Petition for labyrinth referendum presented as construction commenced

Construction work has begun on the campus labyrinth, amidst concerns expressed by some that the student body was not consulted for their views on the new addition to the university landscape.

Student representative Seán Cassidy has presented a petition to the Students’ Union, which, as per the SU constitution, will force a referendum on whether or not the student body support the development.

The artistically-designed structure is expected to be in place in time for the semester two exams and will provide members of the DCU community with a meditative and reflective space on campus.

In place on the campuses of several international universities, hospitals and prisons, labyrinths are popular for the positive impact they can have on individuals’ mental health.

Debate on the DCU development ensued at the emergency Class Rep Council session which took place last Friday lunchtime after a  meeting scheduled for the previous evening failed to reach quorum.

Former Council chairperson, Rónán Ó’Dálaigh described the lack of knowledge amongst several students about the construction as “pitiful” and said “that the university haven’t engaged with us is a bit ridiculous”.

A secularism advocate, Cassidy feels the labyrinth concept has religious associations, however Jones asserts that it pre-dates Christianity and feels it is unfortunate he, as a priest, is leading the initiative.

The chaplain believes student concerns about the project arise due to a lack of knowledge about the potential benefits of the labyrinth.

Costs for the structure are in excess of €30,000 with the funding being raised privately by a number of DCU and local community members over the past six years.

A 2012 referendum, which received the highest turnout of any such referendum to date, saw students reject a motion proposing their union make a €10,000 donation.

Students’ Union Education Officer Ciarán O’Connor highlighted his conviction that “regardless of what the students think, this is going ahead… this is not our issue to debate”.

Sarah Bermingham

Image Credit: Annemarie Kelly

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