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I'm going to write my exams next month, but since COVID-19 we have special rules on how exams should be carried out and one of them is that every student is assigned a place to sit in the examination hall in advance. I won't go into details, but there is one person next to whom I don't want to be sitting. My reason to not sit near him has nothing to do with the pandemic. And since our class is pretty small, it's very likely to get a place somewhere near him.

That's why I'm planning to write an email on Monday to the unit in my university, which is responsible for the organization of the exams (if necessary to my professors as well), explaining them that it doesn't matter to me where I'm going to sit, but I just want a seating place which is not directly next to him.

Do you think that's a good idea and is there anything else that you could maybe recommend me to do?

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    Just don't tell anybody in case your wish is granted. If next time five people want special seating arrangements ... – Karl Dec 7 '20 at 11:45
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Yes, I think you can ask. You don't need to give a reason if things are handled justly. "Personal reasons" should be enough. If the person has harassed you in the past or is known to you to cheat you have adequate reason.

And, it might be important to do so if you think that it would affect your performance.

You will need to decide whether to give a reason if asked. But be honest without revealing more than necessary. You might not achieve your objective, of course. Be ready for that.

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    Thank you, I'm actually planning to write my email and ask without giving the name of the person first, maybe just saying it's due to personal reasons. And then, depending on what kind of an answer I get, to give them the name as well. Maybe this should be the better way to go? – rey227 Dec 6 '20 at 1:50
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    Sounds pretty good, actually. – Buffy Dec 6 '20 at 1:53
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    @rey227 not mentioning the name only creates additional work for them (more e-mail to read and write, on top of their likely heavy load), and makes it less likely they'll do it. If you're asking for a favor, make it as easy as possible for the person you're asking. – dbkk Dec 6 '20 at 17:41
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    @dbkk Then perhaps OP should tell them what she told us: "I don't wish to identify the person unless my request is approved." – Shawn V. Wilson Dec 6 '20 at 21:48
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    I agree with @dbkk that OP should give the name in the first request. See from the perspective of the admin clerk: if there's no name, they have to reply back, wait for a respond, put off arranging the seating until after the response. Much easier to just say no if they have discretion. – Emilio M Bumachar Dec 7 '20 at 13:15

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