President’s Report – Week 3, Sem 1, 2016

This week, I want to talk about Simple Extensions. You’ve probably heard rumours, whispers, maybe been told one statement that’s been contradicted by another. But here’s the truth – Simple Extensions are not dead. They are very much alive, but not as you knew them.

Previously, Simple Extensions were only granted in the Arts faculty. They gave students up to five extra days to submit a non-examination assessment, without academic penalty, for reasons that don’t require documentation such as minor illness or misadventure. Last year, the university moved to scrap Simple Extensions in favour of a centralised Special Consideration system. The idea was that this would be a better way to keep track of individual issues, rather than relying on individual discretion to grant extensions.

Whilst there may be some benefits of this new system, Simple Extensions are still very important for students. The new system is still experiencing teething problems and anyone who has ever tried to register with Disability Services knows it’s not exactly a walk in the park, especially for students with mental/physical illnesses. Sometimes, students don’t have the capacity to see a doctor, especially their regular GP or psychiatrist. Sometimes you don’t know that there’s going to be a problem until the night before a due date. Simple Extensions exist to give students some breathing space in the event that something does happen.

So, what’s the go now? Student representatives from the SRC and SUPRA formed a working group with Disability Services and faculty staff and came up with a new matrix, which will see extensions reduced from a maximum of five days to a maximum of two. If an extension is granted, it will not affect a student’s ability to also apply for Special Consideration.  Importantly, this new matrix will also be available to all schools and faculties. This proposal will be put to Academic Board on March 30 and will hopefully be passed. In the meantime, your student reps are pushing faculties to clearly communicate the situation to all students – that Simple Extensions still exist and that students have a right to them. If you have any questions about the system or the information you’re receiving in your courses, get in touch with the SRC caseworkers. Enjoy week three!President

Chloe Smith

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