Author Archives: Miriam Sandiford

Signing a document

Adopting the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Following an extensive consultation with staff, students, members of the Jewish community at Kent, Ethics committee and Council, the University has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism 

Signing up to a definition of antisemitism is an important statement of our solidarity with the Jewish community in recognition of the hurt many are feeling due to rising discrimination. The IHRA definition seeks to build an international consensus around a non-legally binding definition of what antisemitism means to help tackle the rise in anti-Jewish hate.  

There was a strong feeling during consultation that Kent should have a commitment in this area. Alongside this, following some concerns throughout consultation over some aspects of the IHRA definition being open to misinterpretation, the Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism (JDA) has been also approved to support with interpretation after feedback from staff, students, Senate and wider legal advice. 

As a University we are committed to academic freedom and free speech, and to building a diverse, inclusive environment to enable people to reach their potential free from prejudice. The adoption of the IHRA is an important step in ensuring our Jewish community feel safe on campus and we will be sharing more information on implementation as part of our continued work to tackle discrimination and racism.  

Students sat at bench

Your views on the Autumn term

For the attention of all students returning to study 2021/2022 

I hope you are well and making the most of the summer break. My name’s Mica and I’m the new Head of Student Experience at Kent. I’ll be working closely with Richard Reece to make sure your time with us is as rewarding and enjoyable as possible – we’re really looking forward to opening up our campuses once more and welcoming you back in September. 

Returners Survey 

To do that as well as we can, I need to hear from you! We want to get your views on how you’re feeling about the new term – what you’re looking forward to, what you might be nervous about or what you’d like to see us do differently. We’ve put together a Returners Pulse Survey to get your feedback on a range of topics – this should take around 5 minutes to complete so do let us know your thoughts before the survey closes on Friday 3 September. 

Student WebChat: Thursday 19 August 

Alongside that, I’d also love it if you could join me and Richard at the first of a new series of WebChats to talk about how next year is shaping up. After months of remote learning, we’re determined to deliver as much in-person teaching as possible, while prioritising your safety throughout. Weekly face-to-face sessions will be at the heart of this, supported by large online lectures where these have proved to work well. At the WebChat, we will explain more about the thinking behind our plans and how we intend to transition to a full campus timetable by the Spring. 

Register your interest to join us from 13.00 – 14.00 on Thursday 19 August. You can also use the form to send us any questions in advance – I look forward to seeing you there. 

It’s been such a challenging year for all of us, and many of you may have mixed feelings about the weeks ahead. We are here to support you throughout and help you concentrate on the things that matter – shaping your future with us and making connections at Kent that last a lifetime. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer and we can’t wait to see our campuses come alive again when we come back together in September. 

With all best wishes, 

Mica  

Mica Rose | Head of Student Experience 

 

Students sat together drinking tea at the Dockyard

Things to try this year

Here’s a list* of things to try at Kent that you might have missed last year due to the pandemic:

Welcome Week – Welcome Week isn’t just for first years. Get involved in all the events, make new friends and maybe join a society!

Watch a film or theatre performance at Gulbenkian – We’re lucky enough to have a cinema and theatre on the Canterbury campus at Gulbenkian. Look out for their student offers. And if you’re really enthusiastic about film, you can join Gulbenkian Uncovered, which gives students the chance to get behind the scenes, develop new skills and run events.

Join a society – Get involved in a new society this year. Meet new people with similar interests to you. Whatever your year of study, it’s not too late to join. Check out all the societies and groups at Kent Union (Canterbury) and GKSU (Medway).

Try new food and drink – Perhaps you didn’t get to try out many of the eateries and bars on campus last year? Take a look at the catering and bars at Canterbury and Medway and try somewhere new.

Sign up for a Study Plus course – Meet new people, develop your skills and enhance your graduate employability by taking a free Study Plus course. There’s a variety of courses on offer with new ones added throughout the academic year.

Have a night out at The Venue Venue is back!  Get your friends together for a campus night out.

Try out a fitness class or indoor tennis – As well a state-of-the-art gym, we have a wide range of fitness and dance classes for you to try at the Canterbury campus. You can also try out the Indoor Tennis and Events Arena which was opened last year. There’s plenty of ways to keep fit this year with Kent Sport.

Visit Chatham Historic Dockyard – At Medway, we have part of our campus at the Historic Dockyard. Did you know that the Dockyard is also a filming location for shows such as Call the Midwife and Bridgerton? Kent students get free access to the Historic Dockyard by showing a KentOne card.

VolunteerVolunteering is great way to meet new people while helping your local community and building your CV.

Explore another campus– Jump on the Campus Shuttle and spend a few hours at a campus you might be less familiar with. The shuttle is free so why not take advantage? From there, you can also explore the local area.

