"No Detriment" policy for Maynooth University

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(This excerpt is adapted from the petition made to UCC and DCU. Please sign the 'No Detriment' policies for UCC and DCU)

The COVID-19 pandemic and the following measures taken by the Irish government have impacted each student at Maynooth University in various ways.

- Many students depend on university facilities such as the library, the maths support center, the writing support center, laboratories across campus, and various other facilities, equipment, hardware, and software. Srudents no longer have access to many of these.

- Since the university closure, many students are now bereft of a suitable working environment, WiFi, laptops, computers and even office equipment.

- Students may be exposed to toxic living conditions, without proper access to a safe place to do assessments and continuous assessment work in. Students will now be required to complete assessment in an environment that is not conducive to achieving their true potential. This is without even taking into consideration the possibility of being exposed to and caring for sick family members. 

- As the announcement of university closure was sudden, many students will not have adequately prepared for this disruption in their studies and simply cannot achieve the grades they would have had the pandemic not interfered. It goes without saying that many of our students are now at a serious disadvantage, and need proper university support.

With the conversion of many modules to continuous assessment based grading, and online examinations approaching, many students do not have access to the resources they require to achieve the grade they deserve, or to maintain their current grade. 

We, the students of Maynooth University are asking the university to implement a "no detriment" system, in a similar manner to those being deployed across the universities of the United Kingdom, for example Exeter, Southhampton, and Edinburgh. 

At 9.40AM on the 25th of March 2020 the University of Exeter announced that student assessment would be mitigated through a "safety net" policy. The Deputy Vice Chancellor wrote that:

"So long as students would qualify to progress/graduate based on their marks obtained this year ... then the university will ensure that students' final academic year average is the same as, or higher than, the average they have attained up to Sunday 15th March."

"If students achieve higher marks in assessments submitted and examinations undertaken after Sunday 15th March then they will be able to raise your mark for the year."

To summarise, "as long as you qualify to pass the year, completing the summer assessments can only help not hinder you because we will not let the extraordinary circumstances in which you are completing these assessments leave you with a mark below your current overall mark."

We would urge Maynooth University to consider the impact that this unprecedented situation has had on students. It is affecting not only academic performance but also on their mental health as stress and anxiety build. Implementing such a mitigation strategy would ensure that "no student is disadvantaged" and that each student is given an opportunity to live up to their potential.

Further information on these policies being implemented in the UK is linked below:

[1] https://thetab.com/uk/exeter/2020/03/25/exeter-uni-implements-no-detriment-policy-for-summer-assessments-47331

[2] https://thetab.com/uk/soton/2020/03/26/sotons-no-detriment-policy-means-your-grades-cant-go-below-your-current-average-83828

[3] https://thetab.com/uk/edinburgh/2020/03/26/breaking-no-remaining-exams-assessments-can-negatively-impact-your-course-grades-for-this-semester-65113