Mared Foulkes suicide: Cardiff University student kills self after wrongly told she failed exam inquest rules. Pharmacy student from Wales had in fact passed retake test which had been omitted in received email.
Mared Thomas Foulkes, 21, of Cae Uchaf Farm, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, received an email from Cardiff University on July 8, 2020 indicating that she’d failed the assessment, the BBC reported.
However, the results email did not include the fact that she had passed a retake of the exam, according to BBC.
The evening Mared Foulkes received the email, she drove to a location in north Wales and jumped off a bridge, where her body was later discovered, according to the report.
Her test result was later updated to a pass, but it was too late, Wales Online reported.
An avoidable death
An email from the school stated that she had failed with 39% when Foulkes had in fact passed the exam with 62%.
The 39% related to an exam she had failed on March 26 and not the re-sit exam she had taken, and passed, on April 24.
North West and North Wales Coroner Katie Sutherland determined Thursday that Mared’s cause of death was suicide, according to the local reports.
Prior to taking her own life, Foulkes had texted one of her housemates about the results saying: ‘I did crap’.
During the conclusion of the inquest, Mared’s parents Glyngwyn and Iona Foulkes said they were in ‘disbelief’ at the ‘complicated and confusing’ way the university dealt with its students, The Daily Post reported.
‘We are sad at the outcome that could and should have been so different,’ they said. ‘Now we’re left with memories, photographs and memories of her kindness, her fine qualities, gestures and of all that she gave to our family, her brother and her friends. We cry easily and often, our tears are uncontrollable and exhausting when unprompted memories remind us that we are totally bereft.’
‘We’re not the first parents to express disbelief at the poor communications between universities and students and we’re sorrowful that we won’t be the last,’ the grieving parents added. ‘We entrusted her wellbeing to the university and now we very much hope that Cardiff University will attend to the coroner’s prevention of future death report.’
Lessons to be learned
The coroner said that Cardiff University’s system for informing students of their results could be confusing — and urged the institution to look at urgent improvements.
Prof Mark Gumbleton, head of Cardiff’s school of pharmacy, called the emailing system standard practice, but added: ‘Lessons are always to be learned.’
‘We acted within the regulations, but we need to move towards a simpler system of ratifying grades,’ he said. ‘The challenge is to avoid a situation where we create confusion. I believe the university is looking at this and changes are going to take place.’
Cardiff University said its ‘thoughts and sympathies’ were with Mared’s family and friends.
‘Whilst we believe we acted within university regulations, we fully accept that lessons can and should be learnt,’ the university said. ‘Changes are already being considered and we will cooperate fully with the coroner’s verdict.’