On Thursday, 6th of April, the National College of Arts and Design (NCAD) held a referendum on membership into the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
98% of voters chose to become affiliated with USI. NCAD were one of only a few of Ireland’s major third level institutions who were not affiliated prior to the latest referendum.
The affiliation may bring complications in the future as NCAD and UCD are partner institutions. Since September 2011, NCAD is a recognised college of UCD and all NCAD degrees are validated by UCD.
According to the NCAD + UCD webpage, the purpose of the joint project is “to articulate the path to deepening the relationship between UCD and NCAD, up to and including a full merger”.
If a full merger materialises, NCAD’s membership of USI may be challenged as UCD are not a member of USI. In the referendum last March, UCD students voted 74% against rejoining USI.
In 2006, talk of a merger leading to NCAD being integrated into the Belfield campus resulted in protests by staff, students and graduates at NCAD. This latest decision to join USI may be further indication that NCAD wishes to remain separated from UCD.
This is the latest in a string of successes for USI in the past months after Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Maynooth University both voted overwhelmingly to remain affiliated with the union. These colleges were voting in constitutionally mandated referenda that must take place every few years.
USI president, Annie Hoey, celebrated the result, saying: “NCADSU joined USI for the exceptional training we provide, for the network we have built among students and Students’ Unions and the support we lend to our members. We hope we can do NCADSU justice”.
The referendum took place alongside NCADSU’s vote on the new sabbatical officer team as well as if the union should campaign to repeal the eighth amendment.