The sabbatical officers at Oxford SU have released an official response to the uncertainty over Trinity returns for students. This comes after a range of efforts from the student body, including petitions and letters to MPs, to reach greater clarity on the situation for students next term.
In their statement, the sabbatical officers condemned the government’s handling of the situation: “This government has continued to ignore students and have failed to include Universities in the government roadmap. This is unacceptable. The government has broken their promises to provide more guidance on student return and has instead cancelled announcements leading to incredible amounts of stress and uncertainty for students that could have been avoided had university students not been repeatedly ignored.”
They went on to highlight the guidance around current exemptions, and suggested that students should be the ones to make decisions on whether the exemptions apply to them. “We believe that students alone should be able to make their own decision about whether or not an exemption applies to them.”
“We urge colleges to look favourably on requests to return made by students as we believe all students should be permitted to return to their accommodation if they feel they fall under the existing exemptions.” The SU also highlighted the “uneven implementation” of government policy across colleges.
The SU has joined with the UUK, Student Minds, and NUS’ open letter, alongside contacting Michelle Donelan, the Minister for Universities. St Edmund’s Hall student, Sophie Richardson, has created a document collating the existing petitions, featuring templates for letters that can be sent to MPs, Michelle Donelan, and Kate Green, the Shadow Education Secretary.