An emergency motion to support the Defend the University Charter was passed at the final Class Rep Council meeting of the first semester.
The motion was put to Counsil by EPL student Seán Cassidy following a speech about the campaign from Professor Ronnie Munck and Louise O’Reilly of SIPTU.
The Students’ Union will communicate the decision to DCU President, Brian MacCraith after the majority of around 50 class representatives voted in favour of the motion at the meeting.
The charter was launched by DCU academics and has gained national momentum in recent months, as well as receiving statements of support from universities as far as Canada and New York. It believes that corporations’ and business interests should not dictate learning in universities.
Professor Munck said: “I have never seen anything as worrying as what is happening lately. Without discussing, universities have hitched themselves to corporate sponsors. Enterprises can’t run courses, educators do and this is where the mix-up is.”
SIPTU Education Sector Organiser, Louise O’Reilly added: “the people who are teaching you should teach you to think freely and to be creative. It is important to have a university where you learn and have freedom to question because we are living with the fact that we didn’t question our banks and politicians enough in the past. It is imperative that we have a university where lecturers have the freedom to help you to learn, to question and to lift your hands up if something doesn’t seem right.”
“A university that is over-governed by industry or by corporate interests is not a free university. We will talk and are happy to debate with people.”
When asked why he felt it necessary to put an emergency motion to the council on the issue Cassidy replied: “I think it was important that the union endorsed the Charter. The academics of this university and across the country are trying to start a debate on the issue of university funding and its effect. Students are stakeholders in higher education in this country and we need to ensure we are a part of the debate.”
The Defend the University Charter can be viewed at www.defendtheuniversity.ie