The University has come under fire from a Sussex student whilst on Erasmus study abroad who feels “appalled” by the University’s lack of reaction to their students being in the Czech Republic where borders are due to close this Sunday.

In an email from Adam Tickell titled ‘An update on Coronavirus: 13 March’, the University provided information on their involvement with “comprehensive planning to make sure we are able to offer you the support you deserve and need” as well as advice amidst global coronavirus concerns. A link to the University advice page on the Student Hub was provided as well as other links to Government and NHS pages. 

Yet, revealed later in a ‘Reply to All’ email chain directed to a specific Sussex student in the Czech Republic, the student accuses the University of failing to provide support, reaction or advice despite the students being told that “by Sunday night we cannot leave the country”. Despite, other countries such as Germany having already issued funding for Erasmus students to return to their home countries.

The University’s response to this student stated “We are very sorry to hear of your situation and recognise that this is a worrying time for you. Please be assured we have immediately raised your situation with the Study Abroad team at the University – who should soon be in contact.” Followed by a link to the Student Hub’s coronavirus advice and guidance page. 

The University Internal Communications team swiftly sent out another email to recall the message sent as a ‘Reply to All’. 

The Badger has spoken with one of the Sussex students currently in the Czech Republic. They spoke of feeling uncertain amongst the global pandemic due to a lack of University guidance amongst the fast approaching threat of borders closing. 

The student spoke of how “today measures have just been announced that residents and long stay [visitors] will not be able to leave the Czech Republic as all borders, coming in and out, are now on lockdown, this will be put in place Sunday midnight” as announced on March 13 by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. 

They went on to state that they had “not heard anything from the Sussex Abroad team and have only been met with an email from Adam Tickell” leaving the “Sussex students abroad here, of which I think there is at least 8, [to] now [debate] what to do”. The student also claims that upon calling the Sussex Abroad team, they weren’t aware of the situation in the Czech Republic and had to research it whilst on the phone with them. 

The Badger approached the University of Sussex for a comment to which they said: 

We understand this is a really worrying time for this individual. Our Study Abroad team are in direct contact with the student and are providing all possible support. This is a very recent development in the Czech Republic and we’re moving quickly to respond. 

This story is developing. Stay tuned for more updates. 

Photo Credit: Luke21

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