In violation of the current Covid rules, 650 students weren’t allowed into the exam hall until five minutes before their exam of European Union Laws was set to start on Monday morning. The lecturers said it wouldn’t be fair if some students had access to the exam before others.
It’s exactly the kind of situation students have been worried about for the past few weeks: a jam-packed exam hall that increases the risk of the coronavirus spreading. Students have been arguing for the return on online exams since December. Two weeks ago, eight student organisations wrote an open letter to the board of directors, detailing their concerns.
The board took various actions over the past few weeks in effort to allay these concerns. They distributed medical face masks at the exam hall, ventilated more, created a third exam opportunity, and promised to open exam hall doors half an hour before the start of exams so students could keep their distance while slowly entering the hall.
According to the European law department’s secretarial office, ‘the exam rules and the Covid rules are a little contradictory’. If students are allowed inside the exam hall half an hour beforehand and the exams have already been distributed, some students could take advantage of the situation by looking at the questions before they’re allowed to. That would give them unlicensed extra time.
To prevent this, lecturers decided to keep the doors closed until five minutes before the exam was to start. According to the secretarial office, this won’t happen during the next exam, ‘because this exam will be administered online next time.’
According to a student who sat the exam, the decision caused a giant traffic jam in the Aletta Jacobs building. Because of the new rules, hundreds of students had arrived at the exam hall with plenty of time to spare but were forced to wait ‘jam-packed’ for thirty minutes for the doors to finally open.
‘The lecturers were in the wrong here’, says UG spokesperson Anja Hulshof. ‘The dean immediately took care of it. He sent all invigilators a message reiterating the new rules and that students are definitely allowed inside thirty minutes beforehand.’
In order to prevent this from happening at other departments’ exams, Hulshof says all other departments are asked to ‘remind their invigilators that they need to open the exam hall doors thirty minutes before the start of the exam’.