DCU would be tarnished by association with the Union of Students in Ireland, according to Chairperson of DCU Young Fine Gael Ryan Hunt.
Hunt was speaking at the hustings for the referendum on affiliation with USI in DCU yesterday. He said that membership of USI would not further the university’s interests and added that DCU should continue to vote no to USI until they reform.
USI President John Logue also spoke at the debate and said USI could give DCU a voice on national issues and a voice in the Department of Education. He said that USI had prevented the introduction of full third level fees twice in the past. He added that USI had secured an additional €3 million for the Student Assistance Fund of which €120,000 went to DCU, however he also admitted that it wasn’t enough and he would have preferred if they got €4 million.
Chairperson of Labour DCU and USI’s student sponsor on campus Sean Rooney said USI was now unrecognisable from when students voted to leave the organisation in 2002. He said there were a number of misconceptions about USI and that the USI became “a dirty word on campus” over the last number of years. He also questioned the fact that the DCU Students’ Union are solely trained by the university. If DCU joined USI the SU would receive training from the organisation.
Nathan Wheeler spoke at the hustings as an independent student against affiliation with USI. He said many things did not add up in regards the organisation and that arguments in favour of affiliation seem fabricated. He pointed out that a number of universities have held referendums in the last number of years on whether to remain affiliated with USI.
One of the issues raised by a student during questions was the cost of USI membership for students as there had been some confusion during the debates. Logue brought some clarity to the subject, saying it should cost full-time students €5 and part-time students €2.50 annually.
If DCU become affiliated with USI the organisation would receive €46,650 from DCU Students’ Union each year, according to Logue. This contribution can be increased to cover things such as travel costs to USI events if the Class Rep Council vote in favour of it.