UCD Students’ Union have expressed anger in relation to the university’s decision to introduce more stringent exam regulations in relation to student cards and possession of mobile phones in the exam hall.
Students who do not produce their student card on request in the exam hall, or whose mobile phones are activated during exams, now face a fine of €50 as well as the possibility of being subject to disciplinary action.
SU President Paul Lynam has said the SU oppose the introduction of this charge, arguing that they were not informed of the decision until after the policy had been agreed.
Lynam called the €50 fine “an absolute disgrace” and believes that this will put students under increased pressure: “People lose their cards; they’re stressed out at exams, things happen.”
Lynam is also concerned that this may become an added burden for students who already face financial difficulty: “We weren’t marching for no reason,” he said. “There are students in serious financial difficulties.”
He also illustrated the plausibility of using other forms of ID, as has been the policy in exams until now: “If I have a passport [and] if it can get me to the United States of America, I think it’s a bit better than my student card as an ID.”
UCDSU is asking for an immediate review of the policy: “The Students’ Union was promised consultation on all charges in our meeting with Dr. Brady. We’ve emphasised it again. We were not consulted on this.”
In a meeting with the SU after the policy was agreed, Vice-President for Students Dr Martin Butler said that there was room for negotiation, but Lynam said: “To unilaterally go ahead with a €50 fine despite promising consultation with the Students’ Union is terrible.”
If the policy remains in place and the charges implemented, it is proposed that 50 per cent of the money will go to the Welfare Fund, which Lynam believes is contradictory: “You’re putting more students into student hardship, then giving the money to a student hardship fund. Here’s an idea; don’t put students through financial hardship in the first place.”
The SU is also looking to review the charge of €30 to replace lost or stolen student cards during term time.
Currently, student cards are supposed to last the duration of a student’s course, despite some courses running to four or five years: “That’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s not what the Students’ Union agreed in April 09,” added Lynam. “That needs to be reviewed.”