A campaign against supplemental exam fees has been launched in the preferendum on supplemental exams fees and modular billing, which will coincide with sabbatical elections. Campaign managers were invited to make a short speech outlining their position this evening at the second hustings of the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) sabbatical election campaign, which took place after TCDSU Council this evening.
Laura Beston, Junior Sophister Film Studies and English student, and manager of the campaign for option two, was the only person to speak. Option 2 states: “TCDSU should not support the introduction of supplemental exam fees, regardless of a cap or the introduction of modular billing.”
Beston spoke against students being used as “cash cows”. She further stated: “We will not be held hostage by the Finance Committee.”
Beston spoke to Trinity News this evening about the launch of the campaign, and stated that the “introduction of supplemental fees is intolerable”. Beston commented on the “major disparity emerging between College’s stated and actual revenue-generating strategies,” and continued by saying that “the assertion that ‘protecting the student experience being a priority for all budget holders’ is false”.
Beston noted that the proposal for the uniform introduction of supplemental fees does not incorporate means-testing, and “constitutes a glaring deviation from Trinity’s stated commitment to equity of access to education,” where the measures will “disproportionally” affect students.
Beston continued: “Right now the appeals process is in urgent need of reform but will be placed under even more unsustainable pressure upon introduction of a supplemental exam charge. The reality is that this is the opposite way to deal with the issue of exam failure and the costs and inconvenience it incurs on student and university alike.”
A Facebook page for the campaign, called “Option 2 is Best for You” was launched earlier today. A post on the page states: “We firmly believe that isolating students and putting them under financial pressure will have a negative impact on their time in Trinity as well as affecting their decision to study here.”
“By running this campaign we are hoping to inform students and make it known that students are not cash cows, we will not be held hostage by the finance committee. This money can and must be gotten from other sources as ultimately supplemental fees are exclusionary and classist and cannot come into effect,” Beston said.
Additional reporting by Aisling Grace and Niamh Lynch.