A lack of student support and anger around the ‘No Detriment policy’ is the reason the University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCD SU) will no longer push for the Covid-19 Assessment Guidelines to be extended into this exam season, according to SU President Conor Anderson.

It was announced last month that the Covid-19 Assessment Guidelines will not be extended into the current academic year. Despite the support of the ‘No Detriment Policy’ Facebook group, the UCD SU have been unsuccessful in getting the guidelines renewed.

“We’ve given up in the sense that, we have brought the request to the University for the Covid-19 Assessment Guidelines to be extended, and the university has denied that request,” Anderson told The College Tribune. “That’s the extent of our power when it comes to this topic. If we had more time, and if there were a lot more students active about this than there are, there might be more we could do, but at this point, that’s about it.”

While he knows that many students actively wanted the ‘No Detriment’ policy to be renewed, Anderson has acknowledged that there has not been as much renewed support for the policy as there was in the first campaign.

“It’s less that there was a cessation of existing campaigns, as it is that a new campaign for this term never materialised,” Anderson said. “You can compare this to the GEM, Smurfit, and nursing campaigns, which obviously did materialise and actually gained a ton of steam (and currently pose a distinct threat to university management).”

Anderson suggested that there has been much less engagement with calls for involvement in a campaign to renew the Covid-19 Assessment Guidelines. “I can’t say exactly why student anger didn’t coalesce around No Detriment; it likely has to do with disillusionment with last trimester’s policy and burnout from people who put a ton of effort into the old campaign,” Anderson said. “I tried the same things around No Detriment (calls on Facebook, scheduling town hall discussions, etc.) as I did with the other campaigns, and the results are basically as you can see [nothing has happened].”

With exams fast approaching, and many students already stuck into deadlines for continuous assessments, Anderson has advised that students should make use of the Extenuating Circumstances Policy, which requires students to request leniency from their lecturers for specific circumstances.

“My message to students still is, and has been for a while, that the best thing to do is engage with the Extenuating Circumstances Policy sooner rather than later,” Anderson said, “and to organise on the course/program level if many students are struggling. When students have come to me with complaints about a specific module, we have been able to get those problems more or less addressed at the local level by involving head of teaching and learning, etc.”

This policy, much like the original ‘No Disadvantage’ policy, is advisory, rather than mandatory, and as such lecturers may apply them differently, or not at all.

Stephen Kisbey-Green – Co-Editor