The current system is rigid and doesn’t allow for flexibility for students whose circumstances don’t have evidence, so as a result, students aren’t achieving the best grades they possibly can as they’re not given a very common courtesy that the "real world" implements.
So my big idea is that we, YOUR students union, lobby the university so that we have self-certification as an option for students who are unable to get evidence or an emergency happens that they still have the opportunity to complete assignments to the best of their ability.
As a widening participation university, we have a diverse student body, with differing life experiences and journeys, UCLan should be empowering and nurturing students to succeed in their studies, “where opportunity creates success” and yet the mitigating circumstances policy doesn’t allow the students to fully succeed at university when life is challenging.
A self-certification mitigating circumstance typically refers to a situation where a student faces an unforeseen challenge or difficulty that significantly affects their ability to meet deadlines. These circumstances are usually temporary in nature and could include illness, family emergencies, or unexpected personal issues (because we’re all human at the end of the day).
The self-certification part means that the student can claim mitigating circumstances without providing specific evidence or documentation, relying on their own honesty and integrity (and let's face it, going through mitigating circumstances is more work than the assignments themselves). However, universities usually have guidelines regarding the types of circumstances that qualify and may limit the number of times a student can self-certify within a given semester or academic year.
This policy change recognises that students might face unexpected challenges that affect their studies but may not always have formal evidence to back up their situation. It allows students to request deadline extensions or rescheduled exams, based on their self-declaration of the mitigating circumstance.
It's not only something UCLan students want, it's what they need and deserve. Students should be trusted until proven otherwise. In the “real world” employees are allowed to self-certify for 7 days and are trusted so why doesn’t Uclan do the same for its students?
Universities that already do this include but is not limited to:
University of Manchester
University of Westminster
University of Warwick
Imperial College London
University of Reading
University of Salford
University of Surrey
Nottingham Trent University
University of East Anglia
There is also currently a form going out to all students regarding YOUR experiences with mitigating circumstances the link to the form is here and we would love to hear your views!