Exam help could be given to Newcastle students if they don’t like sensitive topics

They might be exempt from doing assessed work

Students upset by rape, racism, violence or misogyny in lectures could be given deadline extensions, exam resits or exemption from set work to ensure they are not disadvantaged.

The guidance, drawn up by Newcastle University, has warned that students discussing subjects they find sensitive could affect their academic performance. The case could be referred to a committee of tutors who would be able to ‘adjust’ how these students are examined. This could include excusing some students from assessed work.

Lecturers have already been told to issue ‘trigger warnings’ to give students notice of ‘sensitive material’, including images of war photography and topless models. Warnings are also given before discussions of underage sex, homelessness and religion. In St Andrews last year, students were told they could leave the class if they didn’t want to discuss an ancient rape story.

This came after Newcastle English literature undergrads requested notice before lectures covering ‘rape, suicide, graphic violence or racism.’ A university spokesman said that no students had consulted the committee of tutors in relation to sensitive material since the guidance was introduced last year.