Students in the School of English this week sent a formal letter of complaint, after those who deferred or needed to repeat assessments have been unable to register for College, or choose their modules.
This means some students may have missed out on their selection for the upcoming academic year.
The email was written and sent by junior sophister student Siena Swire, and was signed by 18 other junior sophister students.
In their email, Swire expressed that they were emailing with “frustration bordering on desperation” with Trinity’s “deeply flawed deferral system”.
“I have never formally criticised this institution since I first enrolled two years ago. Why would I, as I love it?,” Swire’s email continued. “However, I feel it is my duty to alert staff to the sheer lack of wellbeing and disregard they are demonstrating towards their own students.”
Swire elaborated: “In order to relieve the pressure resulting from this unprecedented global pandemic on their students, Trinity established a system whereby deferring their examinations and assignments was made easy, if not tempting.”
“Students were inundated with various reasons threatening their academic performance – be it mental health or a lack of available, and necessary, home resources.”
Last year, students were given the option to defer both Michaelmas and Hilary assessments to alternative assessment periods in May and August respectively, a measure implemented by College to alleviate pressure of online learning on students.
The majority of students have not had any on-campus activity since March 2020, with classes expected to resume in three days, on Monday September 13.
Swire’s email went on: “Following this superficial act of ‘aid,’ deferred students were quickly alerted to the fact they were banned from partaking in module selection with the rest of their cohort and had to wait their delayed turn; no time or date was provided as to when this would be.”
“Seeing as module selection illogically relies on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis, deferred students are inevitably left with little choice surrounding their future studies – having to make the best out of the ‘slim pickings’, or ‘leftovers’ of others.”
Speaking to Trinity News yesterday, Swire expressed her frustration with the implemented system, which has “hindered students” instead of “helping them” throughout the pandemic.
“It essentially just means that I will likely be enrolling in leftover modules which I am not keen or passionate about, and in a year that counts to our wider degree grade that is quite an unsettling prospect,” Swire said to Trinity News.
“Deferrals were set up to aid students and give them a source of relief from covid, but instead we have been totally disadvantaged by them!”
Swire added: “The clear solution would have been reserving some slots in every module for deferred students and giving them an equal chance at the later selection date that way, instead of the scraps of those who met their deadlines earlier in the summer.”
“It feels like a slight punishment or certainly a huge indifference from Trinity admin.”
In the email sent by junior sophister English students, Swire explained that they “all agreed” that they never would have deferred their assignments had they been told this would implicate their future learning.
“I have known the modules I wish to partake in ever since I was first made aware of them by the School of English, and to deny us participation in these due to ‘full’ class sizes shows a disregard or even indifference towards us,” Swire commented.
Swire also added: “Trinity prides itself in offering open modules and electives, enhancing one’s extra-curricular capabilities while making for a flexible and modern degree programme.”
The email went on: “Yet, in overlooking the preferences of deferred students, they have little to no chance of being beneficiaries of this programme. This is wherein the most universally desirable options rapidly fill up, and the side-lined deferral students are left, once again, thwarted by a seemingly comforting system.”
The reassessment results were released today at 1pm on mytcd, though these were only visible for some students via Blackboard.
The reassessment period for Hilary term 2021 took place from August 30.
“My learning is supposed to commence on Monday September 13,” Swire’s email continued. “To date, I have not been able to select my modules and open modules, I have not been given a timetable for my modules and open modules, and worst of all, I have not been made aware of when exactly I will even be able to select these! This is clearly unacceptable.”
“If nothing positive comes out of this complaint in time, I urge its recipients to totally rethink the measures they have in place next September.”
“Despite immunising your students from the recurrent chaos of module selection, you have still somehow managed to leave us hopeless, let down, and extremely distressed” Swire concluded.
Registration and module enrollment for students who sat repeat or deferred assessments opens Monday, September 13. The commencement of in-person teaching resumes the same day, after nearly 18 months of online learning.