WAM for Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences Students — 2 July 2020

Last week, UMSU presented a document of student testimonials to the Academic Board. The testimonials were regarding the recent decision to not include 2020 results in applications to the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences. The testimonials include a wide range of reasons as to why these changes will negatively impact them, such as poor results in first year and difficulties with mental health. When we first heard of this decision, we were told that the changes were approved by Academic Board. This is not true: this decision was made by the Executives of the Academic Board in an out-of-session meeting.

UMSU has been contacted by hundreds of concerned students about how this change is going to negatively impact them, and launched a petition which received over 1.5k signatures. Since this decision did not actually come to the Academic Board, we put forward a motion asking the Board to review this decision, and to explore the possibility of implementing an opt-in/opt-out system. Unfortunately, this motion did not pass, with the final vote tally being 33 for reviewing, 39 against reviewing. Despite the fact that the motion did not pass, it is interesting to see so many academics in favour of reviewing the decision which the Academic Board made executively.

We have been advised that to counteract the negative impacts of this decision there will be more places for interviews for entry into MDHS this year, meaning that students with a less competitive WAM may still have a chance of entry. Additionally, it was revealed that this selections change is currently only applicable for semester 1 of 2020, and the inclusion of winter term and semester 2 will be reviewed later this year. If semester 2, 2020 results are considered for entry to the MDHS, this means that honours students will be able to include their marks for consideration for entry into MDHS for the 2022 intake if they are finishing at the end of the year. The testimonials that UMSU provided will be taken into consideration for the decision to include these marks.

We will be strongly advocating for the inclusion of winter term and semester 2 results. We believe that this change will negatively impact students and we will keep fighting for a more equitable approach to entry into the MDHS.

Hannah Buchan
UMSU President

Georgia Walton Briggs
Student Representative, Education Academic