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‘What the hell? Who wrote this?’: VP of Education slams email about graduations

The Students’ Association Sabbatical Officer Fizzy Abou Jawad has said that emails sent from the university to all students will now be vetted by student representatives, ‘because there are so many things the university didn’t articulate properly that led to students feeling so let down’.

Commenting on an email students received about graduations that sparked a petition and widespread criticism, Abou Jawad said ‘The university insinuated they weren’t going to put on in-person graduations, but behind the scenes all they were discussing was ‘when can we put on in-person graduations?’ I was just like, ‘Why wouldn’t you put that in the email?’.

She said that the outrage was sparked by miscommunication, explaining ‘the plan always was to provide an in-person graduation when it was possible. When I read that email, I was like ‘What the hell? Who wrote this?!’’.

Abou Jawad’s term as Vice President overseeing education is coming to an end as the Students’ Association elections are this week (you can vote here: https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/yourvoice/elections/submit/) Speaking on her achievements this year, she said: ‘The thing I’m most proud of is that we managed to get the university to provide the ‘package of measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19’. I know that it does not cover every single student and a lot of students don’t feel like it’s enough, but there was going to be nothing. It was student unions lobbying the Russell Group that got them to change their minds. Even the small things like being able to apply for special circumstances and get coursework extensions without evidence, that’s a huge step.’

When asked why they were unable to secure a no detriment policy for students, she said ‘the Russell Group put out that statement ruling out no detriment, and once that was said, there were no take backs. They said it would have implications for the integrity of degrees, and so we didn’t want a cohort of graduates looking for jobs whose degrees are up for question.’

Abou Jawad also endorsed Ellen Macrae’s (the current Student President standing for re-election) manifesto point about offering lab and studio space to students doing practical degrees for two years after they graduate. She elaborated that ‘An ECA degree isn’t just about what they learn, they’re supposed to finish their four years with a portfolio they can share to get jobs. So I think prolonged access to those spaces is a good step. I do think it’s something the university would be open to, there are just logistical issues. And I know for some accredited courses like Engineering, summer school has been discussed.’

Voting is open in the Students’ Association elections until 17:00 on Thursday 11 March

Image: Edinburgh University Students’ Association