Message from AUTSA

Monday 11 May

Tēnā koutou,

 

As the student leaders of Auckland University of Technology Students’ Association (AUTSA), we represent over 28,000 students from a diversity of backgrounds, cultures and fields of study. All of whom have been affected by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, to one degree or another.

 

Firstly, we would like to acknowledge and thank the New Zealand government, and political leaders of all colours, for your leadership and message of unity and compassion in this difficult time, we truly are all in this together.

 

We would like to bring to your attention the concerns facing our students, relating to the financial support available. Whilst we are truly grateful for the increase in study link funding in the Tertiary Student Support Package, we also acknowledge that this package is both a loan and insufficient.

 

StudyLink alone is rarely sufficient to cover a student’s living costs, many of our students would expect to take on part-time employment to help fund their studies. A result of the economic impact of Covid-19 is many of these employment options are no longer available.

 

For our domestic students the result is a harsh choice between continuing to struggle, incurring increased debt as a result, or discontinuing our studies and seeking the more generous benefits from WINZ. Our students from overseas face the cruel reality that there is no safety net for them.

 

Students from less advantaged backgrounds already find undertaking tertiary education to be a tough choice between financial security and further education. The pressure caused by this crisis, is serving to drive this group away from tertiary education.

 

Unfortunately, these socio-economic factors disproportionately affect our Maori and Pasifika students. At AUTSA we strongly believe that access to tertiary education is the path to greater equality and a more prosperous society for all.

 

Whilst we understand that many students may take a break in their studies, returning in future under a more favourable economic circumstance, tertiary education capacity is not unlimited. For every 100 students who defer now, there will be 100 fewer spots for the next generation.

 

We are aware that the country subsidises the education costs for our domestic students, and as such it costs more to support us in education than support to us on WINZ. However, as a country we need to ensure that we have a skilled and educated workforce to lead us out of this time of crisis, we must take action now to avoid a future skills shortage.

 

There are many options available for Aotearoa to support our student community; from direct funding models such as the student grants previous generations benefited from; to supporting tertiary education providers current financial hardship funds.

 

As the current students of New Zealand, we ask you now to invest in the future. Supporting our diverse student community, is supporting a diverse and equitable future for the country. We ask the Government to provide a prompt and easily-accessed financial support package for tertiary students studying in New Zealand.

 

As the students of today we implore you to enable us to grow into the leaders of tomorrow.

 

Ngā mihi nui

 

Sisifa Lui, AUTSA President

On behalf of the students of Auckland University of Technology

 AUTSA Statement on Student Accommodation 

Thursday 7 May

Kia ora e hoa mā,

AUTSA understands that tertiary students have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and we are committed to ensuring that all AUT students are being supported during this time. 

Today we would like to highlight our students who have accommodation contracts at Wellesley Student Accommodation (WSA) and Akoranga Student Village (ASV). We want to acknowledge the stress they are going through. 

Many of these students have experienced difficulties during the past few weeks, affecting their financial and emotional wellbeing. When the government lockdown was announced, many were forced into a snap decision about where to isolate. Many chose to isolate with their family and are now finding themselves paying rent both at home and at their hall of residence.

The Student Representative Council has posed the following to AUT:

1) Why is this happening?

2) To what ends shall this continue?

Both accomodation facilities at Wellesley Student Apartments and Akoranga Student Village are run by Campus Student Villages (CSV). AUT have requested consideration from property owners in recognition of the impact of COVID-19, which has so far been rejected. 

AUT accommodation facilities remain open, with increased service and support. In addition to ensuring those remaining in university accommodation are catered for, AUT has offered students who do not wish to continue staying in accommodation with the option to cancel their contracts early. 

I’ve gone home temporarily but what financial support can I get? 

For those who are temporarily away from the accommodation, unable to return until the alert level lowers, AUT has issued a $60 per week discount for utilities to be credited to accounts this week. Additionally, an AUT student financial assistance fund is available for any students facing financial challenges. 

How do I apply for financial assistance?

Need assistance with urgent unpaid bills, rent, equipment or food? You can apply for a Hardship Fund by clicking the following link and filling out the COVID-19 Student Support Form: https://sdw.aut.ac.nz/support-services/covid-19-support-for-aut-students/covid-19-support-form 

Going through some personal stuff that’s affecting your wellbeing or your ability to study and do well academically? 

