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Simple extensions saved from brink, expanded to all faculties

Alexandros Tsathas reports on how the simple extension was saved

USyd’s student representative bodies have snatched a last minute victory for simple extensions in the closing minutes of the final Academic Board meeting of 2015.

Wednesday afternoon’s meeting saw the academic board vote 17-13 in favour of an amendment to Assessment Procedure policy that means simple extensions on assessments are able to be granted at the discretion of relevant academics university-wide.

The amendment, which was proposed by SUPRA vice president Thomas Greenwell, comes after a proposal in an August Board meeting that would have seen the simple extensions clause removed entirely.

The amendment still requires approval from the Senate–usually a formality– and will see simple extensions installed in full in university policy. Ironically, the campaign to kill simple extensions has backfired, with Greenwell’s amendment applicable to all faculties (not just Arts, as was the case previously).

Newly-elected SRC President Chloe Smith presented the Board with a petition started by outgoing Education Officer Blythe Worthy and signed by 536 students opposing the removal of simple extensions. Reading the petition to the Board, she explained that they were a reasonable solution to inevitable cases of illness and misadventure.

Incoming Education Officer Liam Carrigan also spoke in favour of the proposed amendment, highlighting the enormous pressures placed on today’s students and the slow pace at which more formal requests are processed.

He called the decision “pro-student”, and explained that it “ensures that for students facing pressures like stable housing and mental health issues, there’s still policy in place that ensures they don’t fail units or assessments”.

Academics opposing the motion questioned the equity of simple extensions. They also suggested that a more formal system, where all requests for extensions were logged, would mean that the University could better identify and assist those students in need of help.

The final result of the amendment will be heard after the Senate next meets on December 14.