There have been some big changes in USI over the past week, with UCD dropping out and DCU rejoining. Márese O’Sullivan has the latest…
Due to a series of referendums held by University College Dublin (UCD), NUI Maynooth (NUIM) and Dublin City University (DCU) recently, there have been several reforms in affiliation with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), which represents the Irish student body.
While DCU voted to re-affiliate with USI after a decade, and Maynooth’s referendum resulted in huge support of USI affiliateion, UCD has decided to end the affiliation between the college and USI.
USI President, John Logue, declared: “The unique circumstances in UCD, with their Students’ Union in financial difficulty, resulted in a vote to leave USI to focus on local issues. I have no doubt we will work with UCD again in the future and, with the return of DCU and a reaffirmation of Maynooth students’ support, USI can only go from strength to strength.”
According to the UCD Students’ Union, 62% of their 2,276 students voted to leave USI. UCD Students’ Union President, Rachel Breslin, had previously indicated that a deal had been made to ensure the university would reform USI if it continued to be affiliated. Suggestions for improvement had included the introduction of direct elections for the USI Presidency and a review of the fee structure for affiliation.
The USI constitution specifies that the disaffiliation will be made formal after one calendar year. However, the USI remains hopeful that UCD may reconsider its decision at a later date.
“Although the change is a significant one for UCD SU, with the support and efforts of students in UCD, our Students’ Union will continue to grow and become stronger for the benefit of all students,” said a UCD representative.
NUI Maynooth chose to remain affiliated, with 1639 votes in favour and 253 against, while DCU re-affiliated with USI after a decade, with 768 students voting to affiliate and 642 in opposition. These moves come after Trinity College Dublin students questioned whether they would remain affiliated with the USI last year and ultimately decided to.
USI President John Logue said; “We are delighted to welcome DCU back into USI after more than a decade since they were last members. This result comes after Maynooth students reaffirmed their commitment to the national union earlier today. I hope that DCU students will now play an active role in our national campaigns and join with their peers across the country in fighting to protect and striving to enhance the student experience.”
Speaking about the most recent developments, he continued; “It has been a strange 48 hours. The unique circumstances in UCD, with their Students’ Union in financial difficulty, resulted in a vote to leave USI to focus on local issues. I have no doubt we will work with UCD again in the future and, with the return of DCU and a reaffirmation of Maynooth students’ support, USI can only go from strength to strength.”