Movement against Proctorio by faculties, Senate despite contract extension

Several faculties have committed to discontinue the use of Proctorio, the remote invigilation software that students have protested against since the beginning of the pandemic.

Several faculties have committed to discontinue the use of Proctorio, the remote invigilation software that students have protested against since the beginning of the pandemic.

In a press release, VP Academic and University Affairs Georgia Yee said that the faculties of arts, science, education, dentistry, forestry and land and food systems have all decided to stop using “algorithmic proctoring software,” such as Proctorio.

“The usage of these softwares [has] had profound negative impacts on students, particularly for students with accessibility needs and students of colour that have darker skin tones. The invasiveness of algorithmic proctoring software affects students’ academic performance,” Yee wrote in the press release.

Movement away from remote proctoring softwares is also happening in the UBC Vancouver Senate. A motion to restrict the use of these tools and to endorse principles for the usage of remote invigilation software will be coming to the March 17 meeting.

Arezoo Alemzadeh Mehrizi, vice-chair of the Teaching & Learning Committee, and Chris Hakim, a student senator on the committee, confirmed that the committee had voted to send the motion to Senate for approval at its committee meeting this week.

The motion restricts use of remote invigilation software to “only cases explicitly requiring 'remote proctoring software' by external accreditation bodies effective immediately.”

“This is effective immediately. We are sending this motion to the Senate and I’m confident that will be also passed,” Mehrizi said.

In the press release, Yee said there is more to be done to prevent Proctorio use as many faculties are still using remote invigilation software, in the name of “accreditation requirements.”

“We call upon these Faculties and corresponding accreditation bodies to examine the practices that reinforce structures of ableism, racism, and surveillance, including the usage of discriminatory, algorithmic remote proctoring software,” Yee wrote.

“If UBC is dedicated to anti-racism and inclusive practices, UBC faculties must be ready to challenge these accreditation bodies on their discriminatory practices.”

In late January, the university extended its contract with Proctorio, but a search for a replacement is underway. Proctorio is currently suing UBC employee Ian Linkletter for posting training videos on Twitter.

“We stand by valued community members such as Ian Linkletter, who has been a champion for whistleblowing concerns about Proctorio and incorporating care into his work,” Yee wrote in the press release.

“For all of the students, staff, and faculty that see the racial and ableist injustice that software like Proctorio causes and severe invasions of privacy, the AMS stands by you to continue this fight.”