Opinion: College identity is a self-defeating concept

Brion Hoban

St. Pats Incorporation. Image Credit: Zoe Ryan

The Incorporation has not been a success story for the students of St Patrick’s College. They have had to endure numerous drawbacks without receiving much in return.

Students have been forced to commute between campuses rather than being based in a singular location. The abolition of their clubs and societies was an absolute travesty and it is without question that students have suffered more than prospered.

Incorporating the St Pat’s Student Union into DCUSU has also proved a folly, as senior members of this new union publically insist the Incorporation has been a success rather than listen to the majority of its members who disagree.

The recent survey commissioned by this newspaper revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the burdensome changes, not to mention that more than half of respondents felt the Incorporation has been an overall negative endeavour.

Yet there is one aspect of the replies that is slightly perplexing. Many respondents felt that the incorporation has led to a loss of identity within the Drumcondra college.

It is well-known that many students of St Pat’s take pride in being a part of their college. This seems a rather self-defeating state of affairs.

That is not to say that St Pat’s is not an excellent college. It would be just as self-defeating for a student to take pride in attending DCU, or indeed any third-level institution.

Where exactly is that pride being directed? Taking pride in being a member of your particular student body is understandable, but taking pride in a nebulous institution which will never return a trace of the respect you show them is unwise.

No university is worthy of your pride. To the heads of a university you will only ever be a statistic from which they draw funding for a small handful of years.

Remember that DCU did not invade St Pat’s, Mater Dei or CICE with tanks and artillery. In every case it was the heads of each institution that chose to throw in their lot with the Glasnevin University.

While the top officials of DCU are indeed the people who are making the decisions that ail you, remember that it was the top officials of your college who sold you out first. The top brass have proven they do not have your best interests at heart.

Thus your college does not deserve your loyalty. Give that loyalty to your fellow students instead and see how much you all might accomplish.

Your lecturers may also be worthy of loyalty. The recent protests of CICE lecturers proves that they too are suffering from this Incorporation.

The students of DCU, St Pat’s, Mater Dei and CICE should not be at each other’s throats over the Incorporation. Such actions only distract from fighting against the university officials who are the true culprits of these mounting injustices.

Many St Pat’s students feel as though DCU is attempting to force a new identity upon them. Sever the ties between your identity and your college, and DCU can never threaten your identity again.

Bríon Hoban

Illustration by Zoe Ryan