Upcoming UCD Referenda: United Ireland and University Fees

Elections take place on Wednesday and Thursday of week 7; on March 7th and 8th. Along with the election of next year’s Students’ Union Sabbatical positions; two referenda will be held.The first referendum will ask students to pick a stance they would like the SU to adopt in relation to university fees. Currently, the SU doesn’t have a position on higher education fees.It will take the form of a “preferendum” give UCD students the choice between three different stances that the SU can adopt. The options are as follows: Current Fees; Income-Based Loan System or; Significantly Lower Fees. At the time of going to print, the returning officer for the referendums did not confirm the exact phrasing of the question.By voting for Current Fees, the SU will adopt the stance that it is happy with the current situation of “free fees” with a €3000 student contribution charge. Voting for Income-Based Loan System, will mean the SU will campaign for a change from current fee situation and to be replaced with a loan scheme, the amount payable to be based on family’s income. Voting for Significantly Lower Fees will mean the SU will campaign for “free fees” with a reduced student contribution charge.The second referendum will ask students the question “Should UCDSU have a pro-unity stance on a United Ireland.”The petition to hold a referendum on the topic of Irish Unity was organised by UCD Sinn Féin's O'Connor/Humphreys Cumann. In a tweet, the society claimed it collected 1000 signatures “in little over 8 hours of petitioning.”In order for the SU to hold a referendum, at least 3.5% of the total registered membership of the students union must have signed a petition to have a referendum. That means 843 students must sign a petition out of 25,500. Those that signed the petition need not have wanted a United Ireland to sign but for the SU to adopt a stance on the issue.Three other universities (NUI Galway, UCC and Trinity) will also be holding a referendum on the stance of their SU in relation to a united Ireland.In order for the results of a referendum to be passed, 10% of the student population or 2352 students must vote. The SU has already held one referendum this academic year in November on the SU’s stance on abortion, in the case of that referendum, 4781 students, exceeding quorum considerably.Any currently enrolled student in UCD is entitled to vote. You must have your UCD Student Card with you. Places and times of voting vary depending on what degree you’re studying for.In order to accommodate students who wish to partake in #strike4repeal, UCDSU are coordinating with UCD for Choice to allow those students to vote between 9am and 9pm on the 8th of March. #strike4repeal will happen on the 8th of March if the Irish government does not call a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment of the Irish constitution by that time.