An email sent from the International Advice and Guidance Team on 14th January has caused offence amongst international students. The University of Liverpool has been accused of singling out students after the translation of the word ‘cheating’ was only provided in Chinese. Following upset and a petition signed by over 1000 people, Dame Janet Beer has issued a formal apology.

The contentious paragraphs stated;

“Unfortunately each year, a number of international students breach the University’s rules around exams; this can be from unintentional exam misconduct or intentional cheating.”

“We find that our Chinese students are usually unfamiliar with the word ‘cheating’ in English and we therefore provide this translation.”

Following the email’s circulation, the University received many complaints from students feeling that they had been unfairly targeted. Over 1000 people have taken to Change.org to sign a petition. The petition asks the University deliver a public apology for the email deemed by many to be discriminatory.

Initially Student Welfare Advice and Guidance took to twitter to send the following apologies:

Apology tweets from Student Welfare Advice and Guidance (14/1/19)

The team later sent an apology email, clarifying that such warnings are issued to all students around exam period and not intended to single out a particular group.

“The inclusion of the Chinese translation was certainly not intended to give the impression that the exam misconduct advice was aimed at Chinese students. We have had feedback from Chinese students in the past regarding terminology so were addressing this to ensure our advice was clear.”

The next day Dame Janet Beer responded to the upset, sending an apology email of her own. She stated that;

“This was a mistake and is not representative of the high regard in which the University holds its Chinese students. It was wholly inappropriate and I apologise whole-heartedly for the offence it has caused.”

The University of Liverpool has taken full responsibility for the email but it remains to be seen if their apology will satisfy the students and partner organisations offended by this communication.