Leeds Trinity University responds to "BAN" on capital letters

The memo tells staff at Leeds Trinity's journalism department not to use uppercase letters or the word 'don't.'

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 1:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 1:14 pm
Leeds Trinity Campus, Horsforth

Staff at Leeds Trinity University, in Horsforth, have been told to avoid using capital letters in communication with students.

In a memo sent to the university’s school of journalism department, it asks lecturers to not use uppercase letters in a letter which talks about causing anxiety.

The letter asks lecturers to “generally, avoid using capital letters for emphasis” and to “avoid a tone that stresses the difficulty or the high-stakes nature of the task.”

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Other requests include overusing the words 'do' and 'don't' and to write in a 'helpful, warm tone, avoiding officious language and negative instructions.'

It goes on to warn that when students are unsure about what an assessment needs, they talk to each other and misunderstandings quickly spread.

It states that these misunderstandings may make the students decide that it is “too difficult” and so they may not attempt it.

A member of staff at the university, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Yorkshire Evening Post: “Nobody has banned it but there are guidelines advising us not to use capital letters which is absolutely ludicrous. I am yet to meet anyone who was traumatised by capital letters.

"We don’t need to do students any favours. They need to be prepared for the real world. If they fall and we keep catching them then once they graduate they’ll wonder why they’ve fallen on the floor.”

The news has caused a backlash online and people have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts on the leaked memo.

Several people have tweeted that the guidance will not prepare students for the real world and that it is mollycoddling the younger generation.

However, the university has issued a statement to defend the contents of the memo and to clarify that it has not banned capital letters.

Professor Margaret A House OBE, Vice Chancellor of the university, said: "At Leeds Trinity University we support our students to be the very best they can be.

“We're proud to offer a personal and inclusive university experience that gives every student the support to realise their potential. We follow national best practice teaching guidelines and the memo cited in the press is guidance from a course leader to academic staff, sharing best practice from the latest teaching research to inform their teaching.

“For every assignment, academic staff have an 'unpacking' session with students so the students are clear on what is expected. The majority of universities do this. It is also about good communication and consistent style. For example, it is best practice not to write in all capital letters regardless of the sector."