The Union for Students in Ireland (USI) aims to increase the representation of postgraduate students in 2018.
All members of the USI are required to pay an annual €8 levy which includes postgraduate students. However, there is no official representation for postgraduates in the union.
Student delegates voted to postpone the motion at the USI Congress in March earlier this year and then-President Annie Hoey promised a vote would happen the following year after the union had a chance to assess its financial position.
“There is an appetite within the USI membership for more concerted representation on postgraduate issues,” said Oisín Hassan, the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The USI is hosting a Postgraduate Student Symposium to develop a “more postgraduate-specific policy” in Spring 2018. The Symposium will address issues such as the quality of education, funding, research culture, the postgraduate voice in Students’ Union’s, and experience within HEIs.
Brendan Power, the Vice President for Academic Affairs at DCU felt that a postgraduate officer wasn’t necessary right now.
Power said if somebody was paid full-time there would be a different emphasis on how postgraduate issues are dealt with.
He suggested that a part-time officer would be more appropriate than a full-time sabbatical.
“There are lots of issues that are more to the fore,” said Power. If the motion is brought up in the next Congress, Power was unsure on whether it would pass as it is “very difficult to predict”.
DCU currently has a part-time postgraduate officer, Allan Stevenson. Although there were some issues last year with the position, Power said that he thought the format “works quite well here”.
Power said that once there is clear communication, a postgraduate officer can effectively feed information to the student union to solve postgraduate problems.
Carrie Mc Mullan
Image Credit: USI