Last week, Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) published an update on the prospect of releasing exam dates earlier, stating there was no way to release the exam timetable earlier than week seven of the semester without compromising provisions for students with disabilities.
This update by the sabbatical officers followed a petition for the release of earlier exam dates last term, signed by over 2,700 students and delivered by the International Students Action Group Convenor Maxwell Greenberg.
The update recommended that international students book their flights for the end of exam period, or wait until the exam timetable is released.
The sabbatical officers stated in the update: “Giving students a large window of opportunity to come forward to request learning adjustments allows the University to cater not only to an increasing number of students requiring reasonable adjustments overall, but also to those whose disabilities are only identified after they have started studying, or who have tried to pursue their studies initially without requesting adjustments.”
This update has been met with criticism, some of which accused the University of using access as an excuse for lack of investment in the issue, and condemning the sabbatical officers for abandoning the issue.
Responding to the negative backlash online, the sabbatical officers have released an update on the update, stating that while “releasing the exam dates earlier in the semester would not be possible”, they were looking into other solutions to the issue.
They said: “Following our update earlier this week about the issue of the release of exam dates we would like to clarify that the door has not been closed on this issue – we take all concerns brought to us by students very seriously and do everything in our power to bring about a positive outcome for our members.”
The Academic Committee has invited students to attend a meeting next Tuesday (October 14) at 6pm in Teviot Dining Room, to hold representatives from the University to account on this issue, as well as discuss ideas.
Dash Sekhar, EUSA Vice President Academic Affairs, told The Student: “There are a few details that were missed with the social media coverage – firstly, the EUSA statement on it was an update. The issue was never dropped.”
Responding to the confusion about provisions made for disabled students, Sekhar replied: “The reasonable adjustments that are made for disabled students aren’t simply just University policy – it’s tied into equality, into the allowances that are made.
“I’ve done a bit of research in the past few days and there are similar provisions in St Andrews, Glasgow, and Dundee – it’s common in Scotland due to the flexible degree structure.
“The issue really is the cost of flights; release of exams dates is an issue because flights are expensive, exam dates are an issue because exams exist, so the two things that we are doing now is looking into whether the University could provide better provision for students looking to book flights, or alternatively, pushing for more take home exams, essay options, which alleviates the strain on the exam period currently.”