DMU Failed Us: Angry student group demands change due to “poor teaching standards”

By Alexander Hodgkins-Jones

A group of dissatisfied De Montfort University students have written an open letter as part of a campaign for a change due to what they claim is “poor teaching standards and support” from the university during the pandemic.

The ‘DMU Failed Us’ student movement of more than 250 members posted the scathing open letter to social media on Sunday (NOV22).

The open letter was posted to Twitter and Instagram on Sunday evening (NOV22)

Their campaign began in early October when business and law students discovered almost all of their teaching would be online – after having already moved to Leicester.

DMU has transitioned to blended learning in light of the pandemic, however the students were angered to only receive two hours of face-to-face teaching per term and said they found that online resources were outdated and that blackboard modules were difficult to work with given teaching is now remote.

They say complaints and requests for adjustments fell on deaf ears.

In a statement regarding the open letter, De Montfort University said: “We are always ready to talk through any concerns or complaints with students but in order to try to resolve issues with them, we need students to raise those concerns with us directly.

“We have services set up to do exactly that and we urge any students with complaints about anything relating to Covid-19 to email us at acasupportoffice@dmu.ac.uk and we will look into it as soon as possible. We would also urge any dissatisfied student to follow the student complaints procedure if they do wish to make a complaint.”

If you wish to make a complaint you can do so here.

The campaign began when, on their Facebook page, other students began posting messages from other courses and they realised there were problems across all degrees.

“Many students are too scared to speak out publicly as they feel like the university will penalise them,” said a representative of the group.

“A lot have lost hope that the university will listen, it is sad to see as a university is meant to empower you but DMU have done the opposite over the years. It is clear they do not care.”

They also say students are frequently subject to harassment from lecturers.

“If a student behaved in the way we have seen some lecturers behave they would have been expelled from the university,” said the group’s representative.

DMU Failed Us describes its demands as “very reasonable”, acknowledging that while they would love students to get partial refunds of fees and accommodation costs, it just isn’t realistic.

The group have had many responses from disgruntled students

In the letter the group list three amendments, which include a three-strike system for lecturers who do not treat students with respect, grants for the cost of printing, heating and other materials which would be covered in a ‘normal’ year and a new guided standard for online learning across all modules in line with the gold standard boasted by the university.

They have also demanded more mental health support after receiving many messages from students saying they could not access appointments, which they say should be “easily accessible in this difficult time”.

“We pay full fees so we expect the same standard as previous years would have received,” said a DMU Failed Us spokesperson.

“What would the reasonable man paying £9,000 plus a year expect the university to provide? We believe that when failing to provide up-to-date material, giving us lecture recordings from last year, not providing support for equipment necessary for our education and failing to provide material specified for certain courses the university would not meet the reasonable expected standard and thus be in breach of contract with all those effected.”

One student, who wished to remain anonymous and is not affiliated with DMU Failed Us, said they had experienced bullying from a lecturer.

“I have felt belittled and constantly picked on by [the lecturer]. Sometimes I feel like I want to cry,” they said.

Another was concerned by a lack of financial support and agreed with the letter, saying vital Adobe software was not provided for them due to their older laptop.

“They have tried to put things in place for other students, but that doesn’t help me with a laptop that can’t run the software I need,” they said.

Last week (NOV18) the De Montfort Students’ Union announced a campaign to rename the university due to the anti-Semitic views of namesake Simon De Montfort, a move which the DMU Failed Us members criticize during a pandemic which is costing students.

 “There is not a doubt in our mind that this name change will cost millions. This money could be better spent on scholarships for BAME students and especially people of Jewish descent,” said a representative of DMU Failed Us.

“Our demands are very clear and very reasonable. The university could easily meet them if they wished to.”

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