Keep It Real Secure Campaign Victory
After months of public campaigning and intensive lobbying behind closed doors, this week the Keep It Real campaign has secured a huge win, guaranteeing the future of in-person learning for students at King’s.
In an email that went out to students in May 2022, senior leadership at King’s have now committed to “delivering a level of in-person contact time on your degree programme consistent with that approved pre-pandemic” from September 2022. This astounding commitment comes after months of work by the Keep It Real campaign.
The fight for student rights
Brought together by second-year history student Joseph Wiltshire in August 2021, the Keep It Real campaign team recognised that ongoing uncertainty and lack of in-person learning were having a corrosive effect on student mental health. Students felt that online learning was preventing them from making friends, building a sense of community, and having an interactive educational experience. Across the UK higher education sector, Universities seemed to be moving toward keeping online lectures as a permanent feature. Keep It Real set out to demonstrate to secure a clear commitment from King's to a return to offering fully in-person learning.
After gaining the level of support needed to become a recognised Union Campaign, the campaign went on to conduct mass student engagement activities, building widespread support across King’s and garnering media attention. In December 2021, they ran a KCLSU Members’ Meeting that saw 1719 students vote on the motion ‘KCLSU calls on KCL to return to offering all lectures in person’, with 70% voting in favour.
Since early 2022, the Keep It Real campaign team has worked with KCLSU’s student officers to negotiate with senior decision-makers at KCL, maintaining a strong stance that students deserve an open, transparent decision from King’s so that they know what they can expect from the rest of their degrees. Their determination on this drove King’s decision to enforce a fully in-person learning experience from September 2022. This concrete commitment would not have been possible without the refusal of Joseph and the whole Keep It Real team to accept anything less than what students deserve.
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