We really want you to make the most of our amazing campuses this year! Share your adventures with us on socials by using the hashtag #WelcomeToOurWorld and tagging us in your photos.

*Make sure to keep up to date with the latest Government Guidance in case anything changes.

hand sanitiser

Important Covid-19 update

There have been some important recent changes to the behaviour of the virus and to the advice that we need to follow in order to keep ourselves and our wider communities safe.

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is currently the most common in many regions of the UK including Kent and has changed how the virus is spreading. It has also changed the symptoms that are associated with infection with a headache, sore throat and runny nose now being commonly reported.

In young people, Covid infection can get mistaken for a cold or even hay fever.

Despite the relatively low-numbers of cases and the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, Covid-19 is still with us and it is vital that we all:

Returning home

Please remember to get tested before leaving for home:

The FAQs below will help you understand what you need to do to keep you, your friends and family and our community safe.

I am sure we are all looking forward to the rest of the summer and hopefully some much improved weather. Please join us in doing everything we can to make sure we get to make the most of the summer and control the spread of Covid-19.

Please contact CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns.

Best wishes

Lucy

Dr Lucy Foley | Director of Student Services and University Public Health Lead

 

Revised Covid-19 FAQs

What are the revised symptoms of Covid-19?

People with Covid-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have Covid-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue, muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat, congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea

What do I do if I think I might have symptoms?

If you think you might have symptoms of Covid-19, regardless of any asymptomatic (lateral flow) test results you may have recently had, self-isolate immediately, get a PCR test done and let us know. Not doing so may put you, your family and friends at risk.

You can book a PCR test online or by phoning 119. There are NHS PCR testing centres all over the UK. We have one in Rutherford Car Park on the Canterbury campus and in The Deep End at Medway.

Please do not go to an asymptomatic (symptom-free) testing centre if you have symptoms or are self-isolating.

See our guide on ‘What to do if you have Covid-19 symptoms or advised to self-isolate’.

What do I do if I’m symptom free?

Please get tested regularly. Asymptomatic (symptom-free) lateral flow testing should be carried out at least twice a week. Whilst it doesn’t completely rule out you having Covid-19, there is a good chance that positive cases will be detected and you can then take appropriate action.

Please do not go to an asymptomatic (symptom-free) testing centre if you have symptoms or are self-isolating.

You can order lateral flow home test kits online or pick them up from the Sibson Building on the Canterbury campus and The Deep End on the Medway campus.

A negative test result is not a guarantee that you do not have Covid-19.

You still to need to follow the NHS guidance on Hands, Face, Space, Test and abide by the Government restrictions on social gatherings – only 6 people or two households indoors and up to 30 people outdoors. Stick to the 2 metre rule whenever you can!

How can I get vaccinated?

The UK vaccination programme is now available free of charge to everyone over 18 years of age and current programmes have already shown that vaccination prevents hospitalisation and saves lives.

You can find out more about walk-in vaccination centres via the local media in your area, or use the NHS booking service online or by phoning 119.

For those of you travelling from term-time to vacation addresses, you do not need to have both vaccination appointments in the same place. You are free to book each one, or attend walk-ins, in different locations.

More information about the UK Covid-19 vaccination programme is available online and the NHS student vaccination FAQs are also now available, including more detailed information for international students.

What if I’ve been vaccinated?

You need to have had two Covid-19 vaccine doses to provide the recommended amount of protection against new variant Covid-19.

This protection starts approximately three weeks following your second dose.

Even when you have had both doses, you should still test regularly, follow the NHS guidance on Hands, Face, Space, Test and abide by the Government restrictions on social gatherings – only 6 people or two households indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.

Students sat at labyrinth at the Canterbury campus

End of term update

From Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

In recognition of last Friday being the end of term, may I begin by congratulating all of you on everything you have achieved during this challenging and remarkable time.

You have shown incredible levels of creativity, flexibility and dedication in the pursuit of your studies, and I know from colleagues around the University, along with Kent Union and GKSU, that many of you have also achieved tremendous things outside of your courses caring for and supporting others. Thank you for your contributions to our community this year.

Whilst many of you are on campus either enjoying Kent Summer Fest (despite the current weather) or continuing with your studies, we are all looking forward to welcoming most of you back to our campuses in September.

For those of you leaving us this summer – thank you again, and good luck for the future. Our Alumni Team will be in contact soon to let you know how to keep in touch with Kent and news of our ongoing services and support for all our former students.

Exam results

Now that all the summer examinations are complete, Boards of Examiners are working to finalise your end-of-stage marks and degree classifications. Their work includes taking into account all the details of circumstances which may have impacted on your performance, including Covid-19 and national lockdowns in accordance with our No Detriment measures.

The anticipated completion date for the boards is listed below and you will be emailed once your results are available on Kent Vision as soon as the decisions of the board relevant to you have been processed, so please allow a day or two for that to occur.

