I am in the UK - England. I am complaining against my University for having been misadvised in a moment of strong distress and psychological fragility - which is caused by the misbehavior of my University.
The University points to the fact that one article of the Code of Practice states that the responsibility of what has happened is by default on the shoulders of the student, independently on the circumstances. They say this basically: "this is what is written in the article, we don't take into consideration the situation you were in".
My question to you is very general, but I need it to start asking myself the right questions:
- can exceptional circumstances invalidate one article of a regulation?
Basically the article in question says: "[PGRs are responsible for] Deciding when to submit their thesis (after the minimum period of study and before the end of the maximum period of study specified in Regulations), taking due account of the supervisor’s opinion which is only advisory."
What has happened is that, as my Primary Supervisor was neither replying to my emails nor reading my PhD thesis at all, 10 days before submitting by my proposed submission date (accepted by my supervisor) I was in panic and confused, and I wrote to my Academic Advisor (also Dean of the Department) to understand what to do in this situation. The Academic Advisor responded: "What you have to do is to submit by your deadline!!".
The university has accepted that thesis' feedback was strongly delayed (breach of another article), monitoring has fallen below standard (breach of another article), I submitted many complaints during my PhD time about problems of miscommunication with professors (without anybody addressing the issue), that an issue that I rose 3 months before submitting was a concern that came out during my viva (though not substantial), and that the reply of my Academic Advisor was ambiguous, but they say that the article says that I have to take responsibility on my choice to submit by that date (or, that I have to take responsibility on the act of submitting) - as that was not my maximum submission date.
The fact is that I was in panic and afraid to rise a complaint against my supervisor because of power relations (reference for a future job), as I do believe that the above makes the situation I was in very extraordinary. Not knowing what to do, my Academic Advisor (and Dean of the Department) instead of investigating on the situation and proposing me various options on how to solve the situation, suggested to me to submit my thesis.