NUIG students told to write 2,000 word essay for breaching Covid rules
The university's student union called the move "very odd".
Some students at NUI Galway found to be breaching Covid-19 guidelines are being asked to write a 2,000 word essay reflecting on their actions.
The university confirmed the news to JOE, stating that the essay is just one of a number of sanctions in place for students that break Covid-19 rules.
Not every student found to be breaching the rules is told to write the essay, with other sanctions being used by the university including fines, letters of apology, formal cautions, suspension and expulsion.
Those that are assigned to write the essay are told to watch the recent RTÉ Investigates documentary Covid-19 The Third Wave.
They are then, in the essay, asked to reflect on the potential impact of their breaches on family, friends and society.
The decision to assign students the essay has nothing to do with the course they are taking at the university.
NUI Galway does not have complete data at this stage in relation to the number of sanctions that have been handed out.
In a statement to JOE, the university said: "NUI Galway currently has a student community of almost 19,000.
"The vast majority of our students have adhered to the public health guidelines, conscious of keeping themselves, their families and the wider community safe since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
"The University can confirm that it has imposed sanctions under the Student Code of Conduct on a number of students in relation to breaches of public health guidelines.
"The sanctions which can be imposed by the University range from fines which are paid to the Student Hardship Fund, letters of apology to staff impacted by breaches, reflective essays, formal caution, suspension or expulsion."
In response to reports, President of the NUI Galway Students' Union Pádraic Toomey told JOE that while students should not be breaching restrictions, he did not know if assigning students an essay was the best approach.
He called for the use of "positive messaging" to get students to comply with guidelines.
Toomey said: "We learned over the summer negative messaging just doesn't work.
"Finger pointing actually just alienated people and can make the problem even worse."
On the essay assignment, he added: "It does seem to be a very odd take on how to get students to comply with Covid restrictions.
"It just seems to be like trying to give people homework to comply with the guidelines."
Toomey also told JOE the students' union are currently investigating to see how many students the essay sanction has affected.