AUTSA continues to provide our Advocacy Team who are available to help you with these applications. If your wellbeing, accommodation or employment has been impacted recently, then please contact us at advocacy@aut.ac.nz 

Find out more info on Student Accommodation via the FAQ’s website for students:

https://sdw.aut.ac.nz/study/uni-from-your-bubble-get-ready-to-study-from-home/frequently-asked-questions-for-current-aut-students

The Education Pastoral Care Amendment Act, which came into effect after the death of a student in a Christchurch hall of residence. This states "Providers are required to support the safety and wellbeing of students and improve the consistency of standards in student accomodation". Universities have a very strong balance position. CLV has claimed nearly a million dollars in Government wage subsidy. Our accommodation students deserve more compassion. 

You can help us demand accountability, by emailing residential.services@aut.ac.nz and to cc autsa@aut.ac.nz

Ngā mihi nui,

AUTSA Student Representative Council 

 

Message from AUT

Tuesday 5 May 

Some Schools and Faculties use a varied naming convention when referring to Study Guides.  Please find detail following (maybe worthwhile to post this on your FB):

 

Faculty of Health & Environmental Sciences  - Paper Booklets

Business Economics & Law – Study Guides

Culture & Society – Paper Handbooks & Study Guides

Te Ara Poutama – Paper Handbooks

Design & Creative Technologies – Paper Guides, Programme & Major Handbook, Handbook, Course manual, Work Schedule, Teaching Schedule, Syllabus, Study Guide

Communications Studies departments use the full Blackboard site for each paper – Communication Studies Student Home is for policy and support (common across papers), and then they’ll have a Paper Overview section, Timetable, Assessments, weekly Content (sometimes still referred to as Lectures),Resources for supplementary material and ‘how to’ guides, a Discussion Board and so on – so in essence the whole Blackboard site is the hub for all content relevant to the paper and there is no once study guide but all the material is there.

 

AUTSA Statement on Student Accommodation

Monday 4 May

Kia ora, AUTSA has heard concerns from our students in university accommodation, reflecting the financial pressure being placed on all of our students, whether living at home, in private rentals or university accommodation.

 

Your student representatives have brought these concerns to AUT, specifically to ask what AUT can do to support our students at this time. We are listening and we will continue to listen, so please send us your opinions and feedback.

 

AUT residential villages remain open, with increased service and support including free meals to residents who chose to stay on-site during the lockdown period. In addition to ensuring those remaining in university accommodation are catered for, AUT has offered students who do not wish to continue staying in accommodation with the option to cancel their contracts early.

 

I’ve gone home temporarily but what financial support can I get?

For those who are temporarily away from the accommodation, unable to return until the alert level lowers, AUT has issued a $60 per week discount for utilities to be credited to accounts this week Additionally, an AUT student financial assistance fund is available for any students facing financial challenges.

 

How do I apply for financial assistance?

Need assistance with urgent unpaid bills, rent, equipment or food? You can apply for AUT’s Hardship Fund by clicking the following link and filling out the COVID-19 Student Support Form: https://sdw.aut.ac.nz/support-services/covid-19-support-for-aut-students/covid-19-support-form

 

Going through some personal stuff that’s affecting your wellbeing or your ability to study and do well academically?

AUTSA continues to provide our Advocacy Team who are available to help you with these applications. If your wellbeing, accommodation or employment has been impacted recently, then please contact us at advocacy@aut.ac.nz

 

Find out more info on Student Accommodation via AUT’s FAQ’s website for students: https://sdw.aut.ac.nz/study/uni-from-your-bubble-get-ready-to-study-from-home/frequently-asked-questions-for-current-aut-students

 

We understand that these are challenging times for all our students, and in addition to working with AUT to ensure support for those in university accommodation, we will be petitioning the government to ensure there is sufficient support for all our students.

 

Ngā mihi nui,

 

Sisifa Lui, AUTSA President and your Student Representatives

Please don't hesitate to contact AUTSA for assistance. Email us: autsa@aut.ac.nz

Statement from the AUT Academic Director

Monday 4 May

AUT are giving students considerable leeway to complete assessments. This includes the Special consideration requests as well as the five day leeway. The university will be using STC grades when a result cannot be finalised.

Message from AUTSA

Wednesday 29 April

Kia ora AUT, we hope you are all keeping well, and keeping connected whilst in our bubbles. Despite the nation-wide lockdown and the temporary closure of the university, work did not stop for AUTSA. Your student representative, and our support staff have been working hard behind the scenes, and often in front of the camera, to continue to support students through this difficult time. Here’s a brief rundown on what the AUTSA team have been working on.

