A group named Freedom of Choice Coalition of UCD (FOCC) are launching a petition this week to change Article 3 of the UCDSU Constitution which if passed would see membership of the SU become optional.

In a press release, the group stated that their reason for launching the petition was due to “the continuous failure of UCD Students’ Union to vindicate the Constitutional right to Free Association and prompted by the recent failings of the Union to represent all students fairly.”

In the current UCDSU Constitution, Article 3 states that membership of the union incorporates ‘all persons registered as students within UCD who are pursuing recognised degrees or diplomas courses of UCD’, ‘all members of the Union Executive’ and any person who IADB grant permission to for the current academic year to any person who has previously registered as a student and a member of the Union but has taken leave from their specific programme of study’.

The petition proposes to the wording of Article 3 to the following:

3.1.1 Membership of the Union shall be open to the following persons: All persons registered as students with the University and pursuing programmes as laid out in Schedule A

3.1.2 All members of the Union Executive.

3.1.3 Such other persons as may be admitted under the provisions of Article 3.3.

Part II

    1. Membership of the Union shall be optional, and no person shall be registered as a member of the Union without first obtaining their express written consent.

Part III

3.5 Any member shall be permitted, upon delivery of written notice to the President, to terminate their membership of the Union at any time.

The group said they are launching this petition ‘to encourage students to stand up for their rights which are not being vindicated by the Union.’

Volunteers will be present on campus this week to collect signatures to trigger a referendum which the group say can occur alongside the Presidential by-election which is due to take place on November 22nd and 23rd.  The group say this timetable is ‘to allow for substantial discussion on the issue while also taking into consideration the economic efficiency of running referenda together.’

Rachel O’Neill – Editor