Durham to provide a safety net for all students

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In an email sent to all students, Durham University has announced today that it is “developing a range of measures to provide a safety net for all students, while upholding the integrity of your degrees”. The University is to work “in collaboration with Durham Students’ Union (DSU)”, noting that “we are consulting with students, via DSU, and encourage you to have your say”.

The news comes after an open letter to the University and an online petition, both garnering around 2,000 signatures, called for Durham to implement a ‘no detriment’ policy for this academic year. Palatinate understands that the University has confirmed that this measure, which was in place for the 2019/20 exams, is not being considered as an option this year.

The DSU has outlined its position in the upcoming talks with the University, including a ‘no evidence asked’ policy for granting extensions, a more lenient ‘near miss’ measure for degree classification and a model where only the best-allotted amount of credits are counted, with lower marks discarded.

A meeting will be held by DSU on Friday 15th January open to all students to offer any suggestions or concerns that they may have regarding the new SU policy. It is taking place on Zoom and the event link can be found here.

Professor Alan Houston, Vice-Provost (Education) at Durham University, told Palatinate: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider community is always our first priority. We recognise the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the need for a range of measures to provide a safety net for students while upholding the integrity of their degrees.

“Drawing on our experience last year, and working in collaboration with Durham Students’ Union, we are identifying a range of measures that will provide assurance. It is essential that we take the time to develop these measures correctly, to ensure they are appropriate and effective. We will provide further detail as soon as possible.”

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