Proposed amendment to University Act needs more discussion

DCU Students’ Union President, Paul Doherty, says that the proposed amendment to the University Act needs more discussion before they take a stance on it. Speaking to The College View, Doherty said: “Because there’s a lot in it I felt it needed a bigger discussion”.

University leaders have met with Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, to express their reservations about the proposed changes.

The amendment would give Minister Quinn more powers and require universities to follow government guidelines on pay, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers. Under the current University Act, ministers must rely on persuasion for universities to follow these guidelines.

While other students’ unions have come out against the changes, DCU SU is discussing the details further before making a comment. “We still don’t have a stance because it’s such a serious issue so we need to discuss it further, that’s why we don’t have a stance on it yet”, said Doherty.

Commenting on the Universities’ stance on the amendment, Doherty told The College View: “From the University’s point of view I suppose it is a bit of a worry for them”.

At the meeting with the Minister, the university leaders laid out concerns that the amendment would restrict them too much and would deter top academic talent and could discourage philanthropists from making donations.

UCD SU President, Rachel Breslin, is among those who have come out against the amendment already. She said that “by taking the power out of the university and the autonomy away from the university and giving it to a minister who is not involved in the day to day running and not involved in the sector particularly”.

Minster Quinn has made it clear that the amendment would proceed, but said he would reflect on the reservations of the universities.

Commenting on when DCU SU would comment on the amendment, Doherty said that it would be discussed at executive level and “it will probably go to Class Rep Council during the week.”

Jenny Darmody

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