The University of Auckland has ruled out a universal grade bump for this semester. Despite clear demand from AUSA, and almost 5000 signatories on a student petition, senior leadership have confirmed it will not be repeated as it appeared in Semester One, 2020.
In an email to the AUSA president this afternoon, the University stated that while last year’s grade bump was well received by students, they say it had unintended consequences that all universities in New Zealand deemed undesirable. “Perhaps the most significant of these was that it resulted in some students progressing into their next level of study without having gained sufficient knowledge and skills.”
Since before the mid-semester break, AUSA has been campaigning hard for the University to ramp up their academic support for students. “Obviously we’re very disappointed with the decision, especially around the grade bump,” says AUSA president Anamika Harirajh. “I do appreciate that the University has been working hard on addressing our concerns over the last week but we do not think that their decisions take into consideration the severe disruptions students across the University are facing.”
Several other avenues proposed by AUSA for academic support have also been outright rejected, including a fees free retake of failed courses, and a fees free aegrotat or compassionate consideration process. Application fees for aegrotat consideration are $10 per test and $30 per exam, which some students have criticised. The University stated in their email that removing fees led to the service being overwhelmed, but that students in “genuine hardship” can access the Student Emergency Fund.
The University has said that they will continue to support having failed courses excluded from GPA calculations, and extending the deadline for course deletion by one week. The University is also offering postgraduate research and doctoral students free extensions. All courses that previously had an exemption to hold exams in person will now be held online with the option of digital invigilation, excluding a very small number of final year courses.
The decision to exclude a grade bump will no doubt be disappointing for many of the student body, including nearly 5000 students who signed a petition calling for a grade bump to be implemented. The petition cited testing and vaccination, and a huge number of students deemed close contacts, as deterrents of productivity.
This decision by the University comes as Auckland is preparing to enter Alert Level 3 for at least the next two weeks. Teaching and learning continues online for the remainder of semester, while campus will open for limited services, including library click-and-collect, and Kate Edger study facilities. For more information on the University’s Covid-19 response, visit their website for updated notices.