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Over 2,000 students sign petition calling for ‘no detriment’ policy

A petition calling for the University of Edinburgh to implement a ‘no detriment’ policy for final year students in light of the new lockdown in England and Scotland has gained over 2,000 signatures. 

The petition was started by University of Edinburgh final year student Jo Gray yesterday. 

With the announcement of lockdown in the face of rising Covid-19 cases and the halt of all teaching in March 2020, the university introduced a ‘help not hinder’ policy whereby students’ final academic year average would be the same as, or higher than, the average they had attained through assessment that had already been undertaken. 

Citing “some of the toughest conditions final year students have ever had to endure”, the petition urges the university to reintroduce their ‘help not hinder’ policy from March 2020 and ensure that final year students are assessed on a non-detrimental basis only. 

The petition states that final year students at the University of Edinburgh have had to complete 75 per cent of their degree amidst the pandemic, with students “somehow” “expected to perform as if the world isn’t falling apart around us”. 

The petition also points out that the “safety net” that a ‘no detriment’ policy might provide would “protect students’ grades, mental health and trust in our educational provider”.

In December, a study by the National Union of Students found that 52 per cent of students say their mental health has deteriorated or been affected negatively by Covid-19, with only 20 per cent of students seeking mental health support. 

Speaking to The Student, Jade Paterson, a University of Edinburgh fourth year Medical Sciences student said: 

“I think the fourth years last year only missed out on a very small portion of teaching due to covid. Lockdown hit when there was only a few weeks left.

“Our year has had to do our full senior honours year online and the lack of in person engagement has made it so much harder to concentrate and motivate yourself.

“I’m also someone who studies best out of my flat and I have had poor access to study facilities as the library booking system is incredibly flawed.

“The last year has also had a huge impact on everyone’s mental health and the circumstances have made producing the same level of work much harder.

“This year group has been affected by Covid-19 to a far greater extent than the class of 2020 so if they felt a no detriment policy was necessary for them it’s absolutely ridiculous that it hasn’t already been put in place for us.” 

The Student contacted the University of Edinburgh for comment.

Image: Stinglehammer via Wikimedia commons