Advice and Advocacy

AUTSA expanded our Advice and Advocacy Team in anticipation of the higher demand, and throughout the lockdown have been continuing to support students with issues such as tenancy disputes, academic appeals and disciplinary hearings.

In addition to being the face of our ‘Ask a Stupid Question’ sessions, where we attempt to answer the difficult questions facing students today, Tom, our Advocacy Team Leader has been meeting with AUT on a daily basis, to ensure that the university understand the impact that this lockdown is having on our students.

Foodie Godmother

After a record number of students were helped by Foodie Godmother in March, a brief pause has been forced upon us by the lockdown. The team has taken this time to regroup and develop a plan for aiding our students whilst in isolation. Foodie Godmother will be back in May, waving her wand over your pantry.

#unitedapart

How do you have an event during isolation? AUTSA created a student-led community where we could all stay engaged, with Watch Parties, Tik Tok challenges, memes and more. Huge thanks to our events team, volunteers and club leaders for their involvement, a community is nothing without its people.

Sports and Recreation

AUTSA has just appointed our new Recreation Engagement Coordinator, Anu. Until we can get back to uni and compete in person, Anu will be helping keep you entertained and active online, check her Ultimate Challenge for May, first up- Trick Shot Challenge.

Debate

Our student magazine now has a new editor, Rebecca. Rebecca really hit the ground running with her first issue released last week. Debate has a really exciting future, as we start to move more content online, and explore the issues that matter to you.

Representation

When we started this year, we knew we wanted more regular contact with AUT, more platforms from which to give voice to your concerns and champion your cause, but we never expected this. Your student representatives now meet with AUT staff on a near daily basis, from academic committees to communications, from financial support to online learning provisions.

Beyond AUT, we have been in contact with national media, the New Zealand Union of Students Associations (NZUSA), and will be writing to government to express our concerns for the financial impact on our students.

With the semester returing, and starting online learning, we are very aware that the work does not stop here.

We hope to see you all soon, in the meantime keep well and stay #UnitedApart

 

Ngā mihi nui,

 

AUTSA

Message from AUTSA SRC

Tuesday 21 April

 

Mōrena AUT, 

 

Have any questions about continuing our studies online?

Check out the Teaching and Learning updates here.

 

We’ve been working hard with AUT to ensure we can get information out to you. AUT are now finalising Study Guides for all of us, including timetable information which will be available at the online Orientation this Thursday 23rd April. 

 

Find out what support is available for our Students here. 

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact AUTSA for Assistance via Email: autsa@aut.ac.nz  

 

Ngā mihi nui, 

 

Sisifa Lui, AUTSA President and your Student Representatives 

Update on what Level 3 means for

students' studies at AUT

Friday 17 april

Following on from yesterday’s Government announcement, AUT has decided our learning and teaching for the remainder of Semester One will be mainly online. This is to avoid disruptions from moving between online and on-campus teaching for our students as much as possible.

There’s some potential under Level 3 that some learning and teaching activities could be restored, and we’re working out what that might look like. We will let students know as soon as we can. We’re expecting a firm direction from the Government on Monday indicating whether we may move to Level 3 or remain in Level 4 a while longer.

You can visit AUT' FAQ’s for more about learning and teaching during COVID-19 https://aut.nz/UpdatedFAQs

Message from AUTSA 

Thursday 9 April

Kia ora koutou,

We hope you are all staying safe and well in your bubbles and able to stay connected, #unitedapart.

 

Many of you will by now have seen the National Student Action Plan on COVID-19 that was sent to all Chief Executives and Vice Chancellors of New Zealand Universities and Polytechnics recently, prepared by NZUSA (New Zealand Union of Student Associations).

 

Whilst AUTSA was not included in the drafting of the letter, we were recently invited by NZUSA to become signatories.

 

After very careful consideration AUTSA has declined to become a signatory of the letter. Whilst we share many of the concerns, and broadly agree with the points raised, as the Student Representatives Council, we recognise that we are being asked to speak for a large and diverse body of student opinion.

 

This being said, as a student body, we find strength in our diversity, and fully support our brothers and sisters in our clubs, who have chosen to add their voice to that of NZUSA. Our common goal is the wellbeing of our students, while our opinions may vary, we will fight to ensure all are heard.

