College Council Elections, COVID Choices, Mental Health & Work

Dear Friends,

 

In the wake of the national lockdown announcement, I want to reassure you all that we are working hard to make sure your experience will be as positive as possible, regardless of whether or not you choose to stay in Cambridge. The core message of this email is: put your health first (mental and physical!) and be responsible and look after yourself! We’ll get through this together and we are here to talk and represent you if you need anything!

It’d be really great if you could fill in this quick survey about how College is supporting students and a few other things ❤

 

College Council Elections

Please find the manifestos for Thursday’s College Council elections attached. Hustings will take place for these elections on Wednesday 4th November at 6pm. They will last approximately 30-40 minutes. The election will take place between 07:00 and 22:00 (GMT) on Thursday 5th November. Happy voting!

 

Relationships

From this Thursday at 00:01 couples who do not live together will no longer be allowed to visit each other inside of their houses. They will only be allowed to see each other outside in a distanced manner. Thus, unless you live with your partner when the lockdown starts, you will not legally be able to see them indoors for the duration of the four weeks. Also, please note that cleaners and other College staff will generally not be entering households for the duration of the four weeks and as such College is relying on you to keep your houses clean, as they will not be able to monitor the inside of your household for the duration of the lockdown.

 

Moving Home

Some of you will choose to move home given the effect a lockdown in Cambridge may have on your mental health and welfare, or for other reasons e.g. some international students returning home. If this is the case, there is a process to follow and students should contact their Directors of Studies. We do not presume to know that it is best for each and every student to stay in Cambridge. Please note that the JCSU has been advised that evidence (e.g. a doctor’s note) for leaving Cambridge can be provided to College retrospectively if it cannot be obtained before you have left Cambridge. If you do decide to go home, it is unlikely you will be allowed back this term (because of govt. rules). See the Senior Tutor’s message for more information.

If you do choose to stay, College will do its utmost to support you in the lockdown (and beyond, if you choose to stay during the vacation). We have a comprehensive set of welfare services, self-isolation support and the JCSU is hoping that the library and other College facilities will remain open. Please do not feel pressured to stay or to go, instead, do what is best for you and those close to you.

 

Supporting your mental health and welfare in lockdown and isolation

The JCSU wants to do everything it can, and encourage College to do everything it can, to support the mental health and welfare of our community over the next four weeks and beyond. You can give us feedback about what we can be doing better in the survey above! We know this is really tough – so please get in contact with the Welfare Team, the Welfare Tutors, your DoS or the College Counsellor if you want to talk things through.

 

Work

Many students are struggling with work at the moment, and it is clear that this will get worse with the lockdown coming into effect. The JCSU is pushing College to reduce workloads, but in the meantime please, please feel empowered to ask your supervisors to give extensions, reduce workload or change expectations if you are feeling behind. Often this can be a good way to set your mind at rest on a particular piece of work rather than playing catchup all term. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!

 

JCSU Love,

Aurelio and the Committee ❤

https://forms.gle/pYSc4fuUA75bDPHh9


Online Teaching, Elections, COVID and Ethernet!

Dear Friends,

 

CUSU Online Teaching Survey

CUSU has recently released a pledge that students can sign requesting that all non-essential teaching be moved online. The JCSU has arranged a call with the CUSU President tomorrow to discuss this. We want to hear your views and we’ll represent them at the meeting, so please fill in this very quick form if you have a view, or if you don’t! https://forms.gle/B9ZvW6vn9nXZ6mr9A

 

JCSU Elections

There is an exciting post up for election soon! The deadline for applications is 23:59 (GMT) on Thursday 29th October and the election will take place between 07:00 and 22:00 (GMT) on Thursday 5th November. A virtual hustings for the election will take place on the 1st November. Elections for the JCSU President and the rest of the JCSU will also be coming up this term – so feel free to message/email me or members of the Committee if you’re thinking of applying for a role!

COLLEGE COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE (Michaelmas 2020 – Easter 2021)

The College Council representative will sit on the governing body of College and become a Trustee of Jesus College. You will be part of the decision-making on issues such as the May Ball, Freshers’ Week, Coronavirus planning and the College’s budget. You will sit alongside the JCSU and MCR President, and the MCR College Council Representative. This is an important and interesting role – perfect for someone who is passionate about making the student voice heard. You will see how the College decision-making process works and be able to contribute directly in a place where your view will make a difference.

