Maynooth University students voted overwhelmingly to stay in USI

WITH over 95% of the vote, Maynooth University students have voted to remain in the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).Maynooth Students’ Union (MSU) is constitutionally mandated to hold a referendum every three years on the issue of being a member of USI. Voting occurred between 9am and 6pm on Wednesday the 8th of March. Of the 2,142 votes cast, 2,027 (95.7%) voted to remain in USI.Annie Hoey, president of USI said “Almost 96% of students in Maynooth see the worth of having their voices heard on a national level. We heard on the ground that students knew the work of USI, the work done on mental health and our fight against student loans. I look forward continuing our fight for publicly-funded higher education with MSU and to campaign for stipends for their student teachers while on placement. Together, we are indeed stronger”.The number of Yes votes had increased from 2013, when 87% of Maynooth students voted to remain in USI.Unlike the referendum held last March on membership of USI in UCD, there was no ‘No’ campaign against membership of the union in Maynooth. In the UCD referendum on membership, 74% of students chose to disaffiliate from USI. At the time, the ‘No’ Campaign released a statement to the College Tribune in which they outlined five reforms that USI would need to make before they would consider re-joining. The reforms were: that USI make its annual accounts publicly available, that the USI President be democratically elected, that longer sabbatical terms for its officers are instated; that the USI’s voting structures are amended to allow for more robust discussion and that an internal review of costs and membership fees are undertaken. However the ‘Yes’ campaign said that students may have voted No to USI without knowing all the facts and were critical of UCDSU for not giving impartial information to UCD students on the referendum. The majority of students’ union in Ireland are members of USI, UCD and University of Limerick are the most prominent non-members.