  • Undergraduate final year and diploma – Thursday 1 July 2021
  • All other undergraduate stages and foundation – Monday 19 July 2021
  • Postgraduate taught courses – Monday 19 July 2021

Support over the summer

Student support services, including student wellbeing and learning advice, continue to be available to you throughout the summer in the form of both online and in-person provision. You can find all our services via the Student Guide, as well as more information about our on-campus services and opening hours on both our Canterbury and Medway campuses.

In addition, the Kent Union and GKSU advice centres are both available to help across a range of areas including academic support, accommodation issues and wellbeing concerns.

Vaccinations

Thank you to all of you who have attended vaccination pop-ups or booked your appointments already. As you know, the UK vaccination programme is now available free of charge to everyone over 18 years of age and current programmes have already shown that vaccination prevents hospitalisation and saves lives.

You can find out more about walk-in vaccination centres via the local media in your area, or use the NHS booking service online or by phoning 119.

For those of you travelling from term-time to vacation addresses, you do not need to have both vaccination appointments in the same place. You are free to book each one, or attend walk-ins, in different locations.

More information about the UK Covid-19 vaccination programme is available online and the NHS student vaccination FAQs are also now available, including more detailed information for international students.

Please do continue to get in touch with CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns.

Best wishes,

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

4 £20 notes

Covid-19 Hardship Fund: phase 3 applications open

The Government recently launched a scheme to support current students who have experienced hardship during the coronavirus pandemic. £15m in additional funding is being provided to English universities of which Kent has been allocated £122.5k.

The Covid-19 Hardship Fund can be used to support current students who have incurred unexpected costs due to Covid-19. This could be due to a loss of income, childcare costs, travel or rent.

Phase 3 of the Covid-19 Hardship Fund is now open and current students can apply for a £300 individual award to help their finances. There is a simple application process outlined on the Covid-19 Hardship funding webpage.

Applications for the third phase of the fund will close 31 July 2021 or sooner if all the funds are awarded before this date. We encourage you to apply as soon as you can. During phase 2, all the funds were awarded in a number of days.

There is also further financial support available through our range of emergency hardship funds.

Please contact our Financial Aid team or Kent Union’s Advice Service (Canterbury) or GKSU’s Advice Centre (Medway) for more information on what fund may be suitable for you.

Pride flag

What is Pride Month?

Around the world, June is recognized as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) Pride Month to commemorate a tipping point in queer human rights history — the Stonewall Riots uprising. Notably led by trans*women of colour activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, Stonewall began on 28 June 1969, lasting for 6 days sparked by the years of targeted police harassment at the Stonewall Inn located in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, New York.

Pride month is celebrated every June to acknowledge and recognise the accomplishments of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and our brave LGBTQIA+ advocates. It’s about the people in the LGBTQIA+ community and our allies who have fought and continue to fight for equality and recognized dignity.

It must not be forgotten that the first Pride was not a celebration. It was a riot led by queer people of colour. Pride was born out of a struggle. And now, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought struggle back to LGBTQIA+ communities, as they are forced to lock down with families who may not be accepting or safe. We see you; we celebrate you.

Pride Month presents a chance to express support for friends, family, co-workers or other LGBTQIA+ people.

P-eople – Pride is about the people in the LGBTQIA+ and allied community. Remember that our shared humanity is what is both celebrated and at stake in the global fight for full LGBTQIA+ equality

R-esilience Pride stands as a powerful claim of self-worth and community celebration in contrast to historic ostracization of LGBTQIA+ people.

I-nformation – Pride serves as an important milestone for employers to share information with their own workforce, customers and clients about the meaningful ways they engage with the LGBTQIA+ community and are advocates for equality.

D-iversity Pride is the culmination of struggle to fully recognize the diversity of the community.

E-xpression – The visuals that often come to mind from Pride month are colourful, campy and fun. From tiaras to boas to floats and DJs, Pride is a celebration of individual and community.

What does the Progress Pride Flag represent?

In 2018, Daniel Quasar updated the Pride Rainbow Flag, which is a symbol for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, to better represent marginalised LGBTQIA+ communities. The Progress Pride Flag includes black and brown stripes to represent LGBTQIA+ communities of colour, and the pink, light blue and white represent the Transgender Pride Flag.

LGBTQ+ inclusive flag

Look out for more LGBTQIA+ stories this month on our social media around being an ally and support available.

laptop outside work setup

What’s on this week: 1-6 June 2021

This week get involved with the online Paris Postgraduate festival, take a look at our virtual exchange and summer school opportunities, and find out more about volunteering. 

