Speaking to UCDSU Council on November 30th, the final council of last Trimester, Welfare Officer Ruairí Power stated that UCD Governing Authority (GA) had rejected an Item for Decision worded “For decision: UCD should make a public statement advocating for a publicly funded universal model of Higher Education which would inform engagement with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science”.
Power’s item was sent to the GA Secretariat on November 9th, one day before the close of submissions for GA agenda items, November 10th. GA agenda items must be sent one month in advance of a GA meeting. UCD President Andrew Deeks, GA Chair Marie O’Connor, and the Secretary discuss the agenda of GA meetings. Speaking to The University Observer in early December, Power stated that it was in this setting that the item was rejected.
“We have sought a written justification for why the item was rejected from the agenda, that has not been forthcoming. I received an email this morning where it was reiterated that the agenda for the 10th of December was agreed. So I’m not sure I’m going to get a reasoning for it. In this email it says: ‘There are a number of comprehensive items on the agenda which will require the full time allocated for the meeting’
“I’m not sure how they will react to us speaking about it but we feel quite strongly that we should be able to bring items for discussion at the governing authority. We were in before the submission date and we have established clear precedent as to why it should have been allowed”.
UCD President Andrew Deeks has long been a supporter of solving the funding crisis in Higher Education by introducing a UK-style student loan system. In 2014 he stated: “If you look at the systems now in place in Australia and the UK they allow the student to enter university without any upfront cost, and then the student contribution is paid retrospectively...My personal view is that the contribution system that has worked in Australia for the past 20 years now provides a good model. It is a deferred payment of a debt, which is accumulated module by module as students progress through the course” according to The Irish Times. If GA were to pass the decision on public funding it would directly contradict President Deeks’s opinion.
UCD Governing Authority has not replied to a request for comment as to why the item was not included in the agenda.