Kingston University has introduced a policy that makes it possible for students to request mitigating circumstances for religious reasons.

By Lina Sennevall

KU trials religious mitigating circumstances

By Lina Sennevall


The policy will be on a trial basis for the academic year of 2011/12 and will make it possible for students with religious commitments to sit exams or hand in work on a different date.


A spokeswoman for KU said: “Under the policy, a student whose scheduled examination timetable conflicts with their religious observance obligations, may follow the mitigating circumstances procedures to submit a request to defer their examination to the next available opportunity.”


Welcome decision


Many have welcomed the decision, seeing it as a positive change that will allow students to fully practice their religion without worrying about overlapping deadlines.


Maryam Najumi, 21, a third-year human rights and business student, said: “I really think it’s great that Kingston University has chosen to adopt such an admirable level of tolerance when it comes to religious observance by its students.”


She added: “Before coming to Kingston I heard great things about its religious societies, especially the Islamic society which appealed to me a lot as my religious commitment is just as strong as my commitment to study.”


Inconvenience


However some said they are still unsure that the new policy was needed. Nazli Tarzi, 21, a politics and international relations student, said: “As a Muslim myself I see no disruption in having to sit or submit an assignment to the deadline I’m expected to meet. I personally feel that to cause myself a delay would be more inconvenient than beneficial.”


The University said that initial feedback from faculties following the semester one examination period showed that only a single claim for mitigating circumstances relating to religious observance was received.


Under review


They added that whether the policy will be added permanently or not will be announced once it has been reviewed by the Academic Regulations Committee and Academic Board as part of the evaluation at the end of the trial period.


Miss Najumi said: “Recognising and accommodating our needs through the permission of extending our deadlines is definitely a positive movement in improving our university experience by removing the stress of juggling regular religious activities with our ongoing studies.”


A mitigating circumstances request must be accompanied by appropriate evidence of religious observance to be accepted.


The University chaplain is able to advise staff and students on the requirements and acceptable forms of evidence.

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