If you have any questions about this role, please reply to this email or contact Madeleine Olver (current Council Representative).

Please send your manifestos to me at ap2092@cam.ac.uk by Thursday 29th October

 

COVID Response

We are keen to hear your views about the University/College’s COVID response. The JCSU is representing your views on College rules, which were overwhelmingly that the College should not go beyond Government guidance in its rules. I am making this point in every meeting with College and will continue to do so. If you have any questions, queries, gripes or concerns or think any area of College policy is illogical please reply to this email. We will also be pushing College to allow mixing between couples in established relationships, as we note that this is allowed in Government guidance (penultimate paragraph). Thank you to everyone for following the rules so far, we know it is difficult. There is welfare support available as always through the usual channels e.g. JCSU Welfare Officers, Welfare Tutors and the Dean of Chapel.

 

Ethernet Cables

Ethernet cables are available for free from the Porters Lodge – just go in and ask for one! You may need an adapter for them to fit your computer. They are really worth getting as they are much more reliable than WiFi and 10x faster. College is trying to roll-out the new WiFi as fast as possible but this was delayed over the summer due to COVID.

 

JCSU Love,

Aurelio and the Committee


Message on Coronavirus

TLDR: The JCSU wants to support students as much as possible through the pandemic and promote good mental & physical health and welfare. We trust students will use their judgement to make the right decisions about COVID-secure socialising. Please follow the rules and sign up for university weekly testing!

Dear Friends,

I understand that people will have concerns following yesterday's email.  I want to express solidarity with everyone who is finding it tough to adjust to the new rules, especially Freshers and those who do not live with their friendship groups. Our community has been conscious of coronavirus for longer than most in this country, and I know many have worried about it since those early days in January when the students from Wuhan visited College. I know we all want nothing more than to return to normal and have been living under tough restrictions for many months now. I share your frustration about the rules, they are really annoying and they necessarily restrict our ability to socialise closely with other households.

We also have to acknowledge that keeping your distance from those you do not live with is the best way to avoid transmission in College. This does not mean to say you can’t meet your friends, and we are all experienced enough with the pandemic to know which forms of socialising are COVID secure and which ones have a high risk of transmission. I know the autumn weather also makes safer outdoor socialising difficult, and in response College is preparing indoor and outdoor spaces to be used for the purpose of distanced socialising between households, including repurposing the Old Hall to serve as a space for indoor socialising. Another line of defence we have against major outbreaks is testing. To participate in the University’s testing programme, you must give consent using this link: https://www.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus-screening-consentThe JCSU is really keen for 100% of Jesus students to sign up to get a weekly test, so fill in the consent form now!

The JCSU is very conscious that people’s mental health has suffered through lockdown and the restrictions over summer, and to be presented with new sets of restrictions when coming to university makes things even more difficult. This cannot and will not be forgotten. We will be fighting to make sure that an awareness of this is integrated into all College policy going forward. Strong welfare support is available as usual, but we recognise that this is not business as usual. The College will soon be able to share its revised welfare programme which goes the extra mile for students even in these difficult times. As always, you can contact JCSU Welfare Representatives Angus (ah2024) or Honor (ha428) if you’d like a chat. Both the welfare drop-ins and the anonymous messaging service (https://jcsu.jesus.cam.ac.uk/chat-startpage/) continue to be available for students to access. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any suggestions for how you think welfare can operate in the context of the pandemic.

I share your anger and frustration that it feels like nobody in the Government is fighting our corner at the moment. I also totally get that it’s really frustrating to receive conflicting messages from Government and College regulations. Having been involved with the College’s pandemic-response planning since March, I know that they are really trying their best never to be unnecessarily punitive. They are always balancing the need for students to socialise as normally as possible with the very real consequences of hundreds of people from areas with wildly different infection rates coming into close contact. The experience of other universities whose students have already returned has demonstrated the importance of a cautious approach beyond the overall national guidelines, which do not take into account the density and interconnectedness of student populations. I think we also have to appreciate that the experience of care homes has demonstrated how difficult it is to ensure that viral spread remains limited to non-vulnerable age demographics. We must also be conscious of the presence of vulnerable students, staff and members of the wider Cambridge community.

