Dear Goldsmiths Politics Department
We are writing to voice our concerns with the department's ongoing administrative errors. As students who have been in the Politics department for at least a year, some of us much longer, and have not at any one time felt a sense of cohesion between the department and its students, we are disappointed with the lack of urgency in addressing the issues we see time and time again.
This has been demonstrated most recently in the manner Second Year students were told to choose modules for Third Year: we were asked to make significant decisions about our academic future within a few days of the booklet being released, and although there were repeated delays and errors committed on the department's behalf, it was made to seem as if these options were a luxury and we were one error away from being placed on any course.
Whilst we can appreciate that these are human errors, the tone in which students were addressed did not extend us the same courtesy. When it comes to essay deadlines and choosing our modules, we are made to feel as if errors will not be excused and that essays being marked and having options is a privilege. We also understand that the department has to deal with a huge number of students, with staff overworked during these times, however we are also aware of better practises in other departments, such as options being discussed in lectures and essay drafts being allowed. It is difficult not to be frustrated when we know that we pay the same amount as other students yet do not receive the same common services.
This has lead to many students feeling increasing pressure around what is already a stressful period – the Politics' Office almost feels like a hostile environment when we approach about our learning. It is not acceptable that students feel this way about our own department, and feel uneasy about dealing with basic administrative issues.
These issues have already been raised by student representatives and our DSCs in meetings with the department with promises of change, and we wish to add our voices by recommending some actions points that could be taken on:
1. Deadlines, options, etc. need to be communicated much better and well in advance for us to feel reassured.
2. More needs to be done to inform students on module options and on changes, if they occur, between years perhaps in the form of an open meeting with the help of the HoD to support students in making educated choices about their futures.
3. Essay deadlines ought to be spaced further apart, with essay feedback given on time (3 weeks, and 5 if needed and communicated beforehand).
4. If the department is at any time understaffed, this ought to be communicated to the students who will be affected to create an environment of transparency and mutual support.
5. When front-facing changes in the department are being planned, students need to be consulted for feedback to ensure our voices are taken into account for what will ultimately be our experience.
We all know that the department does the best it can to help its students, and we hope that our comments will be taken into account and dealt with accordingly with solid resolutions. Once again, we understand the complexities departments face, and we hope that this does not ruin the relationship between staff and students but enhance it.