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Opinion: A response to "An Audience with University Leadership"

After "An Audience with University Leadership", students felt more frustrated than ever. This article aims to give a voice to those students and open a discussion on how we can all make University a better place. If you or anyone you know need help or support don't hesitate to contact us. Let's keep working together as a community to create change.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and those students who shared their experience with the author.

Ever since March of 2020, nothing has been the same. Country by country, everything started shutting down and from one day to the next we couldn’t leave our homes or see our loved ones. That has been the reality of the pandemic for many of us, but I don’t need to explain to you, because unfortunately, it’s still happening. The problems from this horrifying situation continues, students across universities have found that we have been forgotten or have been a second thought to most decisions along the way.

The student’s union (CUSU) recently gave us the opportunity to share our discontent as students with the leaders of Coventry University. It was a chance to have our voices heard and take our concerns directly to those who were making these decisions affecting all our lives. What was painted to us as our shot ended up being more empty words and little to show for all our problems.

As student media, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to get student’s voices out there. This isn’t over, we aren’t happy, and we want change. We have contacted the University for comment and are hoping that, with this article, we will be heard, and it will be clear that we all want to work together to make University a better place for everyone. CUSU is here to support you and we hope that this will inspire other students to come forward with their feedback whether that be positive and negative. The following quotes are from students across all the schools that attended the meeting and some that didn’t. They are few of the many individual students voicing their opinion and advocating for change.

Third Year Computer Hardware & Software Engineering

We’re getting less than half of the teaching hours that we were getting in previous years. We’re not allowed to use most of the university facilities. We’re not using any of the lab equipment, yet as an international student, I’m paying a higher tuition fee than I did in my previous years.

 

Second Year Disaster Management & Emergency Preparedness

The pandemic has been a traumatic experience for all of us as it has deeply affected my mental health. Although the uni has facilities and messaging service we can message. Not everyone is confident to take the first step. That’s something that they should take into consideration.

 

Second Year Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness

From what I watched I think they answered selected questions fairly well, but it was obvious to me that they are waiting for the government to respond in regard to University fees. The government needs to take responsibility and provide support for Universities and better communication with students. Clearly, students have had mixed experiences in regard to standard to education this year, the MEQ results were quoted a lot throughout saying they had 'done something right', but the chatbox portrayed a different result.

 

First Year Games Art

The handling of questions at the audience was evasive and poor. I'm incredibly frustrated with how they're treating us – considering we’re paying customers essentially.

 

Final Year Psychology

Personally, I thought that the staff were evasive, at some points blaming students and creating excuses for their actions over the years. They admitted that they have got it wrong on many occasions, but never apologize nor offered any way of rectifying their mistakes.

 

Third Year Computer Science

I found the response of the executive team to be disappointing. They were very evasive when answering questions on some of the key issues affecting students. There was a suggestion from one member of the team that the standard of delivery had improved in past years which I found rather absurd given the situation.

 

Second Year International Disaster Management

I’m concerned about the lack of automatic extensions for the second and third lockdowns, because it’s inconsistent; we had extensions during the first one.

 

Placement Year Engineering

They justified being better than the Open University by listing labs and workshops, that we can't access, proving the point of the question. I think the FB live resulted in students in the comments section spamming the same things and not saying constructive things either didn’t help at all. It was frustrating to watch both sides.

 

Final Year Psychology

The effects of this on student’s finances and mental health is beyond imagination. The questions at the event were not answered effectively, and most of the information provided was based on accessibility, which most of us don't have right now.

 

Second Year Honda Aviation Management

We are paying full tuition fees this year for hardly any faces-to-faces teaching and we should be entitled to a refund. It’s like our opinions weren’t heard or taken notices of.

 

School of Arts and Humanities

Though no one’s fault (it’s a global pandemic I think we all understand that by now) the university has been and is still unable to provide us with the facilities, experiences, and services we signed up for. I feel as though CU leadership avoided many obvious issues and have just repeated the same things since the beginning of their response to the pandemic. Their ‘solutions’ are with the view that one size fits all, the university offers a wide variety of courses all with their own unique experiences to offer and all have been let down in one way or another.

 

Third Year Economics

I was disappointed that the meeting seemed overly prepared, giving the members of staff a long time to think of responses to the questions.

 

Third Year History

I personally think there should be some reduction in fees for this year simply because the level of teaching is nowhere near what we experienced pre-COVID. And that's not a reflection on my lecturers or the department because I believe they're all doing everything they can. But the lack of contact hours is severely detrimental to learning.

 

First Year Master’s in International Events Management

I feel like that [event] was not very explanatory for students and it felt a lot like they were trying to justify their actions, which they definitely should, but they didn't really do it. They kept saying we are paying tuition fees that are only 2/3 of the maximum in the UK and that Coventry University offers a lot of services that many universities don't offer like our library

But we are not using these services, so their explanation was not appropriate ...

It’s very hard and demotivating nowadays to continue having classes and being at University giving our best and feeling like the university does not understand our side

 

These are only a few voices of the many who feel weren’t heard. We want to know your experience, whether good and bad, if you’d like to share your experience, let us know at studentmedia.su@uni.coventry.ac.uk. Let’s keep working together for change!

If you're experiencing issues academically, financially, or personally there are number of avenues available to you:

 

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