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Can uni legally force me to go on a residential trip?

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    I'm having some problems at home and recently started to suffer from a lot of anxiety which is why I'm posting this anon. I transferred into the second year of a new uni and they are now telling me I have to go on a field trip for one week as part of a compulsory module. I am really anxious about leaving home for this long and with my family situation I really don't want to go. I explained this to the course leader, module leader and welfare officer but they are refusing to let me take another module or find any alternatives for me. On the programme details it says "Required modules: 80 credits are required from these modules." Each module is 20 credits and there are 5 modules listed there. I asked about 6 different people if I could just do the other module instead but they're insisting that it's compulsory to do this field trip one.

    So if you Google "undergraduate consumer rights" there's a gov.uk document explaining this kind of thing. At the bottom of page 5 it talks about how the university must make you aware of modules or field trips that are compulsory and could incur additional costs, and that they're supposed to do this on their website or on UCAS.
    The uni have a section on their website where it says Course Content/Modules and it says something like "these are some modules that you may be studying" and it does show this Field trip module but it doesn't say that it's compulsory. It just shows a mix of compulsory and optional modules but does not state which is which. It also doesn't mention anything about additional costs for the compulsory trip, and that document says if a trip is compulsory then they have to tell you the additional fees beforehand on their website.

    Just wondering if someone could read that page for me and confirm whether I'm right? They won't take mitigating circumstances into consideration because they said they would just end up deferring the trip to next year instead. So even with an MC claim I would still have to go eventually. With this document then do I have a valid reason to call them out and make them let me do another module instead? Are they breaching my consumer rights? I haven't been told about costs yet but as it is a 7 day residential trip I'm sure it won't be free.

    My first two days at this uni have been so stressful and depressing. I've been running around trying to find out who my tutor is and who to talk to but the staff have been very rude and dismissive of my personal circumstances and reasons for not being able to go.

    Any advice would be really appreciated.
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    I don't know where you stand on this legally.

    In your shoes I would seek a doctor's note explaining why you can't do the residential trip at all. Anxiety is a valid enough reason speaking from experience.
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    #1

    Also the programme details where it shows the Required Modules was only made visible to me once I logged into my student portal. On their main website they don't show you the full details, they just show 4 random modules from each year and it says you "may be studying some of these".
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    What would you get out of going / why is it compulsory? You may find the reason why you have to go is because for example, you can't complete a certain piece of coursework, for example.
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    They can't 'legally' force you to do anything.

    They can however fail you if you don't attend the residential trip.

    A doctors note will allow mitigating circumstances to be taken into consideration - but this does not exempt you from the course requirements which are likely to include coursework submissions/ assessments during the residential trip.
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    (Original post by Tiger Rag)
    What would you get out of going / why is it compulsory? You may find the reason why you have to go is because for example, you can't complete a certain piece of coursework, for example.
    The module is called Biosciences Field Course and it's just 7 days in Wales, one day at a different location. And then we have to do 2 practical reports on it. But when I applied to transfer there was nothing on theit website about this being a compulsory module, it just said these are some modules you may be studying, and now I'm here I can see that two of the other modules listed there are optional ones. When I accepted their offer and logged into my student portal I was allowed to see the full programme details and even then all it said was 4 out of these 5 modules are required, but they won't let me swap this for the other module
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    (Original post by uberteknik)
    They can't 'legally' force you to do anything.

    They can however fail you if you don't attend the residential trip.

    A doctors note will allow mitigating circumstances to be taken into consideration - but this does not exempt you from the course requirements which are likely to include coursework submissions/ assessments during the residential trip.
    The undergrad consumer rights gov document says that the uni has to tell you on their website whether a module with a field trip or extra costs is compulsory. This uni don't mention any of this on their website. When I log into my portal it says 4 out of these 5 modules are required and I've begged them to let me do the other module instead and they're refusing. So why should they be allowed to fail me when they've breached my rights/misinformed me and I'm offering to swap it for a different module and they're saying no without a valid reason?
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    Go and talk to your advisor at the SU. They cant force you but they can fail you along the lines of uberteknik. If you get the Drs Note then they may let you change. Also contact disability services.

    Btw what would your remedy be if they failed to inform you? Damages i.e the cost of the field trip or recission i.e they let you withdraw from the contract and then they refuse to accept your transfer. the point is if you want to go legal ot may not give the result you want.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    The undergrad consumer rights gov document says that the uni has to tell you on their website whether a module with a field trip or extra costs is compulsory. This uni don't mention any of this on their website. When I log into my portal it says 4 out of these 5 modules are required and I've begged them to let me do the other module instead and they're refusing. So why should they be allowed to fail me when they've breached my rights/misinformed me and I'm offering to swap it for a different module and they're saying no without a valid reason?
    You aren't helping yourself by clutching at straws and trying to make it a legal case - or how much of a course do you think people with a health issue should be allowed to miss and still pass the same course as everyone else?

