June 17, 2020

Vic students petition for grade bump

Victoria University students are pushing for a 5-point grade bump for all students as other universities have implemented similar frameworks to support their students.

A petition set up last week by students has now amassed over 7,000 signatures showing how important the scale up is for the many students who are currently worried about their academic futures. 

The students are also advocating for consistent protection and further improvement in the current academic climate enacted by the university. 

The plea from students comes after multiple other universities across the country bumped up their students grades by five points, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the stress it has put on students. 

Massey University decided months ago to implement universal impaired performance; MAWSA president Jacob Paterson believes this is more equitable than a universal grade bump, but is also a lot more confusing. 

Paterson also said, “We need some sort of scaling, this has been a shit time for students, our learning course quality has been worse for the last semester and grades will undoubtedly drop. This is unfair for students, especially those who study competitive courses or who are going for grad jobs and scholarships.”

Victoria University student Missy Shepherd said, “I heard that it may affect your GPA, as other students from different universities will have their grades bumped up meaning they will be more likely than Victoria students to gain access to certain programmes and potential jobs in the future.”  

Other students are also worried about the repercussions of the university not scaling up grades.

Petition organiser and law student Lachlan Craig said, “The reality is Auckland and Otago have already got this grade bump, so of course they’re advantaged, the only way this is fair is if each and every university gets this recognition. 

He also highlighted the effect this has on his mental health.

“I’m definitely behind in a lot of my classes and I’ll be surprised if my grades don’t suffer for it. I’m medicated for anxiety, my mum has just finished chemo and I work at the Wellington Regional Hospital, so you could say there’s a fair bit of pressure right now. Law is a competitive environment and I’d really like my grades not to suffer because of this pandemic.”

Students who have contacted the university about the potential need for the grade bump are also in dismay about the emails they have received back from the Vice Provost Steve Brock, as the emails are auto-generated.

Victoria University commented in their weekly newsletter to students that the university plans to look at grades of their students' assignments and see if there is any scaling needed. This will be based on whether there is a difference to previous grades of students who have taken the course.