Play your part in Covid-19 enhanced testing and help keep Kent safe 

Everyone living, studying, and working in Canterbury’s CT1 and CT2 7 postcode areas is being urged to take part in Covid-19 enhanced testing over the next two weeks. This is in addition to your regular asymptomatic Covid-19 testing.  

It is quick and easy to get tested – with walk-in test centres on campus in Keynes and Darwin College car parks. You do not need to self-isolate after testing unless you are told to by NHS Test and Trace. Find out more about Covid-19 enhanced testing. 

It’s important that we stick to the latest government guidelines to help limit the spread, and remember Hands, Face, Space, Test. 

Volunteers’ Week 2021 

This week is Volunteers’ Week 2021, which celebrates the fantastic contribution that volunteers make to our communities. 

The Kent Volunteering Scheme recognises and supports student volunteers by offering rewards depending on how many volunteering hours you record. 

Find out more about volunteering opportunities at Kent 

Events for you to try this week:  

Browse all events 

Have you read this?  

Browse all student support 

Keep an eye on:  

Let us know what you think of these updates by emailing communications@kent.ac.uk 

Bluebells at Canterbury campus

How to wind down after an exam

1. Go for a walk

Getting outside can be a great way to clear your mind after an exam. After sitting at your desk for a long time, it can be really beneficial to get your body moving and to get some fresh air. Also, you can always spend this time listening to some music or a new podcast to take your mind off of the exam.

2. Watch a film

Having a movie night with friends or by yourself is a great way to relax. Pick a movie you’ve been wanting to watch for a while and reward yourself for all your hard work. Break out the popcorn and the pizza and enjoy yourself!

3. Take a long nap

After finishing an exam, it might feel like you need to go straight into revision for the next, but it’s important that you take some time to yourself in between. If you’re feeling drained, getting some sleep is vital to ensure you perform well in your next exam, as this will be far more beneficial than tiring yourself out. Take a nap to regain some energy and also to allow your body a break after a stressful exam. Hopefully this will also allow you to relax and feel better when you wake up!

4. Cook yourself a comfort meal

We all have a specific meal that just makes us feel a little better. Whether that’s something your mum always cooks at home or a new recipe you’re trying, having a comforting meal after a tough exam can help you to feel more positive.

5. Read a book

Reading is a great form of escapism, and can really allow you to switch off for a while. If you’re looking for some great book recommendations, reach out to friends and family, or maybe try a new book from an author you already like.

6. Remember that you did your best

Even where you might feel that an exam went badly, often you will have actually done better than you thought, and you’re just overthinking! Remember that you no longer have control of the exam, and that it’s not worth focussing on what went wrong. Instead, try to think positively and focus on the fact that you got through it and did the best you could in the circumstances.

Covid testing

Covid-19: Increased testing in Canterbury

From Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

Following last week’s update, Canterbury has had confirmation of further cases of Covid-19 and in particular those linked to one of the new variants of concern.

Whilst the number of cases remains low, to ensure any spread is limited as quicky as possible, Public Health England (PHE) have launched an enhanced testing programme for everyone living, working or studying in either the CT1 or CT2 7 postcodes. This precautionary measure includes our Canterbury campus and the majority of student accommodation areas in the city.

We strongly encourage all of you living, working or studying in the target postcodes to play your part by getting one of these additional tests as soon as possible. As the enhanced testing is specifically to locate cases of the new variant, this includes those of you who have been regularly completing asymptomatic tests in recent weeks, even if you have recently tested negative.

What you need to do

PHE have requested that anyone living, working or studying in the target postcode areas, including student accommodation, should attend an enhanced testing centre between the 1-15 June.

Two mobile units will be situated in Keynes College and Darwin Car Parks from Tuesday onwards, and will be open to students, staff and members of the public from 09.00-19.00 daily. There will also be several enhanced testing units around the city, with more information on locations online.

After your test, you can resume your normal activities whilst awaiting your test result. If you receive a positive test result, please inform us immediately by completing our online webform as part of our guide, ‘What to do if you have Covid-19 symptoms or are advised to self-isolate’.

Please note that you do not need to be tested if you have had Covid-19 in the last 90 days.

Staying safe on campus

While we have not been asked to make any changes to current activity on campus, the recent developments show how vital it is that we all continue to keep each other safe in the weeks ahead by sticking to the latest government guidelines and the NHS guide on how to avoid spreading the infection. We have also carried out additional health and safety checks on campus to ensure key areas such as the Templeman Library are as safe as possible.

Finally, we will all need to remember to continue to get tested twice a week and report all positive results even after the enhanced testing has finished. This can be done either at our on-campus asymptomatic test centres or by using one of our home-test kits. Find out more about Covid testing.

I’m proud of how all of you have come together to keep each other safe over the last year – keeping that up and doing our bit during this additional step will be a key part of supporting our community, so I want to thank you all in advance for your continued cooperation.

With best wishes,

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience