Newcastle University apologized to a medical student who was told her dress was too short during an exam.
The England-based university issued a public apology on Thursday after an initial Twitter post of the incident made headlines. A friend of the medical student first called out the university in June for perpetuating “sexist notions of primness.”
-Ciarán (@MedicGrandpa) June 25, 2021
“A friend did their OSCE’s with me recently & got yellow carded for wearing a “short skirt,” the friend wrote. “Could someone explain to me how it’s 2021 & medical schools are still pushing sexist notions of primness upon its female student cohort, for daring to display their ankles.”
The Twitter post included a photo of the outfit, which showed the dress’ hem was beneath the knees. According to a 2013 research article, exam observers are asked to deal yellow cards to trainees who presented “alarming acts” and are meant to identify trainees who exhibited unprofessional or concerning behavior.
On Thursday, the medical student provided an update to Twitter in which she revealed that she complained to the university about its decision.
“I complained to the university, their response was ‘it was the most inappropriate dress they had ever seen’ and then stated that the examiners word is final and the investigation is closed,” the student, using the Twitter handle thegradmedic, wrote.
“Isn’t discrimination lovely,” they added. In a separate tweet, the medical student claimed that the complaint noted she “wasn’t wearing leg coverings, and subsequently that they wouldn’t want me to treat their friends or a family member because of it.”
-The Graduate Medic (@thegradmedic) September 8, 2021
Newcastle University responded hours later and tagged the medical student in the statement on its official Twitter page.
“We want to apologise once again to @thegradmedic for any offence or distress caused by this incident.
The comment was made by a role-play patient as part of an exam. All comments made by patients in exams are passed on to students as feedback,” the university wrote.
-Newcastle University (@UniofNewcastle) September 9, 2021
Newcastle University continued that the student should not have received a yellow card for her outfit.
“However, we agree it should not have resulted in a yellow card from the examiner. This is why, when the concerns were raised with us by @thegradmedic earlier this year, they were investigated and the yellow card was rescinded,” the statement read.
It concluded by saying Newcastle University would not want “to come away from these exams feeling remarks like this in any way reflect the values of the University and the issues will be addressed in future examination briefings.”