A referendum on UCD Students’ Union’s continued affiliation with the Union of Students in Ireland will take place in the first semester of the coming academic year.
This follows a meeting of the USI held in May, troche where members voted by a slim majority to maintain the Union’s policy of seeking free fees for third level students. UCDSU had previously been mandated by their members to campaign for the Student Contribution option. As a result the USI and UCDSU now have different stances on the issue of third level fees. The precise date of the referendum is yet to be finalised as the financially strapped Union look for the most cost effective means of running it.
Rachel Breslin, cialis President of UCDSU, viagra has said in an interview with the College Tribune that she and her colleagues will need to sit down with their counterparts in other Students’ Unions across the country that are pro Student Contribution, as well as the USI, to find a way to fight effectively for students. Breslin says that she hopes when looking back at the end of her term in office she will be able to say that her team came up with a solution regarding the campaign and policy around contribution, citing it as one of her top priorities in the year to come. Breslin stated,“We need to sit down with the USI and with the colleges who are also pro Student Contribution and say how we are going to do this and what actually is the policy. Student Contribution is relatively vague, in that it can be 100 euro or it can be 2,000 euro. So what level is acceptable to students?”
Breslin cited financial constraints and differing opinions within the USI regarding third level funding as the main hurdles this year’s Sabbatical team will have to deal with. She is sure, however, that with management and planning this difficulty can be overcome.
Regarding the financial issues in the SU, Breslin told the College Tribune, “The problems were identified last year and there was significant work done to fix them, but we need to finish out that process and also ensure that what we do will continue long into the future.” She was keen to stress that this is not the end of the Union and that they will continue to campaign on issues affecting students.
From the 13th of August, the SU will be launching their grants information campaign. Breslin, who was last years Welfare officer, said that she was astounded by the amount of students who weren’t aware of the grants process and as a result missed out stating, “It put them in a horrible financial position”.
She feels that her position in Welfare will have a huge impact on her presidency, “It’s so important that a president understands that for most students it’s not when they can go out next, it’s when they’re able to afford their next meal or bus ticket.”
Although she admitted that there is a danger of paid Sabbatical officers losing touch with and forgetting what it’s like to be students, she stressed that “we’re just students and we’re certainly no better in any way that any other student.” She feels it’s up to her to convey this reality to her fellow sabbatical officers and to encourage more people to get involved. She stated that she “would hate the Union to be perceived as a clique, because I wouldn’t want to be part of an organization that was like that.”
Following their participation in the Dublin Pride parade, the SU will take part in the March for Marriage on August 12th and will campaign on the issue of same sex marriage throughout the year. This is a time of social change and Breslin feels “it would be such a waste for us not to capitalize on the national enthusiasm and demand for change in this area.”