A Cardiff University lecturer who called students “idiots” in an online video conversation has been asked to “stand down” from her role as chair of the school’s undergraduate extenuating circumstances committee.
The video, which was posted online earlier this week, was mistakenly uploaded to a student portal and shared with students, according to student news website, The Tab.
The footage, shared by the student newspaper, shows Biosciences lecturer Helen McCarthy talking about a student posting a link to a petition during her online lecture which said that students were going to “protest” about the four hour exam period and there was no safety net policy.
She was caught on camera calling students “idiots” after discussing the safety net policy proposed by some undergraduates.
A ‘safety net’ policy is a means to ensure that no student will be disadvantaged academically by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time, Cardiff University said it was investigating the incident.
On Thursday, a statement released by a spokesman for the university said: “In light of the incident, Dr McCarthy was asked to stand down by the Head of School as Chair of the School’s undergraduate Extenuating Circumstances Committee, as we recognise the importance of retaining student confidence in that procedure.
“Dr McCarthy is no longer involved in extenuating circumstances considerations.”
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In the video, Dr McCarthy said: “I hadn’t even started my lecture and (student) put a chat notice up for my lecture giving a website petition, stating about that they were going to protest about the four hour exam period and there was no safety net policy.
“I couldn’t find a way of deleting it, so I literally just put a note saying ‘do not reply to this’ in the chat, thank you. This is ridiculous.
“This is what happens you give them a safety net and all of a sudden you take that away and they’re like ‘oh my God’.
“Well, students have graduated for hundreds of years without the bloody safety net policy how do you think we all got here.”
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She said that last year students had 24 hours to complete the exam and the reason behind this was that some were in different time zones.
“The disadvantage with the 24 hours is that you spend too much time on an essay and you over-think things and you tweak things and you end up removing things that you wish you hadn’t because you’ve got too much thinking time,” she added, before saying that “there is an uprising” amongst students.
When another lecturer on the call suggests that this may be the reason for absences, she responds: “What are they doing? Protesting with their absence? Idiots, absolute idiots”.