A final year student at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is encouraging people to sign his open letter to combat the university’s latest changes to assessment.
It was announced yesterday that NTU will not be offering the safety-net grade they did last year, but instead are reintroducing their policies surrounding more lenient NEC (Notice of Extenuating Circumstances) applications.
Sam Harris, a final year Politics and International Relations student, disagrees with this decision made by the university and argues that it will have a detrimental effect on students’ mental health and employability.
He launched an open letter to the university that he hopes will encourage them to reconsider.
He said: “Following NTU’s announcement that there will be no safety net or no-detriment policy, we feel that we have to call for immediate change.
“Recognising that other institutions, such as UEA, will be implementing safety nets and deadline extensions, this puts us at a massive disadvantage as Trent students particularly.
“Therefore, we have written this open letter which will be sent to the University Executive and various others.
“We must not allow NTU to ignore our concerns and continue to refuse to support students.”
The open letter had received over 2,000 signatures after just three hours.
Matt Kerr, a final year International Relations student at NTU, believes that students have been ignored by the university.
The 21-year-old said: “To be honest I feel as though we’ve all been completely neglected.
“We’re expected to continue on as normal.
“I feel as though there has been a lack of support and concern for the students, the pandemic is stressful enough and this just adds to it.”
Matt also worries about the effect that this decision could have on student wellbeing.
He added: “Lockdown affects mental health enough as it is, and when you add lack of support from your own university, I think an increase will definitely happen.
“The university has a duty to protect us.
“We have been completely forgotten about.”
Tisha Wijekoon, 22, is also a final year student at NTU and argues that a lack of face-to-face teaching this year has only made things harder for students.
She said: “I’ve helplessly watched my mental health deteriorate over this period with the overwhelming amount of work that I have to do within the next few months.
“The fact that GCSE and A-Level exams have already been cancelled yet University students are expected to sit exams and assessments, complete a degree, with a significantly more intense workload and secure future career prospects all via video call is extremely unfair.
“Their announcement in general seem like a cold-hearted response to all of these concerns that has, quite frankly, done nothing but overwhelm and stress us more.”
George Cowell, a final year journalism student at NTU, launched a petition to campaign for the introduction of a safety-net grade.
He was disappointed that his campaign was unsuccessful.
He told us: “I am obviously disappointed the petition wasn’t successful, especially having heard huge amounts of stories of Trent students who are literally at the end of their tether, it’s been eye opening to hear about the extreme pressures some students are feeling.
“That being said, I do believe the senior leadership teams will do everything in their power to make sure the grading on further assessments is fair, given the extreme circumstances we find ourselves within.”
You can find the open letter here.
By Faith Pring
Lead image: Olimpia Zagnat.