A referendum to decide whether or not DCU Students’ Union (SU) remains affiliated with the USI is set to be run on December 11th to 13th, alongside two others.
DCUSU, which holds the referendum every three years in accordance with their constitution, is to remain neutral on the issue.
There are two campaigns being run, one pro and one anti-USI affiliation.
Tadgh Jenkins is campaigning in support of USI membership and says that the USI provides DCU students with good support and opportunities, such as Pink Training for LGBT+ students, and an annual USI Congress.
“If we left the USI, we wouldn’t be able to have a voice in that conversation,” said Jenkins.
The College View contacted the “No” campaign but they were not interested in commenting.
Membership of the USI, as charged by DCUSU, costs eight euro per full-time student or five euro per part-time student and it’s applied to the student contribution charge. This charge is already applied to the current student contribution charge of 3,043 euro.
The USI, which is unable to campaign in support of DCUSU’s membership, is the main national representative body for Irish students.
According to President of the USI, Lorna Fitzpatrick, if DCUSU were to disaffiliate from the USI, they would retain all benefits of membership until the end of the academic year. After that, all benefits would cease.
Losing an affiliated students’ union could potentially lead to a smaller budget for the USI, alongside a smaller executive team.
“It does mean that USI would have to reevaluate our budget because a lot of the money that we spend on campaigns and so on comes directly from our affiliation fees… Obviously, if there’s less money coming in, there’s less to spend,” said Fitzpatrick.
At least 10 per cent of the DCU student population need to vote in the election for it to be accepted, which is 1,740 students according to Returning Officer Podge Sheehan.
Alongside this referendum, there will also be one on whether DCUSU should lobby the university to stop the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes in shops across its three campuses.
A third referendum will also take place, with it deciding whether or not a new constitution for DCUSU will be brought in. One of the biggest changes is the new sabbatical roles that are being created, while the current ones are retired.
The roles include Vice President’s for Academic Life, Diversity and Inclusion, Community and Citizenship and Wellbeing. The current role of President of DCUSU will remain the same, however.
Image Credit: Sonja Tutty