18 Apr 2012

Students' Association backs tough Otago policy on grades

1:00 pm on 18 April 2012

The Otago University Students' Association is supporting a move to kick out hundreds of students with poor grades.

Under a tougher academic progress policy, the university suspended 249 students last year, compared to 84 in 2010.

Under the policy, any student who does not pass half of their papers for three semesters in a row can be suspended for two years.

A report to the Otago University Council shows total enrolments last year were down by 1% for the second year in a row, due mainly to the suspensions.

The policy was brought in two years ago despite criticisms of elitism, but the university says it is gaining overall from a focus on quality rather than quantity.

Students' Association president Logan Edgar backs the tougher stance and says it will uphold the value of degrees.

"The general feeling will be that students are comfortable with this measure."

All New Zealand universities have academic progress policies on their books, but Otago appears to be using the powers to suspend students more than other institutions.