Editorial (Week 2, Summer): Living Below The Line & Marking Boycott

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Belated Happy Easter to you readers, I hope that you all got at least a few days rest over the four week break – unfortunately the reality of ‘holidays’ for university students is that you spend most of the time playing catch-up with course work or revision. But either way, at least the weather was relatively nice!

The biggest news affecting every single one of us at the moment – and which could have big consequences for final years – is the proposed marking boycott. We’ve got plenty of coverage on the potential boycott to keep you up-to-date. The latest news at the moment is that the boycott has been delayed – it was supposed to be in effect today. This is good news, in the sense that hopefully the staff and the University will come to some agreement quickly. It can only be hoped that this conflict between the staff and the University can be resolved, without resorting to using students as a bargaining chip.

Bearing in mind we’ve only got nine weeks of term – thanks to the additional week at the end of Lent term to make sure we didn’t come back to uni over Easter – there’s a lot going on!
Roses is this weekend and it’s set to be massive. SCAN, alongside the other student medias, will be bringing you thorough coverage and live scores on the Roses Live website. Luckily, for those of you that want to access regular non-sport content, the SCAN website will still be accessible over the weekend. Extravs and Grad Ball are all lined up for the end of term, which are always a fantastic way to relax after the stress of exams.

Another great story we’ve covered this issue is to do with the ‘Living below the Line’ challenge which members of LUSU Gives are participating in. The general gist of the challenge – which you can read more about on page six – is to live on less than £1 a day for five days and fund-raise for people who are forced into that situation every single day. If my memory serves me right, last year’s wonderful Carolynne Editor Joe Henthorn participated in the event and wrote a lovely article for us describing his experience. We’re hoping to bring you a blog this year, with daily updates from a participant in order to find out what it’s like to live below the line first-hand. Well done in advance to everybody participating!

Whilst the circumstances students are forced to deal with may not be as dramatic as the ‘Living below the Line’ challenge – since we can usually find the funds for the odd drink and a social life – Nathalie Farrugia has written a follow-up piece to the investigation in to the ‘Cost of Living’ that we printed in the final issue of last term. In a SCAN survey conducted over the Easter holidays, we found that a startling amount of students are often concerned about their finances.

University staff are not the only people concerned with the cost of living and a failure to increase their wages in terms of inflation. Whilst undergraduates are undoubtedly in a better position than postgraduates, as postgrads do not receive any sort of Student Finance loan, it cannot be ignored that undergraduates are also struggling.

I may be wrong here, but it seems Student Finance have failed to increase loans for students on the bare minimum – leaving many genuinely struggling to meet the costs of rent, living and hidden course costs such as textbooks or materials. I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where you’ve received your loan (anywhere between £1,000 – £3,000) and as soon as you’ve paid your rent, or even paid the debt you’ve spiralled into over the course of the three years, you find yourself with no more than a couple of hundred pounds that is expected to sustain you for a ten week term and a four week vacation until the next instalment. Seems a little unrealistic to me. Maybe it’s time for students of all degree courses and level to make a fuss about our financial circumstances. After all, nobody should be priced out of higher education – it should not be a privilege to study further.

Cute animal of the week is my other half’s dog, Fred. Enjoy

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