Reason for failing a student

14-Feb-20, 20:59
edited about 14 seconds later
by ildemo
Avatar for ildemo
posted about 2 months ago
My university has two examination before the submission of a PhD, and a couple of months ago I was failed at the second one. I have decided to first get a new supervisor (a god-sent professor from a different University whom I met at a conference immediately after the failure, and who got really into my work) and then to appeal the decision.

Since then, I have asked and obtained emails and documents on my examination process, and A LOT of things turned out:

One of my examiners, long before the examination, appears to have gone around saying I was "ugly. fat. and stupid" and I would have certainly failed. And my supervisor put him on the board against my wishes.

He wrote that he was certain I would have failed after receiving (illegaly, and without my knowledge) a draft of my exam submission months before my examination. And my supervisor put him on the board against my wishes.

He wrote so to the department several months before the examination. And the department put him on the board.

My secondary supervisor tried to remove him from the board. The department did not listen to him, since he had already resigned my supervision to move to Germany.

They failed me, they say, on what had emerged in the oral examination, but three days before my supervisor was enquiring on my chances of appeal when (not if) I would have been failed.

today I have appealed the decision of failing me to the internal board. According to my lawyer chances are that all of this does not matter, since historically my university drags these decision until the OIA, where they inevitably lose.

And I am here, wasting time, wasting money in a Kafkaesque process that crushes me.
17-Feb-20, 15:36
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 months ago
Hi idemo,

I am sorry to hear you failed and offer my sympathies. Difficult examiners are awful and I don't know why your supervisors let them him barge his way onto your committee like that.

I am assuming that you failed your oral viva at an American university. While not an expert in the American system, did they not give you reasons to why they failed you? Like can you not work on amending the thesis to address their concerns or have they vague general statements. As doing corrections might faster than the legal process.
29-Feb-20, 02:48
edited about 25 seconds later
by ildemo
Avatar for ildemo
posted about 2 months ago
Hello Rewt

I'm enrolled at a university in the UK, and the reasons why they failed me are... ludicrous, and unacceptable on a academic point of view. Of course, being that the academic point of view is unassailable, what I am about to write could not be part of my appeal.

As I have said, my university has two exams (end of the first and of the second year).
The first exam was solely concerned with my analytical theory for historical analysis, and I was passed without any issue.
In the second exam, with different examiners (against the regulations) they say they are failing me because of the analytical theory. They accept and praise the data and my command of them. They accept and laud how "interesting" the patterns that my data reveal are. They do not discuss my conclusions, based on the data and the pattern, and analyzed with the theory passed in the first exam.
They fail me, officially, because they do not like the theory passed in the first examination.

When they failed me the first time, they pointed out a series of issues with my work. I have taken their suggestions and run with them, re-shaping my dissertation entirely. But I now know - it was written in their emails - that the points they raised were just so I would sink quickly, and that they had no intention of guiding me to a better dissertation. And the analytical theory was not part of these corrections.

But this is secondary. When I say that the reason they failed me are ludicrous, I do so because the reasons written in the report are simply the justification of an already taken decision.
There is a trail of emails 18 months long, in which the main examiner states time and time again that I will never pass.There is even an email in which the faculty asks the University if I must have a second examination, since "it will certainly be wasted".

The decision was taken in 2018. They only needed to find a way to justify it.


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