The Students’ Union of UCD has announced a campus wide preferendum will take place in order to set the SU policy on third level funding. The referendum is set to be held Tuesday the 10th and Wednesday the 11th of April alongside the Union’s College Convener elections.
This is the first time students have been asked to vote on the issue of third level funding and UCDSU President, pharm Pat de Brún tells the College Tribune this ‘’referendum will probably be the most significant vote held in UCD in recent memory’’.
UCDSU have made the decision to put the question to a preferendum, order following many students’ expressions of dissatisfaction with the current policy.
Last month saw the Minister for Education & Skills Ruairí Quinn announce that students could anticipate an increase in the student contribution charge to €3,000 by 2016.
This increase along with major cuts to the higher education authority grant and university funding being decimated are a major blow for students and university Unions across the country.
President Pat de Brún informed the College Tribune that “the Union will not be taking a stance in favour of any particular option, but officers are free to support any option they wish in a personal capacity’’.
De Brún himself won’t be publicly campaigning but tells the College Tribune, “I will make no secret of the fact that I believe that a graduate tax is the best option available’’.
Graduate tax is one of the five separate funding models which UCD students will be asked to vote on. The other models include a student loan scheme, up-front fees, full exchequer funding and the student contribution/registration fee which is currently in place.
Students can find summaries as well as pro and con lists of each model on the students’ unions impartial information website www.voteucd.ie. As SU President, de Brún urges “all students to make the effort to get informed’’ on their options before the referendum takes place. Other interest groups such as FEE – Free Education for Everyone – and Labour Youth will also be setting up campaigns on the issue in the coming days.
The referendum will be held along elections for the seven College Conveners, Graduate Officer and Oifigeach na Gaeilge positions.