DCUSU Vice President for Education and Placement, Craig McHugh has announced the formation of a new student activist group within the college.
The announcement was made at the last Class Rep Council (CRC) on November 1st, 2018, where the idea was brought before the class reps for discussion. The group is planned to be a body of students who will assemble to protest or campaign for student rights or on student issues.
“The purpose of the student activist group is to target the confidence and supply agreement, which is going on now, to raise awareness on publicly funded higher education and also act as a group that is there that care about its student population, care about its universities, care about student rights, on almost all issues, so things like, Shepard, student rights, and accommodation,” said McHugh.
The idea was met with mixed to positive reception from the CRC. Questions were raised around the funding of the group, the numbers involved and the whether preference will be given to students who are currently members of political parties.
McHugh explained that currently there is no set number of students planned and that preference will not be given to politically affiliated students.
The funding of the project will come from the campaign funds allocated to the Students’ Union. “It will be an informal group with formal funding… if we are spending loads of money on this we are not doing it properly,” said McHugh.
So far, McHugh has said that he has had much interest in the formation of the group, “we’ve had a significant amount of people come up to me and suggesting ideas on what we can do with it.”
“Significantly teachers who want to take action on what is happening now with the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), and also interest from class reps. We’re sending an email following this week.”
Similar groups as the one proposed by McHugh have been seen on campuses in the past, most recently the “Take Back Trinity” movement in March, 2018 which saw hundreds of students occupy an on-campus building in protest of a €450 fee to resit an examination.
On the group, second-year education student and Class Representative Ellen Corr said: “I don’t really think the group is a bad idea, I understand that the executives have an awful lot to deal with and this would allow more things to be dealt with at once, however, I would be a little dubious as to how successful it will be. But I guess there’s no harm in trying.”
Similarly, third-year computer applications student and Class Representative said that he was worried that the group could “set a pretty dangerous precedent if the union was to target one group in particular. I don’t feel like that was the spirit of the idea though and I absolutely think that it’s a good idea.”
Image credit: Cait Caden