USI facing a membership crisis?

Disclosure: I served on the USI LGBT  Campaign between 2006 and 2008

Reports have surfaced that two Dublin Colleges are mulling their membership of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). Both Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) have issues with current USI Policies and Campaigns according to a post on Studenty Dublin.

According to the post  TCDSU president Ryan Bartlett is seeking a referendum on the Union’s affiliation with the USI. Bartlett’s main criticisim focused on the planning and co-ordination of the ‘Stop Fees, Save the Grant’ campaign last year. He said “The national protest didn’t receive enough attention earlier on, which caused logistical difficulties and difficulties with getting the message out there to students and really getting students to understand what the issues were what solutions were available and what the plan of action was.”

“I’m not convinced that the “Stop Fees, Save the Grant” campaign has represented Trinity students and other colleges seem to have accepted that there is a different sentiment in Trinity. This means that students have to ask whether or not they want to continue being represented by USI.”

The post also raises specualtion about UCDSU’s financial difficulties which could see it withdraw from USI.

This year also sees University College Cork (UCC) hold its triennial referendum on USI membership. With only the current President of the SU and the Vice President not seeking election they could be left thin on the ground in what could be a tight vote.

It will be a tough year for USI if any of the three colleges dis-affiliated and it could be in dire straits if all three  leave and join the University of Limerick and the Cork Institute of Technology outside of USI.

Education Not Emigration

While watching the news tonight, my tune on the National March against the proposed increase in College fees changed. Some will call me, a mé féiner, but I think what the Government is proposing is idiotic.

Doubling the Registration Fee is stupid.

Cutting the Grant is stupid.

Placing a €500 fee on post leaving cert courses is stupid.

How are we supposed to afford an education in this county? Even a PLC?

We need to properly fund the education sector, but taxing students is not the way. Its time to look at other options. A graduate tax or other method that is fair and progressive needs to be be looked at. A student loan system would be as bad as this idea in my opinion.

So tell the government what you think.

March on November 3rd.

For more information see Educationnotemigration.ie

Check with your local Student Union about buses to the protest.

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