Oxford University Student Union has released its annual report on their work this year, including what they have achieved and the reflections of the Sabbatical Officers Becky Howe, Cat Jones, Emily Silcock, Nick Cooper, Lucy Delaney and Alasdair Lennon.
The team highlighted four key areas for improvement. They reported a disparity in student experience between colleges with regards to “suspension, student welfare and workload”. The team also expressed concerns about neglect of graduates, who represent 47% of Oxford’s students and rising; an increase in graduate student numbers should only come with a “commensurate increased in crucial provisions”. The needs of trans and non-binary students, OUSU claim, need more attention, and Oxford University should ensure its impact on the wider oxford community is positive.
OUSU set out three main targets for the next academic year; firstly, to ensure welfare is a key priority across colleges, secondly, to encourage successors to continue setting out campaigning priorities in ‘Visions’ to OUSU’s main areas of work, and thirdly, to continue improving engagement and representation of graduates, who have “less college involvement and fewer safety nets.”
The team highlighted the achievement of the OUSU Student Advice Service; 2016 saw an increase of 90% in the students supported, and an online web chat service was launched. Attendance of drop in sessions has also increased by 33% and the Service gave out Living Out talks to 20 colleges reaching 1,000 students.
For the first time OUSU created an online Alternative Prospectus with 30,000 flyers advertising the website distributed to 6,000 state schools. 15,000 were also circulated at University events.
OUSU also reported it has have secured the provision of lecture recording technology for all departments, to be centrally funded, from Michaelmas 2016, through their network of 623 course representatives.
In Freshers’ Week 2015 sexual consent workshops were available in 30 JCRs, and available in 20 MCRs, compulsory in 10. OUSU trained over 450 students to facilitate the workshops.
Becky Howe, the outgoing president of OUSU told Cherwell, “’I’m really proud of everything OUSU has achieved for students this year. We’ve written a report on student welfare, mental health and support, based on our survey which 5,900 of you took. It will inform policy for the uni on mental health, workload and much more. We’ve won lecture recording, which will be centrally funded and available for all departments from Michaelmas. We’ve trained hundreds of students to facilitate consent workshops, to run their common rooms, and to be course reps.”
“Our campaigns have done great things this year – particular shout out to our newest campaign, SusCam – and we’ve totally changed the structure of OUSU so that from Hilary term next year, campaigns and common room reps will be the executive committee of OUSU. This is just a snapshot of what we’ve done: it’s been an amazing year and its been such an honour to be president.”