Students deserve to know why College differs from the Government guidance on indoor socialising. The problem with indoor socialising in others’ households is that it is in practice difficult to socially distance properly, particularly without adequate ventilation and regular cleaning. This was why College reluctantly came to the conclusion that it needed to adopt a more cautious approach. I should also make people aware that porters will be doing spot checks on communal areas in households to enforce the College's approach, but will be taking an ‘engage, explain, encourage’ approach in the first instance. If you have any concerns, now or in the future, about how these policies are being enforced, please contact a member of the JCSU or use the anonymous response form.

I am also seeking clarification about the status of shared gardens and different households socialising in them. The rule on gardens outlined in the Master’s email applies only to private gardens, i.e. those which can only be accessed by going through the house.

We really want to listen to your concerns and represent them to College. If you think the rules don’t go far enough, are about right, or go too far, please let us know by using this anonymous form.  The JCSU is meeting the Master tomorrow to talk about this issue, so please make your voice heard and we will represent your views at that meeting. It is our top priority in meetings with College that your student experience, your mental, physical health and welfare are at the forefront of College’s thinking and planning. Having consulted widely with fellow students since the Master’s email yesterday, we are even more aware of these things as major issues that College has to be proactive in addressing. The JCSU will also hold a Town Hall Zoom to get a sense of student views on this issue so that we can best represent them in our discussions with College.

An email is also forthcoming about reporting incidents of assault or discrimination in College during the pandemic. We want College to be a friendly, inclusive, supportive, tolerant and safe community in which diversity is welcomed and celebrated. Behaviour and remarks in conflict with this aspiration should not go unchallenged and unreported. If something happens to you when you're doing something which breaks the rules, you can tell us. The JCSU will ensure that an admission of rule-breaking is not punished if it is in the context of reporting a concern or a complaint. 

Finally, things might get worse before they get better, and the JCSU is prepared for many different eventualities. We want you to know that your health and welfare will always be our first priority. This term will present challenges, but I know that the JCSU and College will make every possible adjustment to ensure that we preserve a safe, rich and rewarding student experience. I know we will get through stronger and I have faith that our community will rise to the challenge and do the right thing. Our number one priority is for college to be a welcoming and friendly environment for students, and we’ll do everything we can to fight for students, their welfare and their mental and physical health.

JCSU love and solidarity ❤️

Aurelio Petrucci - President

Octavia Rooks – Vice-President

Sameer Aggarwal - Secretary

Will Davison - Treasurer

Libby Bryant - Freshers Officer

Jacob Powell - Communications Officer

Sophie Baldwin - Mental Health and Disabilities Officer

Ben Gibson - LGBT+ Officer

Matt Griffiths - Ents Officer

Ollie Dennis - Ents Officer

Honor Abery - Female and Non-Binary Welfare Officer

Angus Harron - Male Welfare Officer

Bobby Mugo - Ethnic and Religious Minority Officer

Jess Molyneux - Women’s and Non-Binary Officer

Zak Coleman - Environmental and Ethical Affairs Officer

Cormac Parks - Access Officer

Heather Jones- Services Officer

Satya Amin - International Officer


Elections, Coronavirus, China and LSWP

Dear Friends,

 

I hope you’re keeping well in these challenging and uncertain times. I hope you’re enjoying your summer (or winter if you’re from that part of the world!) and that you are excited to return back to Cambridge in a mere 7/8 weeks!

 

JCSU Elections

There are two exciting posts up for election this August! The deadline for applications is 23:59 (BST) on Thursday 13th August and the election will take place between 07:00 and 22:00 (BST) on Thursday 20th August. A virtual hustings for the election will take place on the weekend of the 15th August if more than one candidate stands for each position (however, if these dates are not possible for those wishing to stand, alternative dates can be arranged).

