Following the news that the University will not be reinstating the “No Detriment” policy, The Glasgow Guardian and other student societies call for new measures to support students’ futures.
We, The Glasgow Guardian, and the other signatories in this article, call upon the University of Glasgow to consider student wellbeing and set students up for success.
We ask the University to adopt additional measures which will not cause detriment to the students during the most difficult period in all of our lives. We recognise the University’s reluctance to adopt the previously-instated No Detriment policy due to the lack of assessment available to base our degrees on during the “non-pandemic” period. Regardless, we believe that there is the potential for more support from the University during these exceptional times we are in, that are arguably worse than when the No Detriment policy was initially implemented. Whilst some measures from specific departments have been welcomed, these measures are not standardised across the University – and they are simply not enough.
Many struggles remain in place from the first lockdown in March 2020, with us reaching new heights of the pandemic daily, as today we sit with the worst deaths per capita in the world, facing a lockdown we do not truly know the end date of. The University has claimed the No Detriment policy was created in response to a sudden adjustment to an online learning environment, but many students have still not adjusted to this virtual platform. Students’ mental health has deteriorated and access to resources has only become increasingly more difficult. Students both in Scotland and abroad face social isolation and have to work in inhospitable learning environments. Academically, students have been unable to learn to a similar standard as they have had lack of access to the library’s materials since December, and the University’s study spaces are constantly at capacity.
Every group of students has faced challenges. From first years, still not knowing what a traditional university experience looks like and living through one of the scariest halls experiences anyone has had to deal with, to Senior Honours students having perhaps one of the most difficult dissertation experiences and likely not having the traditional graduation that so many students look forward to. Postgraduate students and those with dissertations require access to a wealth of materials and software to complete their degrees, both of which have been minimised greatly in comparison to the usual breadth of access they would have in non-pandemic circumstances. Mature students, those with children, and those with caring responsibilities have faced additional pressure since schools and other relief services are currently minimised or unavailable. International students have faced either being separated from their families for an extended period of time or face the struggles that come from learning thousands of miles away including time zone changes and lack of community. Students from lower-income backgrounds or estranged from their families are disproportionately impacted in their learning experience as support networks and economic strain has harmed their learning experience.
Extensions and Good Cause
We believe that several avenues of support can help promote a more fair and compassionate marking system for students. We believe all students should have a blanket seven-day extension applied to all assessments, such as the policy currently adopted by some departments, as well as easier access to Good Cause with more generous timeframes to submit these claims.
Resit opportunities made available and reinstating the Credit-Awarded system for pre-Honours
For those facing assessment this year, students should have the opportunity to resit final exams/essays should they wish to do so, with the higher of the two grades being used.
Pre-Honours students should return to a credit awarded system used during the first lockdown, as these marks have no bearing on their classification. Their progression into Honours should be based on if they received the credit for the last two years. While the University has said that without assessments they would be unable to determine their suitability, we believe that their suitability cannot be determined from the last two years where they have been in an unusual and difficult environment.
Recorded lecture and seminar materials
Further still, all materials should be recorded, including all seminars and accessible to all students. Similarly, attendance should not be taken as a criterion for marking. Students now have to contend with different schedules and timezones, making it more difficult for students to attend every live lecture or tutorial. The option to record is available to every lecturer or tutor and should be utilised. Even for other students, the ability to look back in order to review can be beneficial for consolidating knowledge.
We acknowledge that these demands do not encompass every student’s situation, and there are still matters which will need to be taken into consideration for individual circumstances. However, we believe these demands to be fair and necessary for all students. We live in unprecedented times and we should respond accordingly, with compassion and understanding.
Holly Jennings & Jordan Hunter, Editors-in-Chief of The Glasgow Guardian
President Liam Brady and Executives, Student Representatives Council
President Shereif Kholeif, Glasgow University Sports Association
President Ruaraidh Campbell and Board, Queen Margaret Union
Editors-in-Chief Graham Peacock and Lara Delmage, Glasgow University Magazine
Station Manager Tom Willis, Subcity Radio
Controller Katja Kraljević, Glasgow University Student Television
President Emma Margaret Currie, Glasgow University Conservative and Unionist Association
Women’s Officer Tegan Smith and BAME Officer Sahej Grove, Glasgow University Labour Club
President Abby Hastings and Committee, Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association
President Benedict Anslow and Committee, Glasgow University Liberal Democrats
Secretary Blair Anderson and Committee, Glasgow University Greens
Secretary Rebecca Cornwell, Glasgow Marxists
President Breandan O’Caoimh, Glasgow University Politics Society
Chairperson Rinna Väre and Committee, Glasgow University Amnesty International
President Gwendolen Da Sousa Correa and Committee, Glasgow University Dialectic Society
President Mark Lennie and Committee, Glasgow Marrow
Presidents Elis O’Keefe and Leigh Heron and Committee, The 93% Club
President Laura Larios-Jones and Committee, Successful Women at Glasgow
University Affairs Francheska Francisco, The Cecilian Society
President Iona Bremner, Student Theatre at Glasgow
President Sarah Montgomery, Glasgow University Shakespeare Society
President Mellisa Aliouat and Committee, Glasgow University Strategy and Security Society
Secretary Heather Lomax, Glasgow University Electronic Music Society
President Carmen Blaque, Glasgow University Psychedelic Society
President Lucy Dunn, Psychiatry Interest Group
President Monica Perry, Glasgow University Exploration Society
President Sam Malis, Glasgow University Geography Society
President Katrina Finlayson, Glasgow University Latin American Society
Secretary Sophie Hirshall, UofG Save the Children Society
President Paul Angelo-Deans, Glasgow University Law Society
President Emily Tunstall, GULGBTQ+
Secretary Ishani Mukherjee, Glasgow University Students of Colour Network
Edited 29 January 2021 to add:
Committee, Glasgow University Student Tenant Union
Secretary Fabiana Graziosi, Extinction Rebellion Glasgow University
President Juliet Hannay and Committee, University of Glasgow Women in STEM Society
Edited 1 February 2021 to add:
President Eevee Patterson, Glasgow University Mature Students Association
Edited 9 February 2021 to add:
Committee, Glasgow University Music Club