A preferendum has been called on the introduction of a charge for supplemental exams at the fourth Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU). The preferendum will be held alongside the forthcoming sabbatical elections from February 20 to 22 .
The question posed to the student body will be “Which stance should TCDSU adopt with regards to the introduction of modular billing and supplemental exam fees? There are five proposed options to be put to a vote. These are:
Option 1: TCDSU should support the introduction of supplemental exam fees, providing that modular billing an agreed fee and a cap are introduced.
Option 2: TCDSU should not support the introduction of supplemental exam fees, regardless of a cap or the introduction of modular billing.
Option 3: TCDSU should not support the introduction of supplemental exam fees but should advocate for modular billing.
Option 4: That TCDSU should oppose the introduction of supplemental exam fees and modular billing.
Option 5: That TCDSU adopt a stance to support the introduction of supplemental fees.
TCDSU Education Officer Alice MacPherson initially proposed the referendum, after asking Council if they had enough information to vote on behalf of the student body, which was met with a resounding “no” from those present.
However, TCDSU Welfare Officer Damien McClean argued for a preferendum, which would be put to the student body but would be non-binding. “what we need now is a bit of clarity,” McClean stated. The motion for a referendum was then changed to the prompting of a preferendum.
At council, MacPherson said this was a “drastic situation”, stating that “even as a sabbatical officer” she did not feel that she had enough authority to make a decision on behalf of the students. She said that Council was being “held hostage” by the proposed changes, although stated that some points in favor of the introduction of fees were fair.
TCDSU Communications and Marketing Officer nominee Paraic McClean argued that a preferendum would allow “a larger number of answers” from students to be debated. Sally-Anne McCarthy, the Science Convenor, stated that “the average student doesn’t know what a preferendum is,” arguing that “I just don’t think we’ll get engagement on this that would be truly reflective of what the student body wants”.
Instead of free supplemental exams, as is the current system, College has proposed the introduction of fees for supplemental exams. Students will be able to repeat the module they fail only, rather than having to repeat an entire year, and pay the full college fees for that year, if they fail their supplemental exam.