 

We feel there are a number of important issues, directly affecting our student population, not addressed in this letterfrom NZUSA, including but not limited to specific mention of the unique concerns of our International and Postgraduate communities, or the understandable worries of students with medical concerns.

 

AUTSA will continue to campaign to ensure these concerns are addressed by AUT, and we are confident that by working in partnership with the university we can ensure the issues raised in this action plan, and more, are addressed to support of student body.

 

Stay safe, stay connected, stay heard.

Ngā mihi nui,

Sisfa Lui, AUTSA President and your Student Representatives 

 

#unitedapart #autsa #stayaheadofthecurve

Video message from your Student Rep Council

Message from your AUT Students Association

Tuesday 7 April

Kia ora koutou,

 

AUTSA would like to take this opportunity to thank our student community. Your feedback on the proposed Academic Changes in response to COVID-19 allowed us provide greater representation of our collective student voice to AUT.

 

Alert Level 4 has presented uncertainty and difficulties that can be both unexpected and out of your control. AUTSA continues to work with AUT and we are thankful that they heard our feedback. We want to acknowledge AUT for supporting us in these efforts to highlight academic enquires, financial assistance and equitable access for our students.

 

Given we will return to the existing model from 28 April, We are interested to see what remote and online learning will look like moving forward. Keep coming back to us and letting us know what your thoughts are.

 

We have been here for our students and we have been listening. Thank you for taking the time to  provide your feedback as we will continue to question and seek understanding on the concerns of our students to AUT.

 

Please don't hesitate to contact AUTSA for Assistance. Email us at autsa@aut.ac.nz

 

Keep well and stay #UnitedApart

 

Ngā mihi nui,

 

Sisifa Lui, AUTSA President and your Student Representatives

Message from the Vice-Chancellor

Monday 6 April

We know that these are uncertain times and many students have told us that the block learning approach communicated last week was creating additional uncertainty and anxiety.

We have listened to you and rethought our approach. We will maintain our two-semester calendar, with programmes adjusting their existing timetable as needed.

Preparing for block learning has led to significant content being ready for effective online delivery, and this can now be delivered in our semester model. There are still challenges ahead for some of our programmes, particularly those that are skills-based and experienc- driven. However, New Zealand appears to be in a more optimistic space regarding managing COVID-19 and this too has allowed us confidence about remaining with our usual timetable and a combination of online and on campus delivery when we shift from Level 4.

  • From 28 April, we will return to the existing model, and your enrolment remains the same.

  • An orientation for remote and online learning is scheduled for 23-24 April. More info on this will be provided.

  • There may be changes in timing for practical and co-operative components of study, as New Zealand shifts between COVID-19 alert levels.

  • The exam weeks will be no longer take place, instead assessments will be carried out during the semester.

  • This means that as expected, the academic year will end on the usual date.

AUT is committed to enabling you to achieve your higher learning goals. We take the student voice to heart and we thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Please go to our frequently asked questions for more details and contact studenthub@aut.ac.nz with any further enquiries.

As we move closer to the resumption of learning and teaching on 28 April, you will be contacted by your faculties with further information.

I hope you and your whanau remain well.

Ngā mihi nui


Derek McCormack
Vice-Chancellor

Announcement to AUT students from the Vice-Chancellor and AUTSA President - Thursday 26 March

Kia ora,

We hope you are getting used to the changes we are all facing as a result of COVID-19 and that you and your families are well. We know this is a very challenging time and we must continue to reflect our values as a University:

  • Tika / Integrity: Being genuine and accountable helps us do good work

  • Pono / Respect: Working together being collaborative and inclusive

  • Aroha / Compassion: How we respond to one another makes a huge difference
     

Supporting Students during COVID-19

COVID-19 support information for AUT students
 

Find out what support is available to help you through this challenging time, and where to find government and community advice on the COVID-19 situation. You can request support via our Covid Support online form or email studenthub@aut.ac.nz
 

We will keep you updated via email, AUT’s website and the AUT app. Download the app here for apple or android.

Student Medical Centre

You can arrange for a nurse or GP to call you back, to discuss your medical needs. The phone details are 09 921 9992 (City Campus) or 09 921 9998 (North Campus). There are phone and video consultations in place.

We are offering flu vaccinations and prioritising students who have compromised immunity.

You can also contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 or your local non-AUT GP.

Counselling and Mental Health

You can make an appointment with an AUT Counsellor to talk about your support needs. Phone 09 921 9292 or email counselling@aut.ac.nz

Students have access to free alternative counselling services, which are private and accessible online or over the phone. Visit www.puawaitanga.nz/aut or phone 0800 782 999.

