Sports club auditors were tonight handed a document by UCD Staff calling for their support to maintain the student levy at its current rate or else face cuts to student services across campus. The document handed to auditors mentions that certain clubs would face closures, be forced to pay rent for facilities and would see supports for teams reduced if the levy was not continued. One club captain speaking to the Tribune called the document ‘a blatant threat’.
This meeting was called tonight as a mandatory GDPR session.
The student levy was introduced in 1996 and voted on in a 2006 levy which has led to the current level of €254 per student per year. It provided the funding for the student centre and student activities across campus. The current levy is not due to expire until 2023 when the mortgage on the student centre is paid off. The document handed to club auditors claims that there will be a deficit of €2 million per annum if the student levy is discontinued based on current operations.
Among the other services that would be cut to cover the deficit include an end to free gym membership for students, societies support staff being made redundant, rental fees being charged to societies for officer and meeting rooms alongside overall events support being eliminated.
The meeting called on club captains to support a referendum of students to continue the student levy in order to fund ‘further capital expansion of the facilities.’ Currently, there are plans to expand the Student Centre, though these are only in the early stages. Among the facilities that the document claims will be available in the new expansion are new sports halls, five additional rehearsal rooms, new artificial pitch surfaces, additional gym studios among others.
The condition of this expansion is that the levy is to be payable until the new mortgage for this expansion is paid off. The document claims that the term of the new mortgage would be no more than 20 years. Members of the SU and societies had been sceptical of committing to the expansion, given that not all the facilities that were promised were delivered. Of particular note is that the third floor of the student centre, which was earmarked for student health services was taken over as offices for Student Services.
Signatures were being collected to hold a referendum on the issue at the meeting.
By Aaron Bowman – Co Editor