The students told Eastern Eye that they felt ignored and let down by DMU because they would not investigate why so many of them flopped.
But this week (17) a pro-vice chancellor, Professor Shushma Patel, indicated that the university had backed down.
“I can now confirm that the university has carried out an independent review in relation to this module,” she wrote to the learners in an email.
“The updated marks for the module have been released.
“If your updated marks show that you have failed this module, you will be permitted an exceptional additional resit opportunity with the same deadline as the resit PGT (postgraduate) deadline.
“If you are unable to meet this deadline you can apply to for an extension of up to two weeks or request a deferral which will be considered without evidence.
“The deadline for this resit is 8th September 2023 at 12.00 (midday) and the resit assignment will be same to (sic) the previous one.”
The former Leicester East MP, Keith Vaz, led the fight on behalf of the students.
He called for an inquiry into the allegations of racism, discrimination and whether the university has broken competition and marketing rules – a serious charge.
“I am pleased that De Montfort has listened to the serious issues that have been presented to them and that they are allowing a reassessment of the results of so many of their students that have alleged racial discrimination,” the former minister told Eastern Eye.
“This demonstrates positive engagement quite different from the initial response which was a blanket denial.
“These students have suffered, and will continue to suffer, until these matters have been properly resolved.
“I want to thank Eastern Eye for its excellent coverage.
“The searing light of scrutiny has had a welcome effect.
“This is not over yet but we are on the way to a resolution.
“I warmly welcome this change of direction by DMU.
“Other universities please take note, overseas students need to be valued and treated fairly.”
Sources had previously said that 128 of the engineering students were Indians, making up 52 per cent of the entire pathway.
Of the 128, 89 or almost 70 per cent failed.
The failure rate varied from 18 and 85 per cent depending on the degree the students were undertaking.
For example, 63 of the 74 students (or 85 per cent) on the engineering management master’s pathway failed in their first attempt.
Many of the students we spoke to explained how anxious they were, and how grateful they were for Vaz’s determined stance and coverage by this newspaper.
“It’s a tight schedule for the students who have to resubmit the assignment because the submission deadline for this assignment is September 8, and the submission deadline for our dissertation is 9 September,” said one learner.
“But according to the email, it says that the university will provide extension or deferral to students for this resubmission without any evidence.
“The stress did have a lot of impact on us, we were running behind this for the last two and a half months.
“We couldn’t sleep or eat, all we could think of was going back to India without our master’s degree.
“But after months of stress, we are in a better place now, at least, we can sleep in peace.”
But the episode is far from over because Eastern Eye has learnt of another development to this on-going story.
“I have had further concerns raised by students in the Advanced Biomedical Science department which I will send to the vice chancellor,” said Vaz.
DMU has consistently “refuted” (sic) any suggestion that the failures were down to race.
But even today it is unclear why so many students from India should fail one particular module.
Asked why the university acquiesced, a spokesperson said, “DMU has previously outlined the various aspects of quality assurance through which marks pass which include first and second marking, external examining, module and assessment boards and annual monitoring reports.
“Any of these stages can lead to changes in outcomes for students.
“In this case we have followed our quality assurance processes.”