English students scolded for abusing lecturers in survey
‘No one has forced you to be at this University’
A survey designed to get feedback about participation in the English department turned sour last night after it emerged some used the ‘anonymous’ format to heavily criticise, abuse, and swear about their tutors.
Yesterday afternoon, English Academic President Madeleine Ryan innocently sent a survey to all English students about the possibility of a mark for participation and attendance. The questions were mostly multiple choice – if students miss lectures, the reasons why, and what the preferred method of a participation mark would be. However, at the end of the survey there was an option for comments, and this is where some took the opportunity to attack the department.
Madeleine sent a further email at around 10pm saying she was “shocked at the amount of [students] who have taken the ‘anonymous’ aspect of this survey as an opportunity to attack staff members”. The message was sent to all English undergraduates. Madeleine stated it was only a “small minority” who used the survey to abuse their tutors and degree, but pointed out the use of “inappropriate language” was unacceptable, and “no one has forced [students] to be at this university”.
We spoke to Madeleine Ryan, who said: “Some students forget that the course reps and I are here to convey their opinions on changes and problems in the department”. She went on to say that, “it shocks me that some students – even finalists – are immature enough to hide behind a survey to abuse the department”.
Madeleine repeated that it was a very small number of students who used the survey in such an inappropriate way, but due to it being anonymous, the email was sent to the entire English student body. She added: “I have not and will not inform any staff member of what has been said. I am the only person who has access to the survey results and that’s how it will stay.”
“The point of the survey is to get opinions and work from there – nothing is set in stone”. She also pointed out that: “As Academic President, I represent some 600 students and I want to do what is best for everyone”.
We also talked to Humanities Faculty Officer Fraser Delves, who said “The comments relating to the participation mark will now be taken to Staff-Student Liaison Committees to be discussed”. He also wanted to “encourage students to talk to their Course Reps if they have concerns about modules and get in contact with their Personal Academic Tutor so these can hopefully be resolved as soon as possible”.
The department has seen a serious drop in attendance of lectures and seminars, and has been examining ways to combat this in order to increase participation across the board. Their survey has backfired, and highlighted some serious issues about student-staff relations. Rumours spread on social media about who had been attacked by these anonymous students, but there are no names have been confirmed at this time.
It is clear some people have significant issues in the department, but their comments and survey entries, says the Academic President, will now not be included in the final data. It is understandable that the English department don’t want to include crude language in their final report, but perhaps if people are angry enough about these issues and particular staff members to attack them anonymously, then they need to be addressed, rather than simply dismissed.