The Extenuating Circumstances Policy of UCD has been altered to fit COVID-19 Special Arrangements. Students are no longer required to provide a ‘Formal Statement of Circumstances’ verified by supporting evidence to validify their requests for extenuating circumstances.
Students must still, however, provide the ‘Formal Statement of Circumstances’, outlining their case clearly, and there will be no further requirement of supporting documentation. The extenuating circumstances policy is defined as the occurrence of unforeseen events which have prevented a student from attending a substantial number of classes, affected their ability to study or complete assessments (both continuous assessment and/or examinations), resulted in assessment deadlines being missed or adversely affected performance in any assessments undertaken. The policy was enacted in order to treat all students equitably.
In light of the effects of the global pandemic, COVID-19, students will find themselves being unable to avail of evidence of their particular circumstances affecting their grades. Section 5.1 and 5.2 of the policy has now been temporarily altered, waiving the requirement of such evidence. The university has stated that it retains the right to investigate the validity of applications and has warned that where there is a suspicious of applications being submitted fraudulently, the issue will be referred to the university’s disciplinary board.
COVID-19 has brought with it, sweeping changes to UCD and other colleges’ teaching systems. The number of extenuating circumstances may reach an all-time high seeing that at-distance teaching may affect some more than others. It has been reported that social-distancing and isolation may lead to more students facing mental health problems.
Students continue to learn online. Amongst other recent changes is an extension to the assessment period until the 23rd of May in order to ease pressure off of students. In a short few weeks, UCD Students’ Union elections are also to be held online for the first time. The election dates have not yet been announced.
Students’ Union (SU) President Joanna Siewierska has invited students who are unsure of the application process, to contact the SU or their Student Advisor for assistance.
Pressure has mounted in recent days for UCD management to adopt a ‘No-Detriment’ policy for the remainder of the trimester as thousands of students back calls for academic leniency amid the COVID-19 crisis. The policy takes into account students’ circumstances and allows them to only improve their GPA once their exams are passed. In an email on Monday, UCD’s Deputy President Mark Rogers outlined a list of new measures and highlighted supports for students but failed to address student calls for a No-Detriment policy. A Facebook group of students calling for the policy has garnered over 4,100 members in under five days. An online petition calling for the policy to be introduced in UCD has received over 5,700 signatures.
Mahnoor Choudhry – Reporter