Monday 25 September 2017

The Weekly Read: DIT revoke garda vetting policy for prospective Access students

DIT have changed their garda vetting policy for all prospective Access Programme students, writes Nikki Murphy and Dan Grennan

Irish higher education system is neither small enough nor large enough to make an income contingent loan system work. (stock image)
Irish higher education system is neither small enough nor large enough to make an income contingent loan system work. (stock image)

Nikki Murphy and Dan Grennan.

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) has revoked its policy which required garda vetting for Access students, after it was met with much controversy.

DIT spokesperson, Head of Admissions Frank Costello said “there will not now be a requirement for garda vetting at application stage”.

The statement went on to say that Mr Costello himself “will be meeting with the programme committee to identify mechanisms to ensure that programme participants who express an interest in further study in certain areas, such as clinical practice, work placement, coaching or peer mentoring is a requirement, will be facilitated at an early stage to complete the vetting process to ensure access programme participants have a seamless transition into their degree programme of choice".

The outcome was reached after days of campaigning by Senators Lynn Ruane , John Dolan and Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett, as well as many past students of the AFP programme.

Pressure was on DIT over the last few days to revoke this new policy on the grounds of it being “a specific form of discrimination against people from disadvantaged communities,” according to Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance.

At the news of the revoking of the policy, Boyd Barrett said "It is brilliant news that this disgraceful and blatantly discriminatory proposal has been abandoned. Of course serious questions remain as to how DIT could ever have come up with such an outrageous plan. Well done to Nicola Murphy and Dan Grennan in particular for highlighting this issue. It shows the value of good student journalism". 

Senator Lynn Ruane said: “The college should be commended for taking on the decision to roll back on the garda vetting. Obviously it made absolutely zero sense to garda vet that cohort of students. It is almost similar to class profiling which is completely wrong. I’m glad the college decided to keep this route of access open to all students and this was a huge barrier. I am absolutely delighted to see it changed.”

Ms Ruane added: “I would like to congratulate everyone who has been highlighting it over the last few days and all the students who have contacted the college as well. It shows when people get behind something you can change something and I think it’s a positive message for students.”

DITSU president Boni Odoemene welcomed the news.

"The DIT Students' Union is happy to hear that the DIT will be reverting their decision to input mandatory garda vetting as an application requirement for Access Student Applicants. This was an issue in which we were concerned about. So it is good to hear of its reversal.”

With thanks to Campus.ie.

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