There has been backlash among the students and staff of UCD following the President of UCD, Andrew Deeks’ proposal to remove Latin from UCD degrees and graduation ceremonies.
Last week, at the UCD Academic Council which meets and deals with changes to academic issues once per semester, President Deeks proposed to remove Latin from the UCD graduation ceremony.
The proposal resulted in opposition from students and staff, but Deeks claimed in a document from a University Management Team working group that his motives was ‘to reflect the global engagement of UCD’.
‘The current Latin parchment is in line with the academic tradition of the NUI. It can, however, burden students with translation costs, in particular international students. It can also be perceived as out of step with UCD’s role as a globally engaged University,’ the document claimed.
The Education officer of the Students’ Union Lexi Kilmartin requested a vote should be taken on the issue but claimed that the President refused to hold a vote.
Kilmartin explained, “President Deeks refused to call a vote, despite myself and a member of staff explicitly asking for one as opinion in the room was very vocal against the proposal”.
The motion was opposed to by both staff, students and the Student’s Union with Graduate officer Cian Casey labelling the president’s actions as an abuse of power.
‘We are very unhappy with the process. He isn’t going through the proper channels, it’s very dictatorship like … Academic Council is a decision-making body, it’s all heads of schools and their opinions were completed disregarded,’ Kilmartin stated.
UCD degrees have been awarded in Latin since their inception under the National University of Ireland but from 2017 onwards UCD degrees will be written in English only, differing from most university traditions, including Trinity and Harvard.
“This is an issue which undermines the integrity of the Academic Council and suggests that President Deeks does not care to listen to the very vocal opinions of his staff and elected student representatives,” Kilmartin concluded.
A spokesperson for President Deeks did not respond by the time this was published when asked for his comments regarding the backlash.