News in Brief

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Here's a round-up of what you might have missed over the past weeks

UCDSU announces opening of nomination for the 2024 Students’ Union Executive Elections. (by Tessa Ndjonkou)

On Tuesday February 13th, The UCD Students’ Union announced it was opening nomination for the 2024 executive elections. Nominations opened at 10 am on the day. Forms for applications have been made available to students online but students can also request a physical form by calling into the UCDSU Reception near the Atrium in the old Student Centre. 

President Martha Ní Riada and Entertainments Officer Neo O’Herlihy were in the Old Student Union Atrium distributing energy drinks, pot noodles and flyers in hopes of encouraging passing students to run for sabbatical positions or cast their vote. 

The UCD Students’ Union hosted a Nominations Open information event on the eve of February 13th. Nominations close on March 8th at 5pm. Official candidate names will be released March 11th. The next few weeks will see candidates for sabbatical officers campaigning in a myriad of ways but namely through leafleting of physical materials, postering, physical canvassing, lecture addressing, social media campaigning through posts and canvassing students through class group chats. As usual any form of campaigning that results in financial gain for the candidate or members of his campaign is strictly forbidden and would result in the definite disqualification of the candidate. 

As usual, students may campaign to fill one of the six available sabbatical officer roles: President, Welfare Officer, Campaigns and Engagement Officer, Education Officer, Entertainments Officer and Graduate Office; college officer roles and Oifigeach na Gaeilge (Irish Language Officer). Whilst sabbatical officer roles are full-time positions paid €28,000 per annum, college officer roles are a part-time commitment. 

The University Observer will offer exclusive coverage of the UCDSU Executive Election cycle


Technological University Dublin Students’ Union Vote in favour of backing a ‘Leave’ Campaign in Upcoming USI Affiliation Referendum (by Tessa Ndjonkou)

On Thursday February 15th, TU Dublin Students’ Union voted in favour of Backing a “leave” campaign in the upcoming USI Affiliation Referendum. 

In order to provide TU Dublin students the opportunity to decide whether or not to continue being a member of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Students' Union first suggested the Affiliation Referendum in December. After another vote among the Union's Executive, all of its Full-Time Officers decided to support a "Leave" vote in the next campaign. 

"TU Dublin SU pays a considerable amount of student money to an organisation that does not provide tangible results to its student population, nor does it effectively represent students on a national level," declared Brian Jordan, President of TU Dublin’s Students’ Union expressing his support for the Leave campaign. This is partially because of a dysfunctional policy framework, which has led to a scenario where essentially none of Congress's mandates (21–23) have advanced, making Congress useless.” 

He notably cited UCDSU as an example of how college unions show are not a part of USI can still make valuable change to student welfare: “Unions should continue to work together, as UCDSU, ULSL and USI often do in national discussions, and come together for national protests and actions. However, a Union does not need to pay extortionate affiliation fees to achieve this, nor is it a morally appropriate way of managing student money.” UCDSU left USI in 2013 and held a referendum last year to gauge if students would be interested in rejoining; however the latter did not reach quorum. 

Members of the TU Dublin SU Student Council vigorously disputed the issue on both sides, with Zaid Al-Barghouthi, Vice President for Campaigns USI, speaking out against it. Following heated debate, the Student Council voted overwhelmingly in favour of Backing a ‘Leave’ Campaign in the upcoming USI Affiliation Referendum. 

The University Observer has reached out Brian Jordan and Zaid Al-Barghouthi for comment and will update this story with updates. 

Charity Initiatives for Palestine on the UCD campus (by Ilaria Riccio)

Throughout the week of 19th February, several charity initiatives to raise money for Palestine took place in UCD.

On Thursday 22nd February, a Bake Sale took place in different locations on the Belfield campus - the New Student Centre and in front of the James Joyce Library - between 11am and 4pm. Speaking to The University Observer, the students holding the stand in the New Student Centre reiterated that this was the second time such an initiative has been organised in UCD - and the first iteration was so successful that they decided to host it again, particularly in light of the skyrocketing number of civilian casualties in Gaza. 

Products on offer ranged from Palestine-themed cupcakes to cookies, biscuits and other sweet treats. Shortly after 3pm, the James Joyce stand was entirely sold out, while there were only two trays left in the New Student Centre. The organisers later revealed that they raised over 3000€, which will be directly donated to the families in Gaza. 

On Friday 23rd February, UCD DramSoc hosted a Thrift for Palestine in their theatre space between 1pm and 4pm. Speaking to The University Observer, a representative of DramSoc revealed that they contacted the UCD division of the BDS Campaign to identify charities to donate the money raised from the event. The clothes on sale included DramSoc excess dressing room material alongside items committee members had donated themselves. The same representative of DramSoc expressed satisfaction at the overall turnout of the initiative, which raised a total of 300€.