The Student Room Group

What is the biggest issue you want your chosen uni to stand up for?

This poll is closed

When choosing a uni, what is the biggest issue that you want the uni to stand up for?

Sustainability 13%
Diversity and inclusion (e.g. services for disabled students) 36%
Mental health 38%
Something else (tell us in the thread)14%
Total votes: 118
When you're comparing universities, there might not be that much separating them academically.

You may end up looking at how good their disabled or mental health services are or how sustainable the uni is.

What is the biggest issue you want your chosen university to stand up for?

Let us know :smile:
I want them to provide education and stay in their lane :tongue:
Reply 2
Top priority - Quality of education.
Couldn't care less about what other things the Uni stands up for as long as they provide with what I pay them for - the education that will prepare me for the career of my choice.
Original post by StriderHort
I want them to provide education and stay in their lane :tongue:

I think that would include being concerned about the other issues. Not much point in robotically dishing out 'education' if the students aren't able to receive it due to societal difficulties.
Reply 4
when choosing a university, how would you realistically compare universities 'standing up for' things? is this based on scholarships?
Original post by Fullofsurprises
I think that would include being concerned about the other issues. Not much point in robotically dishing out 'education' if the students aren't able to receive it due to societal difficulties.


They should be attending to those issues as a matter of course imo, I don't really want them to take a stand on them as institutions.
Reply 6
Original post by StriderHort
They should be attending to those issues as a matter of course imo, I don't really want them to take a stand on them as institutions.


yeah i find the question confusing myself. for instance, all universities are required by law to make reasonable adjustments for persons with disabilities; but that isn't the university taking a stand - that's just doing what is required. how does it take a stand?
Original post by StriderHort
They should be attending to those issues as a matter of course imo, I don't really want them to take a stand on them as institutions.

I think some of the marketing they do around these things is basically just proving they adhere to the law, but in any case, why not do more than the law demands as a minimum, if it encourages an atmosphere of inclusion that attracts all students and staff? I'm not clear why they wouldn't do that. Unless this thread is about antiwoke point scoring, by some strange chance.
Reply 8
Original post by Fullofsurprises
I think some of the marketing they do around these things is basically just proving they adhere to the law, but in any case, why not do more than the law demands as a minimum, if it encourages an atmosphere of inclusion that attracts all students and staff? I'm not clear why they wouldn't do that. Unless this thread is about antiwoke point scoring, by some strange chance.


because if the university itself does more than the law requires, then that would be favouritism instead of putting every student on the same playing field. imagine a seesaw.

no i doubt this thread is about being antiwoke, considering who is the op.
Reply 9
Original post by Genesiss
because if the university itself does more than the law requires, then that would be favouritism instead of putting every student on the same playing field. imagine a seesaw.

Not necessarily. The point isn't about the same playing field, it's about equity (put an amputee on the same football pitch as a Premier League player, and is it really equitable?). You cannot provide meaningful equality of opportunity by treating everybody exactly the same and there is reams and reams of research demonstrating this. The law is bare minimum, and in practical terms, sometimes it doesn't even guarantee that.

To answer the question (or rather the question about the question), I think universities probably should be taking some 'stances' on social issues, because they are in large part the places that research them and then drive social change. it has been this way for a long time, despite what the usual 'antiwoke' people would have us think.

In any case, where I work could do some stuff better. They are very wasteful in terms of paper and particularly electricity use; student support for disabilities and health problems is not what it could be in large part to lack of funding and really small teams; students are routinely left out the loop when things go wrong, so transparency could be better
(edited 10 months ago)
Diversity & inclusion and mental health were key things that drew me to the university I attended.

