On Monday, February 8th, UCD organised a meeting to answer the questions of students with the Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor Barbara Dooley who dismissed the concerns brought up by the Alliance.
According to a post in the Alliance’s Facebook group, the invitation to attend the congregation stated that the Dean would be comfortable to answer queries and questions concerning matters such as extensions on assignments and theses.
The Alliance felt the need to raise some of the issues they have been fighting for since their own campaign took its first steps. They have and continue to battle with the university daily to put an end to unpaid work for PhD students while also addressing the inequality of tuition fees for students from overseas.
Restoring the hourly pay rates, which were reduced 10 years ago, is also at the fore of the aims and concerns of the group. In 2010, a Senior Postgraduate Demonstrator earned €21.94 while a regular Postgraduate Demonstrator earned €18.26 by the hour. Twelve months later, these rates had dropped to €19.75 and €16.43 per hour, respectively.
These figures show a drop of 9.98% in the hourly pay rate for a Senior Postgraduate Demonstrator while there was a further decrease of 10.02% in the hourly pay rate for a Postgraduate Demonstrator.
Failure to Address The Group
As the meeting progressed and to the “disbelief” of the group, Professor Barbara Dooley refused to address all questions which were raised by the group members present, maintaining that they should be dealt with by Human Resources. According to the Alliance, the Dean kept her recommendations to problems such as time management. The Alliance have and continue to find the “ping-pong” of responsibilities between the different bodies of the university to be “disheartening”.
The group have expressed their dissatisfaction by stating on their social media page. “As much as the higher echelons of UCD like to talk about the wellbeing of the UCD community, they do not want to address the real issues which we are facing every day”. The group feel that it is absolutely necessary to continue their campaign in order to secure fundamental workers’ rights for all postgraduate workers, both at third level and national level.
Caolan Dooley – Reporter