UCDSU Documents Remain Unpublished for Years; Financial Statements Show SU Salary Raises
By Brían Donnelly | Apr 18 2018The minutes recording the events of Union Council meetings have gone unpublished since February 2017, while Union Executive minutes have not been made available since late October. The Union Budget and the reports of the Union Executive, the Campaign Coordinators, and the Entertainments Forum have not been published online since the 2014/2015 academic year. Links to eight reports from that year are inaccessible on the UCDSU website. Minutes available for 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 show that budget and report proposals were approved by Councils in those years. The financial statements of UCD Students’ Union Ltd, received by the University Observer, show that the Union has had an income of over €1 million for both of periods over 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. UCDSU last published financial statements on their website for the year 2013/2014. The financial statements for 2015/2016 list only one person being employed as staff for the University Observer. There are currently, and were during that year, three paid positions within the newspaper: the Editor, the Deputy Editor, and the Design Editor. The statements also show an increase from €19,070 to €21,570 in the average wages and salaries paid to employees of UCDSU Commercial Servicesbetween 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. The number of staff in 2015/2016 was 14, a decrease of 3 from the previous year. Separate financial statements for UCDSU Commercial Services Ltd, the company which operates the SU Shops, show that that the company made a profit of just under €140,000 for the 2015/2016 period. The UCDSU Constitution does not require the audited accounts of the Union to be published.
Council and Exec Minutes The Union Executive is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the SU and consists of the Sabbatical Officers, the College Officers, and the Irish Language Officer. Under the Constitution of UCD Students’ Union, the Union Executive must meet ‘a minimum of every two weeks.’ Minutes for both Council and Executive meetings are taken and prepared by the Union Secretary, who, according to the Constitution, must publish them “not later than one month after the relevant meeting.” The current Union Secretary, Helen Vystoska, was appointed by former-UCDSU President Katie Ascough before her impeachment on October 27th. Vystoska took the position from acting secretary, Education Officer Robert Sweeney. The membership of Union Council consists of the Sabbatical Officers, the College Officers, the Irish Language Officer, the individual Class Representatives, and the individual members of the Campaigns Forum. UCDSU Constitution requires that Union Council meet every three weeks during the ordinary teaching terms of UCD. Union Council are responsible for formulating policy and mandating individual members of the Union Executive, Entertainments Forum, or Campaign Forum to undertake particular tasks. The most recent Union Executive minutes available relate to an emergency meeting held on October 24th, during which a motion was passed appealing the decision to deny the Sabbatical Officers annual leave. The decision had been made by the Returning Officer. Union records since 2013 are mostly accessible, although some links on the UCDSU website to Union minutes for the 2013/2014 session are broken. Records of Executive meetings from 2015/2016 span only 3 meetings in September of that academic year, in contrast to the 2013/2014 and 2014/15 executives, which published 21 and 20 sets of minutes respectively. UCDSU President Barry Murphy declined to comment in relation to this year’s Union record-keeping.