If I were to go back to university now (I've three degrees so this won't happen), the factor I would consider most important is student safety. What measures does the uni have in place to assist and protect students? I got chewed out by some people on my course after an incident on a night out--cornered by a group of lads, thought I'd made a clean escape, but they were waiting at the end of my street the next morning--when they found out I didn't have the unis personal safety app installed. I thought it was only about your wellbeing on-campus, but they will help you wherever you are. And I think all universities should have this in place. During my MSc I was class rep on a course where 75% of the cohort were international students with no family in the UK, so many of them came to me about their problems, and knowing there were resources I could connect them to was a huge weight off.
Original post by Fullofsurprises
I think some of the marketing they do around these things is basically just proving they adhere to the law, but in any case, why not do more than the law demands as a minimum, if it encourages an atmosphere of inclusion that attracts all students and staff? I'm not clear why they wouldn't do that. Unless this thread is about antiwoke point scoring, by some strange chance.


I think they should certainly be proactive on all these matters, but by that logic what unis would deny having these values if asked? my guess is none. So taking a stand seems to imply going yet further to outright champion something in a way that sounds like it involves time and resources, which I would over prefer to see put towards their core purpose like paying staff or something outlandish like that

(Yeah if a uni that had staff that didn't feel the need to strike every year, I'd pick based on that)
Original post by 1582
Diversity & inclusion and mental health were key things that drew me to the university I attended.

If I were to go back to university now (I've three degrees so this won't happen), the factor I would consider most important is student safety. What measures does the uni have in place to assist and protect students? I got chewed out by some people on my course after an incident on a night out--cornered by a group of lads, thought I'd made a clean escape, but they were waiting at the end of my street the next morning--when they found out I didn't have the unis personal safety app installed. I thought it was only about your wellbeing on-campus, but they will help you wherever you are. And I think all universities should have this in place. During my MSc I was class rep on a course where 75% of the cohort were international students with no family in the UK, so many of them came to me about their problems, and knowing there were resources I could connect them to was a huge weight off.

You make a good case. Security in the nearby vicinity of the campus as well. Too many universities gloss over high crime rates near where they are located. The marketing teams want to put their best foots forward, but there probably should be a duty on universities to show all relevant statistics, including such things as how many students get mugged on the way to college.
Reply 13
Original post by gjd800
Not necessarily. The point isn't about the same playing field, it's about equity (put an amputee on the same football pitch was a Premier League player, and is it really equitable?). You cannot provide meaningful equality of opportunity by treating everybody exactly the same and there is reams and reams of research demonstrating this. The law is bare minimum, and in practical terms, sometimes it doesn't even guarantee that.

To answer he questions (or rather the question about the question), I think universities probably should be taking some 'stances' on social issues, because they are in large part the places that research them and then drive social change. it has been this way for a long time, despite what the usual 'antiwoke' people would have us think.

In any case, where I work could do some stuff better. They are very wasteful in terms of paper and particularly electricity use; student support for disabilities and health problems is not what it could be in large part to lack of funding and really small teams; students are routinely left out the loop when things go wrong, so transparency could be better



idk what you mean. shouldn't every student be on the same playing field?

obviously you can't treat every student the same way, which is why the law calls for reasonable adjustments to make every student 'equal' on the seesaw. whether that means 3 weights or 5 weights isn't an issue. going above the law tho is an issue
Reply 14
Original post by Genesiss
idk what you mean. shouldn't every student be on the same playing field?

obviously you can't treat every student the same way, which is why the law calls for reasonable adjustments to make every student 'equal' on the seesaw. whether that means 3 weights or 5 weights isn't an issue. going above the law tho is an issue

That's not what you initially said in the quoted post, you said 'instead of putting them on the same playing field'. The point is that just putting them there is not enough when there are physical and mental barriers with which to contend, but I see from your elaboration here that you do see the need to make things equitable rather than merely equal.

However I am still confused by how you envision 'going above the law' a problem. 'Reasonable adjustment' leaves a lot of wiggle room, and to challenge its fineries is expensive and time consuming.
Reply 15
Original post by gjd800
That's not what you initially said in the quoted post, you said 'instead of putting them on the same playing field'. The point is that just putting them there is not enough when there are physical and mental barriers with which to contend, but I see from your elaboration here that you do see the need to make things equitable rather than merely equal.

