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Proposed Increase in Penalty for Late Assignments Knocked Back

Proposed Increase in Penalty for Late Assignments Knocked Back

WORDS BY ALISON ESLAKE

The two-percent-per-day late penalty on assignments for Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences students came under review today at an Arts Faculty Board meeting, with some university staff members proposing to increase the daily penalty to ten or even twenty percent.

The proposed change to a five percent per day late penalty to begin in 2018 - in time for the Arts Faculty's merge with the Education and Social Work Faculty - was ultimately defeated after a straw poll indicated it did not have the support required to pass.

Daniel Ergas was one of three student representatives present at the meeting, and argued that students who work to keep up with the rising cost of Sydney living would disproportionately affect disadvantaged students.

"Students are working many more hours, in more jobs, with far higher rents, utilities and incidental costs to pay," he said.
"Students from low-SES and international backgrounds are those who are most vulnerable to increased late penalties."

Arguments for the change included fairness to students who submit their assignments by the due date, and who are therefore possibly at a disadvantage to students who use extra time to fine-tune their work, as well as the development of valuable organisational skills in graduates. It was pointed out, however, that until the University's Special Consideration system is viable, any changes to the late penalty would be premature.

"The Special Consideration system is broken; it is cruel to subject students to punitive measures when the University is so comprehensively failing them," said Ergas.

The proposal has been referred back to the Undergraduate Programs Committee for further review, but with the University's Strategic Plan steaming ahead for 2018 and neither the Arts nor Education Faculty prepared to compromise on its late penalty, the issue will is likely to come up again. "The fight isn't over yet," said Ergas.

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