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University allows essay, exam extensions for students who suffer ‘racial trauma’

Students at a British university now can get extensions for essays and exams due to “racial trauma” … and the school will have to take their word for it.

According to Sky News, Goldsmiths University has agreed to a proposal from its Students’ Union which adds “racial trauma” to the list of “extenuating circumstances” for such deferrals.

Goldsmith Students’ Union President Sara Bafo tweeted on Wednesday that essay/exam postponements are accomplished via student “self-certification” — a move away, she says, from “providing so called evidence.” (The university will “assess” students’ requests, however.)

Bafo added that “institutional/systemic racism […] clearly impacts” minority students’ ability to complete essays and exams.

Around 48 percent of Goldsmiths student population is minority, according to a diversity and inclusion report from last year. This is approximately 25 percent higher than the UK university average.

From the story:

Other categories in Goldsmiths’ deferral policy include medical conditions, trauma, bereavement, court attendance, and caring responsibilities.

Professor Frances Corner, warden of Goldsmiths, University of London, said: “This change relates to our extenuating circumstances policy which enables students to ask us to take into account serious life events when assessing their progress with their studies.

“Self-certification for this kind of support is common at universities and students are entitled to proper support when the need arises.

“A student must submit a detailed statement which is carefully considered by academic departments who then decide an appropriate response.”

The Express reports Michaela Community School founder Katharine Birbalsingh slammed Goldsmiths’ decision: “It’s just this weird category that has come out now called racial trauma because then you think what does that mean exactly?

“I’d love to have a definition of that, what it means and who it applies to. Can anyone suffer from racial trauma or are there only certain races that can do so?”

Read the Sky News and Express articles.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.