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Oxford political societies respond to online learning until the 17th of May

Daisy Aitchison reports on the political response across Oxford to the government's decision to keep learning online for many subjects until May 17th.

Oxford University’s political societies have responded to the government’s decision not to resume in person teaching for students until at least the 17th May. A statement published by Oxford University Labour Club said the decision was ‘an outrage’ and that the government should “rethink their decision” not to allow all students to return to university for the start of term.

The Oxford University Liberal Democrats said that they “wholeheartedly oppose the Tory government’s nonsensical plans, according to which going to the pub is fine but going to a tutorial is not” adding that “we are in agreement with OULC that it is unfair to get students to justify their return.”

The statements come following the government’s announcement earlier in the month which stated that “providers should support the return of students where necessary to support the continuation of their studies, for example, where students do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities or study space, where students need to return for health or safety reasons or where there is concern for a student’s mental health or wellbeing”. This means that Oxford students need the agreement of their college before they can return to university for Trinity term.

Explaining their opposition to the proposals, Oxford University Labour Club said that “we stand in solidarity with students who have been overlooked by the government yet again. It is an outrage that, with just days left until the start of term, this decision has been leaked rather than announced.”

The OULC went on to say that “the argument that a full return might cause a spike in cases has no basis in evidence’ and that ‘being forced to justify their mental health at a time when everyone is struggling is unnecessary and unfair.”

The president of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats, Asher Weisz, said: “We at OULD wholeheartedly oppose the Tory Government’s nonsensical plans, according to which going to a pub is fine but going to a tutorial is not. We are in agreement with OULC that it is unfair to get students to justify their return. All students should be allowed to return as soon as possible.”

“With cases so low and the rest of the country slowly opening up, the Government can afford to let all students back, especially since statistics suggest that most students are already in their university accommodation. Boris Johnson should invest more time in making sure that return is as safe and orderly as possible rather than in trying to prevent it. OULD will continue to advocate for the right of all Oxford students to come back to the city we love.”

Oxford University Conservative Association has been contacted for comment.

Image Credit: Tejvan Pettinger / CC BY 2.0


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