For years Universities have been able to hide behind academic judgment, quickly following suit was the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). However, does the recent ruling in a case by a medical student at the University of Leicester limit the OIA’s scope on this issue?
The medical student’s case was considered unjustified in the first instance by the OIA. The OIA decided against considering the issue of whether the processes and reasoning underpinning the University’s decision to not allow the medical student a repeat year was in fact fair.
The court concluded that the OIA did in fact have the remit to consider potential procedural unfairness and irrationality. It would seem that what now falls within the scope of “academic judgment” has been narrowed. Academic Judgment is to apply to decisions that are purely academic in nature, i.e. grading, attaining progression requirements etc. This is not to be confused with processes and rationale used to come to decisions. The OIA should consider the reasoning behind University decisions “if there is objective evidence of matters which suggest procedural unfairness, bias, impropriety…”
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