Trinity students have coordinated an email campaign targeted at senior College staff to lobby for the implementation of a “no detriment” policy for this year’s summer assessments.
The policy, similar to measures taken by several UK universities in light of the coronavirus pandemic, would mean that as long as students receive a passing mark their overall average grade cannot be brought down by upcoming assessments.
A private Facebook group, established this morning and already with over 400 members has been set up containing information on which members of staff to contact to lobby for the policy to be implemented, and an email template that students can use.
Students are encouraged to email the provost, vice-provost and senior lecturer.
Under a no detriment policy, if a student receives a mark higher than their average from previous assessments before the closure of College their average mark would go up, but if they received a mark lower than their average but high enough to pass, their average would remain the same.
Speaking to Trinity News, Amber Davy, a final year History student who set up the Facebook group along with fellow student Gráinne Sexton explained that the no detriment policy is “a safety-net for students” and would in her view “ensure that the grade we finish the year on will not be unjustly affected by these unprecedented conditions”.
Davy told Trinity News that “such a policy will give Trinity’s students peace of mind, alleviating at least some of the worry we are all experiencing in this strange and difficult time”.
This email campaign follows the launch of an online petition earlier in the week arguing that the policy is necessary due to the closure of Trinity along with other higher education institutions in response to the coronavirus. The petition now has over 3,000 signatures.
The email template provided by the campaign states that “the university closure has been disruptive to students’ study habits, in particular those that are dependent on university facilities such as the library or laboratories”.
“A large proportion of students are now bereft of a suitable working environment, WiFi, laptops, computers and even office equipment. Some students are exposed to toxic living conditions, without proper access to a safe place to do assessment in, or exposed to and caring for sick family members,” the template continues.
The email template provided by the campaign is also critical of recent communications from College regarding assessments.
On Thursday, students received an email signed by the senior lecturer and vice-provost informing them that semester two undergraduate assessments will be conducted through a mixture of online and offline exams and assignments.
The email advised those with “generally difficult working conditions at home, either for studying or completing assessments” to contact their tutors individually. The email promised they would be “as generous and flexible as possible in taking such circumstances into account in considering requests for a deferral”.
The email template provided on the “TCD No Detriment Policy” Facebook page suggests that “many students’ concerns have been exacerbated by an email recently received from the Senior Lecturer, in which few concrete provisions – apart from acknowledgement – were made for the challenges currently facing students”.
The provost, vice provost and senior lecturer are due to meet today to discuss the proposal according to a tweet sent on Wednesday by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Laura Beston.