Reps Breakfast. 22 Nov 2018
Thanks everyone who came along – your feedback and questions as reps help a lot to know what is happening. Whether it is rumours or specific issues, what you raise always prompts ideas and actions we can work on.
These are some notes on issues that came up today, which others might find useful. Towards the end of term we will send out a form for reps end-of-term-1 reports. That will be a more systematic place to get across anything you have been up to, or concerned about so far. The reports will feed into items the S.U can raise at the committee level.
A version is available for reps to add comments and additions, in the reps shared folder
Languages: there has been negative comments about the loss of the LEP, and confusion about what is in it’s place, and concerns that students had a false impression about what to expect when accepting the offer from SOAS. The Language Centre update on the 2018/19 ‘Transition Year’ for the LEP is here: https://www.soas.ac.uk/languagecentre/lep/
Please share information on whether you think students have been denied something that was promised.
EAL, School of East Asian Languages: a core course (Classical Chinese) is said to be ending from next year. It was a core course. No EAL rep was present, but if they have any knowledge please get in touch.
There are lots of rumours about cuts, and threats to course. Please tell the SU about any of these so we can also get to the bottom of what is happening.
Drop-out rates: a couple of reps mentioned they felt a lot of students had dropped out. In the first four weeks they don’t formally count as ‘dropped out’, so the recording of numbers would show in terms of funding rather than student numbers.
To know more detail of the picture in your department you should raise at department meeting.
Teaching hours: a rep said they were getting 1 hour of teaching in a course that used to be 2 hours.
Anytime this happens please ask your convenor if there has been a change, and also inform the SU. Things to know, is it tutorials or lectures being shortened? Have you checked the advertised contact hours?
Back-to-Back classes - No Breaks!! A student described having back-to-back teaching for 6 hours without a break. This is rare, and is a timetabling issue to raise with your course convenor. Questions to check - does it affect others? (Ask around, and raise with department meeting). If you have a choice regarding tutorials, can you change one to another day?
Rep Elections: some departments were expected to run their own rep elections, but confusion lead to names being listed very late. The SU will review rep elections, and look to improve the process.
Study Tours and other financial concerns: Students in programmes that offer optional trips abroad shared concerns of students. There are lots of hidden costs to studying – beyond the fees students can find books, printing, and trips even if not compulsory still adds up. Obviously students without wealth to lean back on can miss out on opportunities, so we talked about what may be available.
As a general note …
the SU Working Class Officers lead up on campaigns from the SU. Reps can also share links to funding options. Also, it could be worth asking staff who collate funding, scholarships etc, what is available.
Library: There were complaints about the staff turning students away if they had packaged food in their bag. Also, the opening hours not being 24hours.
There is a comments box in the library which they do read and post replies up! If reps would like, the union could arrange a meeting with reps and library management, to raise anything and everything about library services – leave a comment if you want that to happen!
The canteen: comments about expensive not-good food. The canteen is now in-house, and going through transition. Any complaints like this, flag up and the union will keep giving feedback.
By the way, the SU shop has also been bringing in new suppliers, so hopefully you can find something good there!