Mared Foulkes, 21, a second-year pharmaceuticals student at Cardiff University, tragically took her own life after being told – incorrectly – that she had failed her exams
Image: Family handout)
A grieving family has blasted a leading UK university after their “devoted” student daughter killed herself when she was wrongly told she failed her exams.
Mared Foulkes, 21, was in her second year studying pharmaceuticals at Cardiff University when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, so she continued her studies online, via Zoom calls, reports Wales Online.
However, an inquest heard Ms Foulkes received an automated email from the university, hours before her death, saying she had failed her recent exams and would not be moving on to the third year.
That result was a mistake and it was later updated by the university to a pass.
But tragically, Ms Foulkes, of Cae Uchaf Farm, Menai Bridge, had already taken her own life, before it was rectified.
After an inquest in October last year, the university said it will simplify its exams process after a coroner said it was “complex” and “confusing”.
Mared’s parents Iona and Glyngwyn said they were sad it took their daughter’s death to make changes.
Acting North West Wales Coroner, Katie Sutherland, wrote to Cardiff University urging them to clarify the system for sharing results after an inquest into Mared’s death returned a conclusion of suicide.
Now the university has apologized to Mared’s family and said there will be changes to how exam results are communicated.
Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University, Professor Colin Riordan told BBC Wales the correct process had been followed at the time, which meant resit marks were not confirmed until later.
But he admitted there was “room for confusion” and that now all marks will be sent out at the same time.
He said: “Exam results will be communicated in a way which leaves no room for confusion in the future. I apologize, absolutely.
“I’m deeply sorry for this sequence of events. It’s a devastating set of circumstances and I absolutely understand the family’s need for answers to their questions.
“I’m very happy of course to speak to Mared’s parents if that’s what they would like.”
Mared’s parents Glyngwyn and Iona Foulkes expressed “disbelief” at the “complicated and confusing” way the institution dealt with its students.
Iona and Glyngwyn Foulkes have now told the BBC they were “encouraged” the university was changing the way results are shared.
“We believe that all students will benefit from such significant changes and they may even save some young lives,” they said.
But they said they would have “wished for the courtesy and humanity of a personal apology.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.