UCDSU council 8: 01/03/2021

Image Credit: UCDSU

UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) met over Zoom for their eighth council of the teaching year.

Council voted on seven motions, all of which passed without any speakers opposed. They are listed below:

Motion 1: mandates “that UCD Students’ Union develop a Palestine Awareness week each year in conjunction with relevant societies, interest groups and the wider student body. This shall fall under the remit of the Campaigns & Engagement Officer and the President.”

Motion 2: mandates “That the UCDSU takes an official boycott stance on Direct provision, and everything that aids this system. That UCDSU therefore campaign and protest with the aim of bringing awareness of Direct Provision to the student body and to bring the attention of the government to this inhumane system of living” and that “the UCDSU and more specifically, the Campaigns & Engagement officer, Campaign for the end of the ‘Direct Provision’ system and the introduction of a humane reception system in line with international best practice.”

Motion 3: mandates “That the Graduate Officer and the Campaigns and Engagement Officer lobby the Department of Social Protection and any other relevant bodies for this payment for postgraduate students.”

Motion 4: mandates “That the UCDSU Welfare Officer along with the Campaigns & Engagement Officer publish further information on safe drug usage. Council further mandates: In order to promote safe drug usage and awareness around the issue, UCDSU should support the UCD Chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) in their formation and their establishment of awareness campaigns”.

Motion 5: mandates That the Welfare Officer and the Disability Rights Campaign Coordinator lobby the UCD Access and Lifelong Learning Centre to install sensory pods on the UCD campus” and that “the Welfare Officer and the Disability Rights Campaign Coordinator lobby the UCD Access and Lifelong Learning Centre to introduce quiet rooms for students”.

Motion 6: mandates “That the President and Campaigns & Engagement Officer lobbies University Management to undertake a widespread consultation on the design process for stage 3 of the residential masterplan, [that] The Students’ Union to provide specialised rental support services including the provision of office hours to inform students on the tenancy protections available to them and options for off campus accommodation. The responsibility for implementation of this mandate and provision of rental support roles falls under the remit of the Welfare Officer”. The Motion also mandates that “the Students’ Union establish a Renters Rights Action Committee falling under the remit of the Campaigns and Engagement Officer. The scope of such a committee would be to facilitate co-ordinated responses to breaches of the protections provided to student renters under the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act” and that “the Students’ Union President, Welfare Officer and Campaigns & Engagement Officer lobby the Government for the introduction of a nationwide rent freeze, a heavily graded vacant property and dereliction taxes, elimination of tax breaks for REITs and Vulture funds, the adoption of a “Housing First Strategy”, increase in funding for homelessness services and the provision of cost-rental accommodation”.

Motion 7: mandates “that the President and Campaigns & Engagement Officer lobby UCD to increase their compliance with FOI law”, and that “the President and Campaigns & Engagement Officer lobby UCD to increase the current resources and staff available to UCD FOI”.

Final Stage social science class rep Jayson Pope brought forward an Item for discussion on “Classism at UCD and what the SU can do”. Potential campaigns and workshops were discussed, as was involvement of UCD alumni from working class backgrounds, as well as issues around both financial difficulties and discrimination based on social class. Conor Anderson highlighted that the work of UCDSU was primarily aimed at working class students, as the campaigns are often focussed around economic issues such as rent and affordability.

Pope also brought forward a discussion on “Splitting the Arts & Humanities & Social Science constituency”. Despite being post-council 4, and therefore too late to split constituencies  for the upcoming election, the topic was discussed to allow views on the topic to be aired. UCD Split Arts and Humanities and Social Science in 2018.

All executive reports were accepted by council, except for Corey Power De Jong’s, the College officer for Engineering & Architecture, as it was submitted late, and Education Officer Hannah Bryson's, who was absent.

During questions not on notice, Class reps Gary Ward and Darryl Horan questioned Business College Officer Liam Coyle on an email sent from his official UCDSU address to 943 business students which promoted his candidacy in the upcoming SU elections. He repeated what was stated in his comment to the College Tribune, stating that he had missed the briefing for candidates and so was unaware of the regulations. Coyle confirmed that he had attended the briefing last year, and council 7 of this year, at both of which the rules had been outlined, but that he had since forgotten the relevant regulation. Coyle confirmed that he was now aware of the regulation, and will be complying with the Returning Officer’s instructions as regards to a follow up email to “level the playing field and promote fairness”.