Concerns over wealthy students ‘tactically failing’ modules under new repeat system

Students repeating modules may face a 0.6 GPA reduction to the grade earned in the repeat exam under a new system being considered by UCD. Minutes from a meeting of the UCD Students’ Union Executive indicate that the current repeat system, under which a repeating student’s grade is capped at a D-(R), which carries a GPA of 2.0, is likely to be replaced.The report of Education Officer Stephen Crosby to the Executive shows concerns have been raised over “more wealthy students” abusing the new system by “tactically failing” modules and repeating for better grades. The minutes, released on 16th November for a meeting held 1st October, state that the data for those repeating will be reviewed after 3 academic sessions “to check that the process has not changed student behaviour with regard to failing”. The minutes show that UCDSU are in favour of a system which sees grade reductions rather than capping and will “welcome the review”, although they do not believe abuse of the new system is likely.The Executive and Council minutes, published via the Union’s Facebook page, are the first official minutes published in over a year. Although the Union’s Constitution requires minutes to be published no later than one month after an Exec or Council meeting, minutes for Council meetings have gone unpublished since February 2017. The last minutes of the Executive were published on 24th October 2017, when a number of sabbatical officers appealed a decision of the Union’s Returning Officer to deny them annual leave to campaign for the impeachment of then-UCDSU President Katie Ascough.The minutes also show UCDSU will refuse to hold a referendum on the introduction of a new levy to fund the expansion of the student centre on Belfield campus until “hard commitments are made”. UCDSU President Barry Murphy warns against backing the expansion as promises made to the student body in the past in relation to limited gym hours for students, pool access and counselling and health services “had not been delivered.” Murphy also raised the issue of student representation, stating that it is not diverse enough and pointing to the fact that there was only one woman on the consultation panel for the new student centre.In her report to the Union Executive, Welfare Officer Melissa Plunkett raised the supply of condoms to UCD Residences. Although Dean of Students, Prof Jason Last “appears to agree” that condoms should be supplied on student residences, “no responses are forthcoming from Res leadership”. Council minutes of 22nd October indicate that they will be available in Welcome Packs from Semester 2. The supply of free condoms, dental dams and feminine hygiene products in all campus residences and greater campus accessibility to those products was a key feature of Plunkett’s manifesto in April.