The second last day of DCU summer examinations clashes with the date set for the Marriage Equality Referendum prompting the creation of a petition to change the exam date.
The Marriage Equality Referendum is set for Friday May 22 which the DCU academic calendar stipulates is the second last day of exams for students. Student activist and Students’ Union (SU) Presidential candidate Sean Cassidy has created the ‘Equality Not Exams’ petition to urge the university to remove exams from this date.
Explaining the motive behind the petition Cassidy said: “I’m from Dublin, this won’t affect me regardless of what time I have an exam at but not all our students are from an area where they can easily access their polling station.”
The timetable has not yet been finalised for the day, Cassidy says the university does have room to manoeuvre with the scheduling of exams. Registered voters are obliged to vote in their own constituency so non-Dublin based students completing exams in DCU on the day may be unable to vote in the referendum as a result.
Outgoing SU Welfare Officer Eve Kerton has taken over the running of the petition. “We’ve been mandated by Class Rep Council to make sure a ‘yes’ vote is encouraged within DCU and it is the ideal of the representatives of DCU.” She said. Kerton believes the petition is: “a very positive step from DCU students and staff to let the university officials know that this is something we really care about and have a strong stance on.”
Kerton said this is the first time she has really seen students excited about a political issue and believes the referendum will see a big student turn out. She described students as the “driving power” behind securing a yes vote.
Both Cassidy and Kerton believe the student vote and the DCU vote is pivotal to the passing of the referendum. “We are one of six to seven institutions that are affected by this. It’s such a huge challenge. If we don’t get that vote in this fails. Students are key.” Cassidy added.