University staff member refers to Students for Academic Mitigation campaign as “cyber terrorism”
Print Editor Bryony Gooch reports on the response to Students For Academic Mitigation’s #SaveOurGradesDay campaign
Students have responded in outrage after seeing leaked emails from the Head of Education Services equating an email campaign from Students for Academic Mitigation to “cyber terrorism”.
The email also referred to the “email protest” in question as “a damp squib”, advising University staff not to respond to any emails.
It also cited “hard hit teams like SID and Hubs” as being affected by the “protest”, expressing “I hope it’s possible to take care of these at a bulk rate.”
The “email protest” in question refers to a campaign by Students for Academic Mitigation called #SaveOurGradesDay. As part of this protest, students commented on university social media voicing their concerns about the lack of academic mitigation during the pandemic.
“We also asked everyone to keep comments polite”, said a spokesperson from the group.
The spokesperson from Students for Academic Mitigation went on to say:
“We want to continue a constructive and positive dialogue with the university.
“The aim of today has always been for as many student voices as possible to throw themselves behind the student representatives who meet with the university and negotiate these policies, to make clear that the views they express to the senior team are held by the majority of the student body.
“We encouraged students to reach out to academic staff they know personally through seminars or tutors, to open up a dialogue with those members of staff about how we appreciate their efforts but that we still need more support in the form of a formal policy.
“We want to ally ourselves with the academics that do so much to support us, not alienate them. It was never intended to overwhelm internal student hubs and help desks as the email suggested. This was a peaceful form of self-expression open to all students, not a militant attack on the University.”
We want to ally ourselves with the academics that do so much to support us, not alienate them.Students For Academic Mitigation
Student Guild President Sunday Blake went on to state:
“I have been made aware of unacceptable language used about students by one individual staff member in an internal email.
“We condemn the language. And, as Exeter is a University of Sanctuary, believe the comparison to be in particularly bad taste. I raised this with the Vice Chancellor directly, who took it very seriously and began to deal with it immediately. I believe the University will issue an apology.
“Can I please ask no one sends further emails directly to the individual’s email address, which was visible.
“I am concerned that this action would be seen as mobilising against an individual and this could become a harassment campaign.”
I understand that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the Education team have been working with student representatives on our policy and hope to communicate this in the next day or soHead of Education Services
The member of staff in question also released an apology on social media:
“I apologise for the unwise choice of words in my earlier message. As I understood it, the aim of today’s protest was to bombard all University enquiry points with high numbers of messages so as to disrupt our operations.
“For the Education Services Teams, this would mean we were unable to respond to enquiries from students who may need urgent help. Supporting our students is our priority at all times.
“I understand that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the Education team have been working with student representatives on our policy and hope to communicate this in the next day or so.”
Exeposé asked the University if their position on mitigation had changed and are awaiting further updates.
Students For Academic Mitigation started in Exeter as a campaign for academic mitigation under the circumstances of the pandemic. It has now spread to a national effort with its petition receiving over 19,000 signatures.