UCD students vote to reject USI return

UCD choose to remain outside of the USI. (Credit University Times)

UCD students have voted against re-joining the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), three years after they left the national student body.

A referendum which took place last week, showed 26 per cent of students voted Yes to re-joining while 74 per cent voted to continue UCD’s positon outside of the USI.

The total number of voters who took to the polls was 2,921, excluding spoiled ballots.

While there was a low turnout the returning officer, Hugh O’Connor, deemed it to be in excess of quota.

Students were asked to answer the following question: “Shall UCDSU affiliate to the Union of Students in Ireland, subject to an increase in the Student Centre Levy of €5 per full-time student and €2.50 per part-time student?”

The strongest showings of support for the No side were in the Law and Architecture/Engineering buildings with over 80 per cent voting no. While 73 per cent of the Veterinary Science building voted Yes.

UCD students will be asked again to vote on USI membership in four years’ time and has set out a list of reforms it hopes to see established before students will consider re-joining.

According to The College Tribune, UCD asks that the USI make its annual accounts publicly available, that democratic elections for the USI’s president take place, that longer sabbatical terms for its officers are instated, that voting structures the USI’s annual congress are amended to allow for more robust discussion and that an internal review of costs and membership fees is undertaken.

The 2013 referendum to disaffiliate came a year after UCDSU faced financial difficulties due to poor accounting practices. Those who campaigned to disaffiliate at the time emphasised the need for UCDSU to stay focused on local issues as opposed to national ones. The results of the last referendum saw students voting to leave the USI by a margin of 64.5 per cent.

DCU, NUI Maynooth and Trinity College are all members of the USI.

By Catherine Devine

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