According to whoever is letting race, gender and class live rent free in their heads at Hull, it's elitist for lecturers to 'mark down' based on spelling mistakes, because it would be wait for it.... elitist.
The University goes on to say, and this is absolutely brilliant because I don't think I've seen a better way to alienate a good proportion of your staff, students or the native population in just one press release before, it goes on to say that "good English might be seen as “homogenous north European, white, male, elite”.
As a student at the University, let me just take a moment to look over the assignments in front of me written by "North European, white males" who lecture at the university. One might consider them as "Elite"; you know, given they have good jobs, are smart and definitely have opportunities many wouldn't........ annddd... oh look at that. There's spelling mistakes everywhere. In fact, I don't think I've read an assignment since being at University that doesn't have spelling mistakes in it.
Know why? Well, you're reading my blog post so I'll assume you do! #VforVendettaMoment. The spelling mistakes are there because Computer Scientists don't give a flying figtree about spelling; it's the content which matters and I'm quite sure many of degree pathways will be the same. Hence why I don't think this has ever been an issue and I've been at the university since 2017.
So, what prompted such twoddle from the university? Good question because when I've spoken to lecturers in the past about marking and the marking scheme, they've explained that students aren't "marked down" - they're either awarded points based on hitting the criteria for the assignment or not.
Where would spelling come into that then? It wouldn't in a lot of assignments, as long as you know, it met a certain standard of proficiency and u woznt wrtn lek diz innit bruv cos dats nt gd izzit, yah gt me?
A good standard of English, in speaking, writing and reading is essential, not just for students native to the United Kingdom but for foreign students as well - after all, what is the point of studying here if they aren't going to learn the language because they're not going to absorb the content fully. Furthermore, good standards enable communication and easier integration; although my experience with foreign students, a recent example being two iraqi students who lived next door, is that they know that Western Universities are soft on things like this and play into it; the two students from iraq even went as far as to rebook English profiency exams in a different city so that they could cheat - this was after I declined to help them cheat via an online exam.
As for me personally, I find it highly hypocritical of the University to claim that "it will instead encourage students to develop a ‘more authentic academic voice… that celebrates, rather than obscures, their particular background or characteristics’" whilst simultaneously slamming the native language, ethnic majority, home city and country populations language as “homogenous north European, white, male and elite”. How did race and gender get injected into that equation? Don't white women speak English? Have they suddenly forgotten about the Queen? It's not the Kings English, it is in fact the Queens English.
In actual fact, it seems this policy stemmed from the University of Hull's nose dive towards "Social Justice" agendas in the same way it is headed towards Net Zero but ultimately, like all of these halfbaked ideas, they are logically flawed and in this instance the University looks stupid - no, really it does, I came across this absolute bollocks on r/NotTheOnion, a subreddit whose description is "For true stories that are so mind-blowingly ridiculous that you could have sworn they were from The Onion".... not exactly the reputation I want for the university I'm spending £9,250 a year to study with - the academics look stupid and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the white, male staff / students within the university don't feel discriminated against or pressured into publically complying with the social justice agendas for fear of reprisals - much like a professor at Evergreen university did.
To conclude, English is not "elitist" and it certainly is not "white, male or homogenous north European". It is a universal language and helps people communicate - there is nothing about English which obscures cultural beliefs or identity. It would be more sensible to help people learn English and buddy people up with native English speakers who may then go onto learn foreign languages.