Intercalating is when a student makes the difficult decision to suspend their studies; they pick up where they left off the same time next year. Students can intercalate for a variety of mitigating circumstances; “personal or health issues, a financial problem or for non-compulsory work experience.”
At certain universities, students who excel in a sport are encouraged to intercalate so that they can represent their university for another year. This is obviously unfair and LUSU has prevented this from happening at our institution by banning intercalating students from competing in sporting activities. It is argued that the intercalating students do not fulfil the BUCS requirements to compete, mainly due to not being recognised as a student. Furthermore, it is Roses policy (agreed by both York and Lancaster) that intercalating students cannot compete at Roses as: “intercalating students shouldn't have all the benefits of being a student without the work as that would encourage people to intercalate which the university don't want.”
Now consider the student who suffers from depression, anxiety etc. so much so that they couldn’t continue with their studies. Deciding to intercalate isn’t an easy decision; it’s financially expensive, there’s a stigma, and when you return to study it’s with an entirely new set of coursemates. So, this student suspends their studies and works towards improving their mental health. Participating in a sport is something that really empowers a person to fight depression and anxiety: “Sports offer them the opportunity to be active and to meet other people. It is also thought that doing sports has a positive effect on the brain’s metabolism and therefore also on the depression itself.”
The ban is not done on a case by case basis, hence students intercalating at different points of the year and for different reasons are being grouped together, leading to those who would benefit from sports and competition being overlooked.
This oversight can have a detrimental affect on an individuals mental health, which is the focus of this years Roses' selected charity campaign: Mind.
Having a shared goal to work towards, for instance Roses, is something that brings teams together. It can also bring a sense of achievement for just having participated and trained. For someone intercalating, being banned from playing can alienate and demotivate them as well as have negative affects on their mental health. It’s as if they are being punished for something they have no control over. Although the BUCS rules are not something the university or the students union can influence, Roses policy is. Hence this petition proposes that students who are intercalating due to health reasons should not be banned from competing in the biggest sporting event at Lancaster; Roses.
Thanks for submitting this idea. Current arrangements for intercalating students in BUCS competitions and Roses are in place to reduce the chance of individual students or universities using intercalation to gain an unfair advantage by extending the length of time that players are eligible to compete. In the case of Roses, we recognise that for many students the tournament is the most important sporting event of the year and therefore wish to ensure that team places go to those who are currently studying. We do recognise the value of exercise to students’ physical and mental wellbeing, which is why all intercalating students are still eligible to access opportunities to exercise offered at the university and those who have completed 60 units or more during their intercalation year are eligible for BUCS. Your idea will be considered fully via our usual processes, but we just wanted to take the opportunity to let you know the reasoning behind the current policies. However, with Roses fast approaching, it will not be possible to agree any changes to the policy in time for this year’s tournament.