University to force through changes to graduation ceremony

Photo credit: Joanna O'Malley[br]THE use of Latin in conferring ceremonies and degrees is to be dropped in UCD following a decision by President Andrew Deeks and the University Management Team. The announcement was made today at academic council, which includes representatives from various schools and the students’ union.The decision has been pushed through the council without a vote from the representatives. UCDSU Education Officer, Lexi Kilmartin explained that members of council had asked for a vote but were refused. Kilmartin explained that: “it was in the section for items of discussion and decision. All of the other items in that section had been asked to be approved, so if we asked for a vote he should have taken a vote on it.” Kilmartin also stated to the Observer that this process has "[undermined] the intergrity of the Academic Council."Academic council, which takes place each semester, sees twenty-three student representatives sit down with the President, the Registrar, deans and various heads of schools to discuss issues regarding students, as well as upcoming initiatives.By not holding a vote, academic council is now in breach of its terms of reference. Article 3, section 6 claims that all issues must be decided by consensus and only if this cannot be reached, should the President as chair break the tie.The decision has been made to allegedly be more globally inclusive to international students.  Yet Welfare Officer Roisin O’Mara noted that: “I don’t think [Deeks] mentioned once about consulting current students.”The decision has already been moved to an implementation group, which are looking at bringing it in as early as next year.Campaigns and Communications Officer Luke Fitzpatrick also highlighted that moving away from the generally used Latin structure could change the format of some degrees. “Everything from medicine and veterinary… their title when you get it is in Latin and…if you were to get rid of Latin you would have to change the title.”The decision was widely disagreed with at the academic council meeting, which is made up of a mixture of academia and student representatives. Fitzpatrick also noted that “about 15 maybe 20 people spoke….and all of them were in favour of keeping Latin.”Kilmartin also stated that while the decision was disagreed with by many, the main cause for concern was that it had been pushed through with little input from either students or those in academia. Graduate Officer, Cian Casey, described the action as an “abuse of power.”The Education officer also noted that it was outside of standard practice for universities internationally and that the only example offered by President Deeks were ceremonies held in an institution in Melbourne. She noted at the meeting the displeasure of the Students' Union.