Updated 9pm

Law students camped outside their faculty last night in a bid to apply for specialisation classes where numbers are capped. A number of electives in the Masters of Advocacy program are subject to a numerus clausus of 25. 

Students who spoke to Times of Malta said that originally, applications were meant to be received on Monday afternoon between 1.30 and 5pm, however a number of students who were on campus for morning lectures at 8am submitted their applications, which were accepted by the faculty registry. 

As a result, students who turned up in the afternoon found that the number of available places had severely diminished. 

As a compromise, the university authorities decided that registration for electives would reopen on Thursday at 8am, which caused some students to decide to take camping chairs and picnic coolers and spend the night outside the faculty to ensure their place in the queue once registrations reopened.

But following an emergency faculty meeting is scheduled for this afternoon, the University said on Facebook in the evening that capping will end.

 It said that details will follow shortly.

Law student organisations ELSA Malta, GħSL and the Junior Chamber of Advocates expressed their disappointment at how the students had been treated.

“As it stands, students have been queuing outside the faculty building for several hours throughout the night, in the hope of signing up before the capping cuts them off. This is an unacceptable situation given that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, if anything, that such processes can be done conveniently online,” they said in a joint statement. 

They proposed that capping be removed for online electives and extended for in-person lectures as had happened in the previous year. Students who had applied without a second preference should also be allowed to resubmit with a second preference elective, they said. 

They also urged University administration to adopt “modern measures” given the large number of students enrolled in the course. 

“It is unfair to have students suffer the consequence of administrative mistakes. Such errors include the acceptance of elective registrations prior to the indicated times given to the students. As a result of such mishandlings, the students have had to come to faculty more times than necessary and at unreasonable times, to apply for electives which are prohibitively difficult to get into.”

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis in a Facebook post said he had spoken to the Dean of the faculty to solve the issue. 

“Students’ dignity remains important and I look forward to a positive decision being taken in the interest of the students and their academic aspirations,” he said.

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