    The requirement to state compulsory events that incur additional costs is a financial stipulation, so that people can budget. As others have said, they set the academic requirements, and have external verification, so they can fail you if you don't attend. Focus on your health issues, take a year out if necessary, but if this is a mandatory part of the course, you must complete it to pass.
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    No idea where you are/which uni it is, but you could always try catching a train to wales for the most important days, and come back when the work is done, so you don't have to stay overnight.
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    Go and talk to your advisor at the SU. They cant force you but they can fail you along the lines of uberteknik. If you get the Drs Note then they may let you change. Also contact disability services.

    Btw what would your remedy be if they failed to inform you? Damages i.e the cost of the field trip or recission i.e they let you withdraw from the contract and then they refuse to accept your transfer. the point is if you want to go legal ot may not give the result you want.
    I just wanted to know if they're allowed to fail me when they've breached my undergrad consumer rights. And if I bring this up to the department admin I want to know whether it will be enough for them to agree to let me do a different module or whether they'll just dismiss it? Basically I need to know how much do the undergrad consumer rights really mean and whether it's something the uni will take seriously?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    The undergrad consumer rights gov document says that the uni has to tell you on their website whether a module with a field trip or extra costs is compulsory. This uni don't mention any of this on their website. When I log into my portal it says 4 out of these 5 modules are required and I've begged them to let me do the other module instead and they're refusing. So why should they be allowed to fail me when they've breached my rights/misinformed me and I'm offering to swap it for a different module and they're saying no without a valid reason?
    Consumer rights are about financial transparency and financial contracts and not about course content or course requirements..

    To limit your financial liability, I guess you'd have to take them to court and prove that your consumer rights were breached.

    If the judge finds in your favour, then you would be entitled to a full or partial refund of your course fees incurred since you transferred. I,e, probably the course fees for this year only.

    The university would then have to make their course requirements and fees more transparent for future students.

    But it still does not mean they would have to offer you the alternative module so that you can complete your course without needing to attend the residential trip.
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    (Original post by uberteknik)
    Consumer rights are about financial transparency and contracts and not about course content or course requirements..

    I guess you'd have to take them to court and prove that your rights consumer rights were breached.

    If the judge finds in your favour, then you would be entitled to a full or partial refund of your course fees incurred since you transferred. I,e, probably the course fees for this year only.

    The university would then have to make their course requirements and fees more transparent for future students.

    But it still does not mean they would have to offer you the alternative module so that you can complete your course without needing to attend the residential trip.
    It won't paste here but if you read that document you would see the bit I'm talking about isn't related to the finance. It says the uni must inform you of the course materials, everything from entry requirements and accreditation to CORE modules, which they didn't state on their website until after I enrolled and was given access to the online student portal.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I just wanted to know if they're allowed to fail me when they've breached my undergrad consumer rights. And if I bring this up to the department admin I want to know whether it will be enough for them to agree to let me do a different module or whether they'll just dismiss it? Basically I need to know how much do the undergrad consumer rights really mean and whether it's something the uni will take seriously?
    Yes. the remedy for breach of consumer rights is normally damages i.e £.

    Honestly I think you will just get their backs up even more. They will just pass it to their legal department. Unis arent very susceptible to having their arms twisted. You can always try, but...

    I think they would be very close to just telling you that you dont appear to be happy at the Uni and you should find a new one. I sau that based on the fact you have already talked to welfare and the course leader. I would suspect within your agreement in the student handbook is your consent to follow the course instructions as directed by your department. Go and see an advisor in the SU, they know your uni beter than I do.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    It won't paste here but if you read that document you would see the bit I'm talking about isn't related to the finance. It says the uni must inform you of the course materials, everything from entry requirements and accreditation to CORE modules, which they didn't state on their website until after I enrolled and was given access to the online student portal.
    Amd the remedy is normally damages. If you feel they misrepresented their offering, then you cna get recission i.e withdraw from the contract.
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    Would your struggles at home be eligible for extenuating circumstances in regards to coursework? In that case, I don't see why that couldn't apply to a field trip.

    Also, if you really can't avoid this field trip, is there anyway you could maybe attend, but in a way that would make you feel less anxious? I understand with anxiety, the thought of sharing accommodation with peers isn't the most appealing for you, so could you maybe organise your own accommodation in Wales, so then at least you'd have a place for yourself? Or is it in the middle of no where?
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    My understanding of the information you have provided is that the university is obliged to have the field trip information available on the website IF it incurred additional costs. Does the field trip incur you with out of pocket expenses?

    My advice would be to take a year out and re-evaluate your mental health, family circumstances and where best to undertake your studies next academic year. It would be a less stressful option that attempting to take legal action against your university.
 
 
 
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Updated: September 27, 2016
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