Sam Fearnley reports on the latest regulation change and its potentially damaging consequences for UCL students
UCL surprised many this week by releasing an updated version of their regulations, regarding how (and which) students can apply for extenuating circumstances.
In an email recently sent to certain students who had previously applied for extenuating circumstances, UCL said:
“The new regulations consider circumstances such as exam stress, financial problems, accommodation problems or domestic problems as part of the everyday reality of being a student. As such these cannot in and of themselves be considered as extenuating circumstances. However, if, for example, a student is diagnosed by a medical practitioner as suffering from clinical stress – due to these or other reasons – then the circumstance may be considered.”
UCL says it is unlikely to accept a variety of reasons for extenuating circumstances, many of which seem to be important and worthy considerations. These include: conditions which are not fully diagnosed, illnesses (including learning difficulties, disabilities and mental health conditions) that are already receiving adjustment, certain family problems, minor crime, certain caring responsibilities and late disclosure of circumstance if the student initially felt unable to confide in UCL staff.
Many feel that the new rules are unfair, given that students can feel severely disrupted in their studies, but do not have the exact evidence under the restrictive circumstances UCL seems to require.
For example, many students are not easily able to obtain a consultation with the vastly under-resourced UCL Student Psychological Services, and may therefore only be able to receive a definite diagnosis after exams.
This issue may become a point of conflict between UCLU officers and UCL staff, some of whom are already known to be working on the issue.
Featured image credit: UCL