Student Welfare Updates

21 February 2021

UM Law Society
Student Concerns and Feedback

Dear members of the faculty,

Earlier today, the UM Law Society received an anonymous feedback email raising a few student concerns. Hence, we seek to address and clarify those concerns.

1. Club/Society Recruitment

Concern was raised as to the Society’s handling of the Deputy Dean’s decision to suspend club recruitment processes early in the semester, believing that the Society had unquestioningly supported the Deputy Dean’s decision. We hope that the following paragraphs will provide some clarity as to the events.

For a brief overview of the facts, the recruitment suspension was ordered by the faculty administration effective immediately. A meeting with the Deputy Dean was promptly requested to negotiate on the issue.

In the meantime, the Society released a statement notifying all students of the order. This was to ensure that students were aware and able to voice their concerns. A meeting with Law Society subprojects and all student bodies in the faculty was also called to discuss the matter and obtain feedback.
The Society advocated for the full lifting of suspension and voiced students’ concerns in the scheduled meeting attended by Pn Wirni on behalf of the Deputy Dean who was unavailable. A document stating the Society’s stance, the collective concerns of all stakeholders including subprojects and students, and proposed solutions, was conveyed to the Deputy Dean.

In response, the faculty lifted the suspension in part; however, they were adamant on the first years being excluded from recruitment. Ensuing discussions with the subprojects saw them understanding of the Faculty’s decision.

Even so, the Society’s correspondence with Pn. Wirni on the matter continued. The concerns were eventually acknowledged, and the suspension was lifted in totality. A statement on the total lift was then conveyed to the students.

We wish to assure all students that the UM Law Society always strives to ensure that the best interests of all members of the faculty are preserved. The Society will always advocate for students’ concerns and to the best of our abilities, ensure that the concerns are addressed.

2. Outbound Policy

With regard to the Outbound Policy in place, concerns were raised as to the feasibility of travelling abroad to fulfil the policy requirement. We would firstly like to provide assurance that students will not be required to leave the country to fulfil the policy for the time being. In this pandemic, the current outbound policy applies only in a virtual context.

The policy seeks to encourage students to exchange ideas, share their cultures and experiences and discuss international and domestic issues. In this online semester, participation in the Online Student Exchange Programme, which allows students to obtain similar benefits to a physical exchange programme, will fulfil the requirement. Participation in any international online event recognised by the faculty will also meet this requirement.

The Society is still liaising with the faculty to obtain a more detailed explanation on the revised policy and will update accordingly. We take note of ongoing concerns on the policy which centres primarily around opportunities and logistical matters. We also acknowledge that students may have additional concerns especially given the online setting. We therefore encourage students to fill in this feedback form; http://shorturl.at/hmAJV prepared to collect the concerns surrounding the policy.

3. Final Examinations

The concern raised revolved around final examinations being held during lecture weeks. We wish to clarify that university-level policy dictates that:

• Lecturers are highly encouraged to conduct assessments in place of final examinations. Exceptions are made when lecturers opine that the course objectives will not be able to be fulfilled without a final examination.

• Course structure, assessments and assessment dates are dependent on lecturers’ discretion.

Our previous meeting with the faculty saw them recognise that students had an incredibly tough time dealing with clashing exam dates coupled with the delay in informing students of the course structure and assessment dates.

The faculty has acknowledged that this is an issue and has promised us that they will ask lecturers to provide students with the course structure and assessment dates early on.
Students are encouraged to discuss with their respective lecturers should there be any concerns or need for change in the scheduled dates as much is up to the lecturer’s discretion. In the event that lecturers are not willing to understand concerns from students, the UM Law Society encourages students to reach out to us so we may propose solutions and/or alert the administration on the matter.

4. Arising Issues

The last concern raised in the email we received is regarding our response to arising issues. We acknowledge that there has been a number of arising issues throughout Semester 1 of the 20/21 Academic Year. We would like to assure students that we have been in constant communication with the Faculty to tackle issues such as the ones listed above.

However, it has admittedly been difficult for us to arrange meetings, communicate with the Faculty and obtain a prompt response on student issues. Currently, the faculty has agreed to have more frequent email correspondence to hopefully prevent lengthier delays in addressing student concerns.

Additionally, we acknowledge that students have not been updated at every juncture of our processes and we have previously received feedback on that as well. The coming semester will see more frequent circulation of memos to WhatsApp batch groups to update students on our course of action whenever issues arise. This would also allow us to gather more feedback from students in the process as well.

Regardless, if there are any arising issues, our anonymous student concerns and feedback form, http://shorturl.at/dhkFO will always be available on our Instagram bio, and at the “About” section of our Facebook page. Students may also reach out to any UMLS Officer to convey their concerns if they are comfortable doing so.

Rest assured, the UM Law Society always welcomes and appreciates any feedback given and will always strive to act upon concerns raised to the best of our abilities. The interests of all students of the faculty have always been and will continue to spur our course of action in addressing and advocating for student concerns.

UM Law Society 20/21
Facebook: UM Law Society
Instagram: @umlawsociety
Twitter: @umlawsociety

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