Door Mohammed Badran op 07 May 2022
When a BIPOC student studies in a white institution and is evaluated according to pre-designed criteria set by the same institution, then further assessed by two white assessors, it is too easy to say that race does not play a role here. Assuming and believing that the institution's policies, assessment procedure, criteria, and perspective are all objective and neutral. Oddly enough, we have been taught during the classes that there is no such thing as 'neutral' or 'objective' but at the same time these two criteria are now being used to delegitimize the lived experience of one of its BIPOC students. Regarding the grading of the thesis, my supervisor's final grade (which was 7 from the beginning) never actually changed even after rewriting the thesis where I incorporated some of the feedback and had extensive email discussions trying to build a convincingly enough argument. At the first thesis evaluation, there was a significant difference between the two evaluations in grading parts of the thesis (such as the theoretical framework) whereas the second assessor graded it with a 6, and my supervisor graded it with an 8. This significant difference demonstrates that there is no such thing as a 'neutral' perspective by the assessors. Further, when the process of writing the thesis was evaluated, the thesis received a low grade of 6 for missing deadlines and my 'activism' approach. So, I wonder how the department assessment procedure views active engagement by students with social issues and whether there is even a space for it? Do we receive grades for it or do we lose grades? Is it viewed as 'active engagement' or 'activism' when it's carried by white/BIPOC students? To conclude, the department assessment procedure is not inclusive. It does not situate and consider how one’s background shape expressions. The assessors reduce the research and BIPOC voices to data and objective analysis. The department’s struggle is evident through the procedural discrepancies besides all shortcomings and lack of attention to such issues during the supervision process. Finally, I do not want that the department draws an exception line based on ethnic origin but I do wish that they redesign a more inclusive and fair system for BIPOC voices and not the institution. It requires bold actions - and not just words from the department and the institution as a whole to truly decolonize the curriculum and move towards a more inclusive policy.

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