MALE WELFARE OFFICER (September 1st 2020 – December 31st 2020)

The self-identifying Male Welfare officer will organise JCSU welfare provision and run welfare events. They also provide contraception and sexual health support; respond to welfare and academic concerns; maintain a good welfare structure in College; raise awareness of welfare and academic affairs concerns; adapt welfare provisions where necessary. In Michaelmas Term they will work alongside the wonderful Honor Abery to ensure that Freshers settle in well and our community stays happy and healthy despite the demands of the pandemic. Since the tenure of this role is one term only, it is a great way to get involved in the JCSU ahead of the whole slate of elections taking place next term!

COLLEGE COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE (September 1st 2020 – August 31st 2021)

The College Council representative will sit on the governing body of College and become a Trustee of Jesus College. You will be part of the decision-making on issues such as the May Ball, Freshers’ Week, Coronavirus planning and the College’s budget. You will sit alongside the JCSU and MCR President, and the MCR College Council Representative. This is an important and interesting role – perfect for someone who is passionate about making the student voice heard. You will see how the College decision-making process works and be able to contribute directly in a place where your view will make a difference. The College Council representative will also be able to attend JCSU Committee meetings.

If you have any questions about any of these roles, please reply to this email or contact Tom Cay (current Male Welfare Officer) or Madeleine Olver (current Council Representative).

Please send your manifestos to me at ap2092@cam.ac.uk by Thursday 13th August. 

 

COVID Planning

The JCSU continues to be involved in finalising College’s plans to ‘reopen’ amid the pandemic. Student representatives are present on the Reopening of College group (RoC) and in many other meetings to discuss the impact of the pandemic and restrictions on student welfare and the student experience. Although many services next year will be delivered in a different way, I hope that most of them will be just as enriching and enjoyable. We are particularly focussed on making sure that student welfare is at the forefront of planning and that Freshers Week is still a great event. If you have any questions about how life might look next term, please look at the FAQs on JNet and if these don’t answer your questions, reply to this email!

 

China Concerns

The JCSU was concerned to hear the news about the College’s relationship with China. Concerns over the financial transparency and academic freedom in our China initiatives are shared by many in our community. We think the China Centre occupies an important role in College, and we are keen to work constructively with College to reform the Centre so that it better represents the values of financial transparency and academic freedom. In the interests of being transparent about what we’re campaigning on, on 9th July the JCSU Committee sent a letter to the Master which called for:

  • A China Centre event on human rights abuses in China.
  • A China Centre event on Hong Kong and the ‘Extradition Bill’.
  • A China Centre event on Huawei and data concerns.
  • Subsequent China Centre events to represent a wider range of views, including those critical of China’s activities or the CCP.
  • Full transparency on the China Centre’s funding, current and historic.
  • A recognition that until now, the funding sources of the China Centre have not been fully transparent.
  • A commitment that Jesus College and organisations within it (such as the China Centre) will not take donations or funding from Huawei - as the China Centre at Oxford University and the Prince’s Trust have done.
  • A full investigation, including student representatives, into the failings of the China Centre to be transparent and seemingly, to uphold academic freedom.

While we wait for a full response from the Master, please know that we take the concern of students from Hong Kong and other groups affected by China’s human rights abuses very seriously and are absolutely committed to making sure that College does the right thing on this issue. If you’d like more information about this issue, or would like to help, please reply to this email!

 

LSWP Internships

The Legacies of Slavery Working Party is a body set up in May 2019 to research and critically consider Jesus’s historic links to slavery, colonial violence and racial science and the legacies of these connections. As part of the LSWP Inquiry, College is funding 8 two-week paid research internships for undergraduate and graduate Jesus students in the term break between Lent and Easter (March-April 2021). Depending on numbers of applicants, in some cases the internships may be cumulated to a 4-week period.

The student interns will undertake research in the College Archives and Old Library, combined with online work with databases and digital collections on each of LSWP’s four research strands: People, Money, Objects, and Ideas. They will be paid £335 a week with meal allowances. The internships are open to all students, from all subject backgrounds. This is a great opportunity to get involved in important and interesting research with a noble goal!

The deadline for application is 5th September 2020. For more details, see the attached document.

Academic Skills Programme

If you benefitted from the academic skills programme this year, please reply to the Writing Coordinator’s email so that it can be renewed and extended in the next academic year!

Very best JCSU love,

Aurelio and the Committee


Update on Plans for Next Term

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to give you an idea of how planning for reopening is happening in College.

