- Sharing information on the Cost of Living situation and the resources that are available,
- Pointing towards support for all those affected by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria,
- Expressing our solidarity with staff in the ongoing UCU strikes,
- Reiterating our support for all Trans students after the UK Government blocked the Gender Recognition Bill,
- Encouraging you to get involved in our upcoming Student Council Elections,
- Reflecting on our January Welcome activities,
- Learning from and responding to the important work of our Advice Centre, including their latest casework and advancements in policy and campaigning,
- Sharing the fantastic opportunities available from our SRC Volunteering service including Student Volunteering Week this week,
- As well as making you aware of what’s going on at The Gilchrist Postgraduate Club, and our exciting plans for LGBTQ+ History Month, RAG Week, Volunteering, Clubs and Societies Awards and Student Teaching Awards.
At the base of the update are a list of contacts you can use to get in touch with us. Remember that the SRC are here to support and represent you, so please do reach out if you need our help.
Rinna, Katie, Hailie, Micaela
GUSRC Executive 22/23
Proposed 9.5% Rent Increase
Today we sent an Open Letter to the University Principal outlining, in the strongest possible terms, our opposition to an outrageous proposal to increase rents in University Accommodation by 9.5%. We understand the University Senior Management Group are due to endorse the rent increase in the coming weeks. Not only is the increase a shocking imposition, we also wish to register our concern at the tokenistic consultation regarding the increase: the SRC were first notified of the proposed increase in January 2023.
We have asked that the University acknowledge the impact the rise in inflation/cost of living is having on students, by either freezing rent increases completely or enforcing a considerably reduced rent increase. Our proposals were unfortunately dismissed by the University. Read the full letter here which outlines our arguments against the increase and our preferred course of action: https://www.glasgowunisrc.org/news/article/gusrc/Open-Letter-Proposed-95-Rent-Increase/
Cap Student Numbers Now: Success!
Back in January, we were pleased to release a joint statement with the University of Glasgow which outlines an agreed action plan on the issue of student numbers on the Gilmorehill campus. Read the full statement on our website.
Together, the University and the SRC will:
- Target zero growth in student intake numbers for 2023/24; and commit to a managed growth admissions policy for 2024/25, carefully monitoring and controlling the overall student population number while working to improve on capacity constraints such as teaching space;
- Provide the full and complete accommodation guarantee policy to students by 25 January at the latest;
- Allocate additional funds to support the student experience strategy action plan in order to improve support for student services, clubs and societies;
- Ensure the student voice is present in the recruitment process through SRC inclusion in the Recruitment and Conversion Committee.
Cost of Living
The Cost of Living crisis continues to be a concern for all of us and we encourage you to make use of the support available.
The University have resisted all our efforts to force the implementation of cheaper food options on campus. This is extremely disappointing, especially considering the more sympathetic approach taken by other Universities such as Edinburgh Napier. We are continuing to argue for affordable options but meeting considerable resistance from the Universities Hospitality Services.
Financial Support and Advice
In terms of funding support available, you can apply to the Hardship Fund if you’re an EU/International student and the Discretionary Fund if you’re from the UK. It’s also important to ensure that you’re paying the right amount for your gas and electricity. Our Advice Centre have some advice on this here. If you’re struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out for support and apply for the funding that exists. You can find the cost of living support pages here. If you need any help with applying for extra funding, you can get in touch with the Advice Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turkey & Syria Earthquakes
We are greatly saddened by the news of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Our thoughts are with all of those affected and those working tirelessly in the rescue operations. On Thursday 16th February at 6pm there will be a vigil held in the Cloisters to commemorate the lives lost and impacted, we invite all students to join us there.
For any students affected, please reach out through the University’s support page. If you are facing financial hardship as a result of the earthquake you can apply for additional support from the University’s Discretionary or Hardship Funds. If you think your studies will be impacted by this, e.g. require an extension to any submission deadlines, we would encourage you to contact the Advice Centre : https://www.glasgowunisrc.org/advice/
At the request of the GU Turkish Society, we would like to direct students to an appeal for help run by the Association of Turkish Alumni and Students in Scotland. Learn more here and on society’s social media channels.
UCU Strike Action
The SRC supports striking staff in their industrial action. Our Council have voted to support UCU throughout this academic year (see our previous statements on our website) and we are disheartened to see that University Senior Management have still not responded fully to the expressed needs of their staff. This strike action is avoidable, and we stand in solidarity with UCU Glasgow staff.
If you would like to submit a complaint to the University with regards to the strike action taking place, the Advice Centre have some advice on the University's Complaints procedure here, or you may reach out to them for assistance with submitting your complaint.
Gender Recognition Bill
The UK Government’s recent attack on trans rights by blocking the Gender Recognition Reform Bill is completely unjust and we would like to express our solidarity and support to all trans and non-binary people affected. The passing of this Bill should have been a triumphant moment following weeks of debate and years of arduous work from campaigners, so to see it blocked in this way was truly disheartening.
Trans rights are human rights, and to have trans people’s lives put up for debate and discussion in this way is at odds with everything we pride ourselves on as an organisation and a University: inclusivity, diversity, equality and respect. Although we are not part of NUS Scotland, we still encourage you to sign their open letter (www.nus.org.uk/students_support_the_grr) to Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, showing your opposition to the blocking of this Bill and calling on a reversal of this decision.
