University Executive Board minutes - 26 November 2020



26 November 2020


Professor K Lamberts (KL) (in the Chair) Professor J Derrick (JD), Professor S Fitzmaurice (SF), Professor S Hartley (SH), Professor M Hounslow (MJH), Ms H Fraser-Krauss (HFK), Ms J Jones (JJ), Professor C Newman (CN), Professor D Petley (DNP), Dr T Strike (TS), Mr R Sykes (RS), Professor G Valentine (GV), Professor M Vincent (MV), Professor C Watkins (CW)

In attendance:

Mr I Wright (IW); Mrs T Wray (TW); Ms H Postles (HP)




Mr D T Swinn (DTS)/Dr E Smith (ES)

  1. Students Union Proposals

    • KL provided an update on discussions with the SU in which he had fed back UEB’s proposals with respect to supporting students affected by the Government’s decision to mandate that students returned home for Christmas before the end of term. Those proposals had been considered and agreed by UEB on 24 November in response to a letter from the SU President and had taken into account the issues facing different groups of students, the University’s financial position, wider risks and benefits.
    • It was reported that the SU regarded the additional £3m funding (which could include support for rent) that the University proposed making available through a dedicated fund, and additional support for students remaining in Sheffield over Christmas, as delivering on a pre-existing demand. The SU had made a new, more targeted proposal, whereby students in University accommodation would receive a rent rebate for the period at the end of the first term when they were not in occupancy (c. 2 weeks) and the SU would campaign for a Government initiative to support students in private accommodation.
    • UEB discussed the SU proposal, noting the costs involved.
    • The following additional points were noted:
      • The SU proposals related only to the pre-Christmas period and it remained unclear how students might be affected by Government policy, guidance or requirements regarding the new term, in January 2021. At present, teaching was mandated by Government to resume in the New Year, with a differential impact on students in different disciplines.
      • The SU proposal related to the University’s landlord-tenant relationship with students in University residences, in response to a Government decision.
      • If agreed, the rebate would be delivered by discounting future invoices, to minimise the administrative burden.
      • Although the specific nature of any risks around students’ returning to University studies in January was unknown at present, to not respond positively to the SU proposal was likely to increase those risks.
      • The University would continue to manage the £3m fund and so could ensure that funds were spent appropriately on cases of the greatest need.
    • UEB agreed to accept the new SU proposal, which would be implemented and reported to the SU. It was also agreed that the separate Covid support fund should be retained, and that this should remain at £3m as previously agreed and discussed with the SU.

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