A STUDENT charter, which aims to outline the rights and responsibilities of each student, has been proposed for introduction for the next academic year 2009.
Students’ Union (SU) Education Officer, Paul Lynam was adamant that the charter would be introduced, describing it as “the victory to end all victories” for student rights as well as claiming that it would significantly improve the academic life for students in UCD.
“Basically, everything to do with academic life will be taken into account” said Mr Lynam. “The fundamental rights of the student will be put in place but with it will come responsibilities… so instead of fighting all those little battles all the time, we’re putting together a document that will allow the fundamental rights of students (to be in place)”.
He explained that the charter would address specific aspects of academic life such as receiving feedback from assessments adding that “if you’re not getting feedback and getting a B grade, you don’t know where you’re going wrong. But if you’re told the reason why you lost 20 or 30 per cent you can fix that in time for the exams”.
One aspect that Mr Lynam would push for in the charter is the need for adequate library resources saying that the charter could state that every student would have all core textbooks for their course available in the library. He also refered to students’ entitlement to free healthcare on campus as a possible right in the charter.
Vice President for Students, Dr Martin Butler, said that he supported the development of the charter and stated that he was looking forward to working with the SU in developing the text. However, Dr Butler stressed that he felt the two major components of the proposed charter, rights and responsibilities of students, are already protected.
“I think that we have both of these parts already in place through the student complaint procedure and the student code. Maybe now we need an overarching document that ties them together, but i’m happy now that the two fundamental components are in place”.
Student charters have been introduced into other colleges in Ireland such as Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) as well as universities based in England and America.
The student charter has been approved by the Registrar of UCD, Dr Philip Nolan, and has been signed off by the University Undergraduate Programme Board (UUPB) and the University Graduate Programme Board (UGPB). The charter is expected to be presented and developed at the next Academic Council on 10th October.