Joint statement on proposed changes to simple extension

We, the University of Sydney SUPRA Disability Equity Officer and SRC Disabilities Officers, express our strong opposition to the University’s proposed reduction of simple extension from five days to three days.

The change will disproportionately impact students with disabilities who already face significant barriers to equal educational opportunities and attainment. These pressures, when combined with the cost of living crisis, the housing crisis, and the steep increase in HECS-HELP debts last month, means that students are under greater stress than ever before to juggle academics, life, health and work.

Students with disabilities and students who are carers are more likely to experience accident, misadventure and unforeseen circumstances. The five day simple extension complements existing disability services. Two days means the difference between going through a simple request and being forced to go through a vexed and lengthy Special Considerations application. This difference goes a long way in alleviating academic pressures that not only students, but staff, face during assessment and exam season.

SUPRA and the SRC ran a survey to find out student opinion on simple extensions. In the survey, 98% of students supported a continuation of 5-day simple extensions. Students with disabilities  responded to and provided testimony to the survey, “For many of us with learning disabilities, the simple extension provides me enough time to deal with the anxiety and stress of assignments.” A carer who responded to the survey said “Additionally, as a primary carer I do not qualify for disability provisions as I do not currently have any personal disability diagnoses, and accessing such diagnosis is not financially viable for me right now. The current simple extensions system makes life a lot easier for me to navigate certain carer responsibilities that pop up.

We urge that members of the University Academic Board vote decisively against the proposed changes for student welfare, equal opportunity and a better university experience for everyone.

In solidarity,
Gemma Lucy Smart, SUPRA Disability Equity Officer
Khanh Tran, SRC Disabilities Officer
Jack Scanlan, SRC Disabilities Officer.