There are a lot of different things I could talk about here, and I can’t ever cover all of them in one editorial, but before I begin, credit where credit is due – the recent U-turn on the return to campus and the decision to hold graduations in person are good decisions – Ka Pai.
But what this editorial is about is one area where the University is failing. UoA Students deserve a grade bump this semester.In Semester One, in recognition of the disruption caused by COVID-19, all students received a 5% grade boost. This semester, the University are only providing this boost to students who achieve within 47-49% – moving their grade to a pass. That’s great for students disrupted who are now only just failing – or students whose disruption has shifted them from a C- to a D+ – but fails to recognise the wider impact of COVID-19 on all students.
You cannot measure the personal effect of a global pandemic for each student – It’s impossible to assess the multitude of ways that students or their whānau have been affected. That’s why a grade boost is an ideal solution – it recognises the widespread impact and gives everyone a lift.
So even if you’re passing why do you deserve the boost? Because you can’t only recognise the impact for students where they’re in the marginal fail group. A range students may now be B students, B’s become C’s and so on. Late penalties stack up and personal situations outside of the university impact on grades. Your GPA has implications far beyond passing or failing – access to scholarships, postgraduate qualifications, and competitive entry programmes all dependent on maintaining a certain GPA. To only provide a grade boost to the D+ students tell students that provided they pass, they should be okay. But this is not what the rest of the system tells us.
The University must give all students a 5% grade boost this semester. It’s imperative to supporting student wellbeing in what has been a somewhat shitty year.
In an email sent a couple weeks ago, Dawn Freshwater said her key concern during this period was to “ensure certainty and predictability for our students and staff”.
Since that email came out, Freshwater has:
Where is the certainty? Where is the predictability?
The University of Auckland has more flip-flops than a jandal factory. It has more second thoughts than a sentient clock. It changes heart quicker than a doctor performing by-pass surgery; it changes course more often than a first-year failing med. It backtracks like an osteopath observing a slow spinal recovery. It pulls off one-eighties like prime Tony Hawk. It has more reversals up its sleeve than my Mum playing Uno.
We deserve better than this.