If you have been affected by any of this, then you can find support at the following links:
Student Council Elections
As an SRC Council Member, not only will you have the means to lead on bringing about the changes you want at the University, but you’ll also meet loads of new people, gain access to a range of exciting opportunities and enhance your CV. We have a range of positions available in our upcoming Spring Council Elections, for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Find out more about Elections on our website or keep an eye on our social media for lots of content over the next few weeks.
If you’re not sure about the costs involved in running, you might be interested in our new election campaign grant funding. Find out more here. Even if you don’t fancy running yourself, remember that all fully registered students are able to vote for their favourite candidate on the Polling Days (March 1st and 2nd) so make sure you use this chance to have your say.
We were delighted to welcome back so many students during our January Welcome month of events. We hosted several activities to encourage students to meet and mix, such as the January Welcome Fair, a Burns Night celebration, plant pot painting, jewellery making and more. Thank you to everyone who came along. Keep an eye on the UofG Welcome socials for more events dotted across the year.
The Advice Centre
In January our Advice Centre dealt with a total of 306 cases, 105 of which concerned students who had been accused of a breach of the Code of Student Conduct. The majority of such cases related to alleged plagiarism or collusion from the December 2022 exam diet. During this period, we also assisted 24 students with submitting academic appeals and a further 27 students who required assistance with sourcing suitable accommodation in Glasgow.
Resident Landlord - Case Study
One recent case of particular note involved assisting students in recovering their tenancy deposit from their resident landlord. In cases such as this one, as the landlord is living in the property, they do not have to use a tenancy deposit scheme and this landlord was giving the student a range of implausible excuses on why the deposit had not been returned. We contacted the landlord to explain that if they continued to withhold the deposit, we would assist the student to lodge court action to recover the deposit. Shortly after our contact, the deposit of £650 was returned to the student. If you are in a similar situation, get in touch.
Policy & Campaigning
We reviewed the University’s Accommodation Admissions Policies for 2023/24 and reached a joint agreement with the University that going forward their policies will include clarification on definitions of “local students” and they will also develop a prioritisation process to ensure applications from disabled, care-experienced and other students with additional support needs are given particular attention.
In addition to the above we have also been preparing to present at the upcoming ‘Good Cause’ workshop as part of a University-wide review of the Good Cause regulations. We intend to lobby for a simplified process, consider how applications for Good Cause on the grounds of mental health are considered and also greatly improve the way in which the process is publicised to students.
Student Volunteering Week 2023 has just started and we are working to connect you with the fantastic volunteering opportunities we offer through partners across Glasgow. The week is a celebration of the commitment of our student volunteers and the impact their work has on the community around them, on campus and beyond. Volunteering is about giving something back, and we want this week to be our way of giving back to you and highlighting your achievements.
We have been working in collaboration with two worthwhile and exciting charities in Glasgow to provide exciting events and opportunities to our students: Refuweegee and Repair Café Glasgow. We are also hosting a campus clean-up, conversation café, and on Monday 20th February it's our Volunteering and Social Justice Fair down at the Advanced Research Centre (ARC).
Find the full line up of Student Volunteering Week events on our website and make sure to follow @srcvolunteering for updates.
LGBTQ+ History Month
At a time when LGBTQ+ lives are in the media we also encourage you to look ‘Behind the Lens’ and listen to LGBTQ+ peoples’ lived experiences.
This February, LGBTQ+ History Month 2023 #BehindTheLens celebrates LGBTQ+ peoples’ contribution to cinema and film from behind the lens. We have events and activities on throughout the month, organised by our LGBTQ+ Equality Officer, VP Student Support and GULGBTQ+ Society. Events range from socials and coffee mornings, to panels and film screenings, and more.
Event listings are available on our website: glasgowunisrc.org/lgbtqhistory
The Raising and Giving Society’s annual fundraising week began on Monday. All through this week there will be a wide range of events and fundraisers going on, including a mystery book sale, cupids’ delivery service and releasing tickets for their upcoming club and societies' ball. Follow RAG on social media for updates: @glasgowrag (Facebook, Instagram).
Nominations have now closed for our Volunteering, Clubs and Societies (VCS) Awards and we loom forward to sharing the shortlist of nominations with you all soon. The winners will be announced on March 9th.
There’s still time to recognise the work of your favourite staff or student reps by nominating them for a Student Teaching Award. Nominations for this close on Monday 27th February at 5pm. You can nominate here: https://bit.ly/STAs2023
The Gilchrist Postgraduate Club
We’re looking forward to a packed line up of events across semester two, including our ever-popular pub quiz, fortnightly knitting for fun sessions, monthly Drag 101 shows, monthly Diversity Quota comedy nights, and live music from the Jazz Society. Also coming up in March, we’re excited to be hosting several shows as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival! Find the full listings here.
Make sure to stay up to date with the latest Gilchrist events by checking our website or following us on social media @TheGilchristPG (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). For more information on the listed events please contact email@example.com. If you are a postgraduate student or SRC affiliated club that would like to put on your own events in the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading. The next update will be out in March/April.