However I am still confused by how you envision 'going above the law' a problem. 'Reasonable adjustment' leaves a lot of wiggle room, and to challenge its fineries is expensive and time consuming.

afaik i said going above the law is taking a stance and would therefore be favouritism. that's actually unlawful discrimation.

we're likely on the same page. i could write an essay on what is reasonable adjustments and the equality act 2010.
I think a good university should stand up for:

The right of all students to affiliate, speak, learn and engage in any intellectual topics they wish to, free of harassment or authoritarian diktat and restriction.

Progress in all human fields and the rejection of superstition, ignorance, sloppy thinking and poor morals. (subject to the above)

The right of all to access it if they have the skills needed to do it, including those from all less privileged backgrounds, including but not limited to, economic and social backgrounds.
Reply 17
I used to think as a naive young whippersnapper that university was about open debate, discussion of ideas and growth as a person. It now seems that if you don't believe what your are told to believe or simply want to ask questions, you're likely to find yourself in trouble. Having different perspectives does not mean you feel anymosity to another person or that you won't be friends with those who believe something different to you. What is wrong with having friends with a range of backgrounds and opinions and learning from each other. Where is this now? University is becoming synonymous with a cult-like culture and we should be afraid of that.
(edited 10 months ago)
I am all for diversity, but university places still need to be achieved on merit. However, I am more concerned about the massive increase of international students, your home comes first.
Reply 19
Original post by random_matt
I am all for diversity, but university places still need to be achieved on merit. However, I am more concerned about the massive increase of international students, your home comes first.


Well, first of all, why is it a bad thing? I'm not criticising your opinion, but trying to understand why do you think this is bad?
You mentioned merit, but the application criteria are exactly the same as for the home students.

Secondly, total growth of ~27% over 7 years in pure numbers of international students, or ~5.3% growth YoY. Is this really massive? Compared to what?

Thirdly, the international vs. home student ratio has two parameters in the equation, one of which is the numbers of the home students (which can rise as well as decline) and the second one is the number of international students (which can grow but not necessarily as quick as number of home student in respective years).
For instance, in 2021–22, there were:
Students from the UK: 2,182,560
Students from the EU: 120,140
Students from non-EU countries: 559,825
Total international students: 679,965
Which means in year '21-'22, there were 23.75% of international students, about a quarter. Is this a massive amount?

Next, international student fees are already 2x-3x as high as home students (no access to loans either).
The total gross benefit of the 2018-19 cohort of international students to the UK economy was estimated at £28.8 billion
It's quite a considerable amount of money that I doubt the Universities want to part with.
On top of that, only affluent families can afford to invest in such an enterprise for their kids, especially since we know that 80% of international students come from non-EU countries which are for the most part have less developed economies compared to EU countries.
What does being wealthy mean? Well, yes you have a potential to raise a spoiled kid that doesn't know the value for money, which doesn't necessarily mean they will fall out of school, but for the most part these people would have attended better schools and colleges, had more time for themselves to spent studying and are generally better prepared for challenges ahead (moving countries is a big financial and emotional challenge on its own).
In the end, international students that come to the UK are, if you will, creme de la creme sample of an average student in their home country (for the most part that is).

You also need to remember that not every student that enters the UK for education stays in the UK after they graduate, if that is something of your concern.
Many people come to the UK to acquire the level of education they don't have access to in their home country.
The Home Office's own figures in its “Migrant journey” report tells that of the 152,000 people granted a study visa in 2016, only 17 per cent still held valid temporary leave at the end of 2021. Less than 1 per cent had been granted settlement.

I'm not trying to take a position here, just clarifying that you may need to spend a little more time in defining why is what you mentioned a problem, how big it is, what can be done if you find that it is really a problem to the country, how achievable that solution may be and how willing the education institutions are going to be in going down the path that you suggest.

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