STUDENTS have been left outraged at their university's choice to hold exams in-person – but only for some subjects "picked at random".

The University of Southampton will host a handful of exams in a hall, despite 7,000 students voting for them to be held online amidst Covid fears.

Josh Shearing, 20, is a second year student who studies physics, and will be forced to take his tests in-person against his will.

He said that subjects selected for this were "picked at random", and that the university is not making the full shift to online "because it would lose funding".

"My peers and myself, all believe the uni has executed terrible management, disregard for students opinions, and their health," he said.

Hampshire Chronicle: University of Southampton

"The university has taken the stance of forcing a select few modules to take in person examinations, whilst many courses are still online.

"We are all left wondering what makes the university believe that our select few courses so much more resistant to catching coronavirus.

"Coronavirus on campus was very prevalent, 20 students caught it in campus from our course alone before the Christmas holidays. Cases, deaths and hospitalisations have only skyrocketed since then.

"During the last week of teaching and the current week, lectures and teaching have moved online due to Covid concerns, but a select few students are still being forced to attend exams.

"I must add this is aimed at the administration, not the lecturers - they’re fantastic."

Ben Dolbear, president of the University of Southampton's student union, has written an open letter to the uni's vice president. 

He said: "The number of students having to miss their examinations due to self-isolation is likely to be disruptively high. As such, we are expecting the University to receive a surge of special considerations requests, appeals, and calls for no-detriment mitigations, all of which will require significant resource from the University in coming months.

"I very much hope that the University is able to recognise the strength of feeling among the student community, and agrees to the necessary change to January assessments that I am requesting on their behalf."

Student Ronnie Nobbs said that the petition to host all exams online was "ignored".

He explained that a petition went out and got over 3,000 signatures on the day it was released.

"Never have I felt more ignored, disregarded and viscerally betrayed than now," he said.

"It was given one week to reach 250 signatures. Then a referendum came up from the student union. An all student vote for exams to be moved online.

"Out of the approximate 22,000 students in Southampton University, 7,500 students voted: 7,000 in favour of online exams, 500 not in favour.

"And they still ignored it – they have no regard for the wellbeing of their students, this is clear."

A spokesperson for the University of Southampton has addressed the situation, which has been the subject of dozens of social media posts today.

They said: "The concerns raised by our students about in-person exams have been taken very seriously, as the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is always our top priority.

"After extensive discussions, the University has decided that while a significant number of exams will take place online, some in-person exams will also take place as planned. This is in line with the Government's advice and expectation that on-campus activities can and should continue. The balance between online and in-person assessment has been carefully considered to ensure it is in the best interests of our students' long-term education with us.

"We are taking every precaution to reduce any potential risks and will only use venues that have sufficient space to allow for our COVID safety measures to be put in place. We are confident that our in-person assessment arrangements are as safe as our in-person teaching arrangements.

"Assessments are always a time of anxiety, and we have a range of academic and pastoral support in place for our students. If anyone is unable to attend an in-person exam due to COVID, or self-isolation, there is a special considerations process they can follow."