Conferring ceremonies cost UCD €220,000 last year

Photo: Ste Murray ([br]A report released by the University Management Team (UMT) shows that UCD spent €223,500 on conferring ceremonies last year.Of the 11,147 people graduating with UCD degrees last year, including non-degree graduates and international students, just over half of that number, 5,471, attended conferring ceremonies to receive their degree. This means that there was a cost of roughly €40 for the college per student graduating last year.This figure does not include the cost incurred by the student in graduating. Graduates must rent robes for the ceremony, which cost €45 if pre-booked and €50 if rented on the day of the ceremony. Students can also pay for a photographer on campus and frames or tubes to hold their degree.In the same report, the UMT outlined their recommendations for changes to the graduation ceremony. The group recommended that the approximately 2500 people graduating from certificate and diploma courses each year should be given the opportunity to have to a formal ceremony. Currently, these non-degree graduates receive their diplomas in absentia.Another two thousand people graduate from UCD overseas. These students usually receive their diplomas in a presentation ceremony, with a small number of students and staff traveling to Ireland in order to participate in a conferring ceremony. The group recommended that, in order to have equality between all graduates, the University should provide “coordination and branding” for overseas conferring ceremonies.Other recommendations involved addressing concerns about the level and standard of Irish spoken in part of the ceremony. The ceremony has traditionally been in English, with sections in Irish and Latin. The report recommended that Irish-speaking panels of faculty should be formed in each College that could attend graduation ceremonies.Surprisingly, the most controversial aspect of the groups’ proposals was the removal of the section of Latin in the ceremony. They also suggested changing the language of the degree parchment from Latin to English. The group’s recommendations say that the use of Latin can be “perceived as out of step with UCD’s role as a globally engaged university.”In a meeting of the Academic Council on November 10th, UCD President Andrew Deeks brought forward a proposal based on this recommendation, to remove Latin from both the ceremony and the degree parchments.Students’ Union sabbatical officers condemned the decision, as it could mean changes to some degree programmes. However, some students have praised the decision as making the ceremony more inviting.The UMT also says that the Latin degree parchment burdened international students with translation costs. Latin has been used in conferring ceremonies since the founding of UCD and it is still standard practice for most international universities to give their degrees in Latin.