There hasn’t been much to write home about from College during lockdown, since everyone’s efforts have been consumed by planning for next term, but as restrictions start to be lifted, we’ll be able to update you about what the reopening of College will look like. College has been putting a huge amount of effort into planning a phased reopening of its services. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on next term is likely to be significant. There are student, Fellow and staff representatives on a College-convened regular meeting looking at changing Government guidance and how it might impact the College.

At the heart of this planning is the student experience and student welfare. JCSU and MCR representatives are speaking up for students in College committees to ensure that, no matter the restrictions next term, life is as normal as possible and impact to students is minimised. College is acutely aware that even two or three disrupted terms represent a big proportion of our time at Cambridge, so we’re working to minimise this disruption!

Almost all of the planning is contingent on different levels of restrictions from the Government, which means (frustratingly!) that most questions about what next term will look like have the answer of “It depends!”, but if you have specific questions – reply to this email and I might be able to give you a rough idea.

The FAQs page on JNET is a really good resource for any queries you may have.

In the meantime, if you have any questions/concerns about next term, the current situation, or anything else, reply to this email! You can also submit anonymously here.

JCSU love,

Aurelio and the Committee


Important Update on Bursaries, Exams and Virtual Jesus!

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all keeping well at the moment. This email is just to update you on some things that are happening and to highlight welfare support which is ongoing!

  1. Bursaries

The Cambridge bursary will still be paid in Easter term whether or not you are resident in College. Students suffering from financial hardship can fill out the financial hardship form as usual. The University has also widened its “Special Hardship Fund” to cover Covid-19 related issues. The cap on applications for this fund has been raised to £3,350 and can be accessed by emailing the Senior Tutor.

  1. Exams

Graham Virgo responded to our email about examination arrangements in Easter Term. He thanked the JCSU for our constructive and thoughtful views. He assured me that all of the messages he has received from students have been read, considered and discussed. We will find out an outline of what has been agreed about assessment on Tuesday which will be followed by communication from each Faculty and Department to students about the details of the alternative assessments. Please get in touch with me if you have any problems with these plans when they are released.

  1. Belongings left in College

You will have heard that rent will not be charged next term. You may be worried about belongings left in your rooms. College has not entered any accommodation to pack up belongings, and will get in touch with anyone before this happens. If this is necessary, belongings will be packed up and stored on your behalf until it is possible for you to return. The same approach will be taken with bicycles. Let me know if you have any questions, but more details are available in the College FAQs.

  1. Welfare Support

A reminder that certain members of the JCSU are holding a weekly drop-in session on Google Hangouts. Call us or message us on jcsuvideolink@gmail.com. The different members’ times are as follows:

   Aurelio Petrucci         (President, for general queries regarding the JCSU or College): Sundays, 4-5pm BST

   Honor Abery              (Female and Non-Binary Welfare): Wednesdays, 1-2pm BST

   Tom Cay                     (Male Welfare): Fridays, 9-10pm BST

   Sophie Baldwin          (Disabilities and Mental Health): Mondays, 5-6pm BST

It goes without saying that if, for whatever reason, these times are inconvenient, I am sure any of us would be able to arrange an alternative time to video call! You can also email any of us at any time, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

You can also find a document which lists the welfare resources you can access at this time herePlease check up on your friends!

 

Virtual Jesus

This exciting development will help Jesuans stay connected to college from far and wide. Do you have any ideas about how to bring the college together in socially distant times? Are you considering working in public engagement, media or journalism?

Jesus needs you to be on the content team for Virtual Jesus, the new online interface spearheaded by the Master aimed at keeping our community thriving despite being physically separated. As part of the content team, you’ll work with a team of staff, students and fellows to design content, decide weekly/monthly themes, suggest one-off events and recruit contributions from the wider Jesus community. If you would like to get involved or if you have any questions then please email me at ap2092@cam.ac.uk by tomorrow evening (Tuesday 31st March). It’s a great opportunity to help in a crisis!

Finally, the FAQs on Covid-19 are a very helpful resource which will answer a lot of your questions! Find them here: https://jnet.jesus.cam.ac.uk/jnet/covid-19/student-faqs-about-covid-19

 

All the very best,

Aurelio and the JCSU team

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus