More than 850 Sheffield students have signed a petition calling on the University to implement a ‘safety net’ policy, less than six hours after it was set up.

The petition was set up on Change.org this afternoon (Friday 27 March), and is addressed to both the University of Sheffield and the Students’ Union, and at the time of writing has been signed by 852 people.

It calls on them to introduce a ‘safety net’ policy, which would mean that students who qualify to progress to the next year of their degree, or graduate, would do so with at least their average grade so far in the year, or with a better grade depending on results in summer assignments.

This is similar to a policy which was recently brought in at the University of Exeter, and indeed the organiser of the petition says theirs was adapted from similar petitions doing the rounds at other universities in the UK.

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It has been set up in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as well as 22 teaching days having been lost due to strike action during the course of this academic year, considering the impact this has on students’ mental health, their access to resources, and having missed a number of practical workshops, lectures and seminars.

The Students’ Union has expressed support for the petition, saying that they have suggested similar ideas to the University before, and will take this to them for further discussions, as the petition requests.

“We’re really supportive of students setting up this petition, and when we found out about the ‘safety net policy’, our entire Officer Team agreed that it is a good idea and that we are 100 per cent supporting it,” Jake Verity, SU President, told Forge Press.

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“Our Education Officer, Charlie already mentioned this policy to the University when it was being set up, but now we know more about it we agree that it’s a fantastic idea. “

“Our SU Officer Team are very happy to amplify the voice of students on this petition, and to take this to the University for the benefit of our students.”

The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-sheffield-safety-net-policy-to-be-implemented-at-the-university-of-sheffield

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