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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Lanzalaco

AUBSU & NUASU write to Prime Minister

Hi Everyone, please see attached the letter I've written in collaboration with AUBSU to Boris Johnson regarding Mental Health, Graduate prospects and Digital Poverty.

These are most common issues which NUA students are facing at the moment, so I have called on the Government to help step up with more funding and legislation.

Dear Boris Johnson,

Collectively this letter is written by Arts University Bournemouth Students’ Union and Norwich University of Arts Students’ Union.

We wanted to discuss the situation with Arts’ Universities in the UK. Everyone in both our Universities are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure they are COVID secure and a safe place for education to take place, adjusting to last minute changes as quickly as possible. Neither campuses have had a COVID outbreak throughout the whole pandemic. Our institutions have spent thousands on hand sanitiser, correct PPE, extra cleaning staff, materials and regimes to enable us to allow the highest quality of education for our students whilst keeping our community safe. We can do nothing except applaud the hard work they’re putting in behind the scenes, however we are concerned about the impact of staff mental health, as many have started to become fatigued due to the lack of guidance given to the University sector.

However, as two Students’ Union Presidents who voice the experience of our students and are currently on the ground working with student’s day in and day out, we are hyperaware of the issues they’re currently facing and the trauma impacted on them by the pandemic. Not all students are sat at home saving money as they’re having to pay for two sets of rent while their parents have been made redundant, students left alone in halls over Christmas because they were sold an experience that was falsely delivered, and lastly, and most tragically, we have both faced student suicides. We are calling on you to help us with the next pandemic, which is mental health.

1. In England, 174 students died of suicide in 2019 in Higher Education (The Office For National Statistics), how is the government listening to these statistics? What are we going to do to prevent bright, talented, individuals losing their lives?

2. Digital Poverty & Access to Resources

For creative students, digital poverty is not just having a laptop. It’s about being without software such as Adobe Suite and having the ability to run it as well as it does on campus. If students are making 6ft sculptures to visually communicate an important message, how are they meant to do this if they don’t have room at home? What about fashion students who have not had regular access to industrial standard sewing equipment, how are they meant to make a competitive graduate collection and stand out on a global stage?

3. Graduate Prospects for Arts Universities

A huge issue which is underlying student mental health is the worry of not being able to be employed after spending £27,750 on their degree where we have had no opportunity to get placements or experience in their field. Students are terrified.

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