OUSU is seeking to make the distribution of the Exam Regulations book online-only.
Thousands of copies of the book are printed each year, and OUSU argues that the environmental and financial costs of the printing and distribution of this book are unacceptable given the book’s limited use.
The book contains regulations for undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications, as well as information on term dates and for visiting students. Most of the content of the book is not applicable to each student, and all of the information contained in the book is already available online. The book is updated each year.
In first week OUSU passed a motion to make the distribution of the Exam Regulations book online only, and is now asking academic affairs officers to pass similar motions through their JCRs. If successful, the University will stop printing the Examination Regulations book altogether.
David Messling, OUSU Vice-President told Cherwell, “OUSU is working with the University to establish a fully functional online version of the Exam Regulations which can replace the current ‘door stop’. In the meantime we’re encouraging JCRs to follow the lead of colleges who have stopped distributing the Grey Book to all Freshers, and instead are keeping a few strategically positioned copies in libraries and common rooms, thus reducing demand and gradually eliminating the need to supply 10,500 copies a year!’
The motion is supported by several colleges. Tom Rutland, President of Jesus JCR and OUSU President-elect, said, “We passed this motion through our JCR earlier this year and it passed through the relevant college committees also. Whilst the University has been slow to act on this issue, individual colleges can help speed up the process by not ordering the exam regulations for their students.”
Natasha Rees, Hertford Academic Affairs Officer, commented, “Perhaps 80 of the 1125 pages are relevant to any one student, and many of the regulations change on a yearly basis, so the Grey Book is not relevant beyond first year. The whole, up-to-date Exam Regulations is available online, and in Hertford, every JCR student has access to the internet in college accommodation. Thus I would say that issuing each fresher with a copy of the Grey Book is rather a waste of money and paper.”
A spokesperson for the University said that printing the grey book would be reviewed in future, stating, “There is an online version of the Exam Regulations book: since this online version was introduced in 2006, the print run of the Exam Regulations book has been reduced by about one quarter and work is already well advanced on an improved online version with better functionality. This new version will be online as soon as possible – maybe as early as next year.’