You can also call or text 1737 for free any time of the day or night, to speak to a trained counsellor.

R U OK Online

The R U OK Advisor team have an online presence via the R U OK Facebook page Facebook page. If you want someone to talk to and stay connected with other students, you can join the page and send a message to the team. They are also able to connect you with AUT Student Services and resources.

Financial assistance

If you’re experiencing financial difficulty during this time, please contact the Student Hub as we can provide you with timely financial assistance including:

  • Rent arrears payments to landlords

  • Utilities and other living expenses

  • Financial support for food and other grocery items
     

Information on wellbeing and self-care

We will keep you up to date with information and guidance on self-care, wellbeing, and how you can stay connected, via our social media channels and the AUT app. You can download the app here

for apple or android.

Student Hub

If you have questions or would like more information about any of our services, such as rainbow, disability support, and financial assistance, or if you have questions about your enrolment or fees, contact one of our Student Hub Advisors via email - studenthub@aut.ac.nz

For international students who have an urgent concern, the Student Hub is operating a phone line. Phone 0800 288 864 to connect with the team.

Employability

From Monday 30 March, the Employability and Careers team will be running an online service, with workshops, career counselling, and online drop-in sessions via live chat. Visit Elab Online to check out what’s available and to register. They will also be launching a new career resources system, and more information will be made available soon.

 

More information

You can also visit the Support services page on Student Digital Workspace for more information.

AUT Students Association – AUTSA

AUTSA continues to represent your voice and provide the necessary Advocacy Support to our students. If your wellbeing, accommodation or employment has been impacted recently, then please contact us at advocacy@aut.ac.nz

AUTSA Social Engagement will continue online:

  • Debate Magazine will be published digitally at www.debatemag.com

  • AUTSA’s Social Media will be active throughout this time promoting our #UnitedApart Campaign. Stay connected with us on Facebook and Instagram: @AUTStudentAssociation and use the following Hashtags to join the conversation with us across this period: #UnitedApart #stayaheadofthecurve #autsa
     

Please don’t hesitate to contact AUTSA for Assistance. Don't be shy, we'd LOVE to hear from you! Email us at autsa@aut.ac.nz
 

Looking ahead
 

To reduce some of the uncertainties COVID-19 has created, AUT is developing online learning environments and material so you can continue your studies and be able to complete your qualification in the year you were expecting to.

We are committed to our students and everyone at AUT is working on this. We will be communicating more information on the way this will work next week.

Further information will be made available on a regular basis via our websites www.aut.ac.nz & www.autsa.org.nz and via the AUT Student App.

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui

be strong, be brave, be steadfast

A joint message from the Vice Chancellor and the AUT Students' Association (AUTSA) President about COVID-19 -

Monday 23 March

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement today of going to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 (complete shutdown) from Wednesday this week for four weeks, we want to provide you with certainty over what will be happening for you at the university.

  1. AUT is bringing the mid-semester break forward and extending it by two weeks. It will now run from Wednesday 25 March to Wednesday 22 April 2020.  Following this break the academic year will be restructured to fully accommodate all teaching for all programmes.

  2. During the break there will be no teaching or assessment either on campus or online, and assessment deadlines will be postponed until further notice.

  3. The campuses will also be completely shut down except for essential services, including all those to support student accommodation and security.  Student Accommodation will remain open throughout.

  4. Many of our student services, however, will be continuing on line throughout the break and full information about these will be on the AUT and AUTSA websites.

  5. During the break AUT lecturers and staff will continuing develop quality online materials and learning resources ready for the restart of teaching.

  6. From Thursday 23 April 2020, teaching online will begin.

  7. If we are able to return to Alert Level 3 on 23 April some on-campus service and activities will be able to restart, particularly those to assist students who cannot get adequate online access from their home.

  8. Our focus is on ensuring that every student will be able to complete their qualification in the year they were expected to.

  9. AUTSA President Sisifa Lui, is on the university’s COVID-19 Action Planning Team contributing to and overseeing the work throughout this time.
     

Further information will be made available on a regular basis via our websites www.aut.ac.nz www.autsa.org.nz and via the AUT Student App.

We are responding to a rapidly changing situation – things are not going be as perfect as we would wish - please be tolerant and supportive of one another – and stay safe.

Kia kaha

Derek McCormack, Vice Chancellor & Sisifa Lui, AUTSA President

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