Exam timetable amended for marriage equality referendum

DCU has made the decision to remove exams from the afternoon the Marriage Equality Referendum is set to take place.

A student led petition for ‘equality not exams’ was the catalyst for the amendment to the exam timetable. The petition was signed by 876 supporters.

Second year economics, politics and law student Sean Cassidy and Welfare Officer Eve Kerton were the driving force behind the petition which sought for the university to remove exams from May 22 to ensure students were enabled to exercise their vote in the referendum.

“Although it is examination week, DCU has decided not to hold examinations on the afternoon of May 22. This will enable students to travel home to any part of the country in time to vote,” DCU President Brian MacCraith told the Irish Independent.

The academic calendar conveys that May 22 is the second last day of the summer examinations although which exams exactly were to be taking place on this date hadn’t yet been revealed.

The decision has been commended by Tiernan Brady of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) “We know we want to get the highest possible turnout and to do that, we have to make it as convenient as possible to vote. That is especially true for students. Kudos to DCU for doing it.”

A DCU spokesperson said that the university will from now on engage in the rescheduling of exams that clash with referendums. “It’s planned to be an ongoing thing that from now on there wouldn’t be any clash.” They continued: “If there’s any kind of clash, we will have to revisit the academic schedule to allow students exercise their mandate.”

Last week 93 per cent of DCU students voted in favour of the Students’ Union advocating and actively campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote in the May referendum which will allow or prohibit same-sex couples the right to marry.

Following in the footsteps of DCU, last week the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Students’ Union passed a motion to endorse that DIT refrain from holding exams on the date of the referendum.

In Trinity the referendum was considered in structuring the exam timetable and just one exam affecting less than ten students is scheduled for the day.

Katie O’Neill

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