Over 800 sign petition to Sheffield Uni for no remaining assessments to hinder your overall grade

‘The uni hasn’t done enough’

More than 800 people gave signed a petition in five hours demanding that the University of Sheffield introduce a “safety net” policy for assessments due to the coronavirus crisis and strikes.

The policy would guarantee that exams and essays taken this term will only count towards the final degree weighting if they are at or above the student’s current overall average grade.

It has been rolled out in the last week at Edinburgh, Exeter, Southampton and Warwick universities, after cancelled classes, shut down libraries and closed campuses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The petition criticises Sheffield Uni for “not doing enough to support its students” and calls for the policy to be implemented for second and third years and postgraduate students at Sheffield.

Jake Verity, the SU president, told The Tab Sheffield the SU is “100% supporting” the idea.

Most universities are not expected to fully reopen before September, with the unprecedented disruption coming after two bouts of strikes by the UCU that saw 22 days of teaching lost for many.

The petition says: “All classes are now online meaning students are missing out on being taught to the usual standard and many have missed out on essential practical workshops for their courses. This is on top of many classes being missed due to strikes in term 1 and term [2].

“Now all university buildings have closed, students can not access library books or other essential learning facilities. Many students mental health will be extremely negatively impacted by the pandemic, many will have to work in unsuitable environments that will not allow them to work to their full potential, and many will be hindered by coronavirus directly affecting them or their loved ones.”

It adds: “It is about time our University did something to protect the welfare of their student body. This year has been rife with difficulties and it is not fair for assessment changes, communicated via email (in some cases, less than a month before the exams are to be sat) to determine our futures.

“A safety net would alleviate so much pressure and allow us all to focus on what is actually important in our education; learning and bettering ourselves.”

Sheffield has so far not issued any guidance to students on how assignments will take the chaos into account, only saying that invigilated summer exams are moving online. It has left most anxious and uncertain over what will happen to their grades this semester.

Verity added: “We’re really supportive of students setting up this petition, and when we found out about the ‘safety net policy’, our entire Officer Team agreed that it is a good idea and that we are 100% supporting it.

“Our Education Officer, Charlie already mentioned this policy to the University when it was being set up, but now we know more about it we agree that it’s a fantastic idea.

“Our SU Officer Team are very happy to amplify the voice of students on this petition, and to take this to the University for the benefit of our students.”

Sheffield Uni has been contacted for comment.

You can sign the petition here.