The University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCD SU) rejected a proposed rebate of €50 on the student levy from the University Management Team (UMT) on Monday. The offer came as a counter proposal after president Andrew Deeks rejected a request by UCD SU for a rebate taken from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) €11 million surplus generated from student fees.
With an estimated 34,000 students currently registered at UCD, the UMT’s proposed rebate would cost around €1.7 million, which SU Sabbatical Officers were told “students would pay for one way or another”. The UMT requested that the SU Sabbatical Officers provide a written statement that they “agree to the rebate with the knowledge that there will be an impact on the future finances of the Student Centre”.
The rebate was offered as an acknowledgment from the UMT that students have had reduced benefit from the use of the Student Centre, and would have been added to the €250 rebate already offered by the government.
The matter was brought to the attention of the SU during council, raised as an emergency item for discussion by Welfare officer Ruairí Power, as the SU Sabbatical Officers felt that it was something to be decided on by the entire council. Council Chair Niall Torris allowed for an indicative vote, due to the nature of the item for discussion.
The funding used for the proposed rebate would potentially have impacted the Student Centre’s ability to to pay for the mortgage for the ongoing construction work, which is expected to be finished by 2023. Education Officer Hannah Bryson suggested, during council, that an estimated 80% of the Student Levy goes towards the mortgage, while the remaining 20% goes to the daily cost of running the centre, including the Health Services and gym.
The decision to reject the offer was passed with a 60% majority, after no speakers spoke in favour of accepting the deal. SU president Conor Anderson acknowledged that it was a ‘bad deal’, however also warned that the UMT could blame the SU for rejecting a rebate.
Stephen Kisbey-Green – Co-Editor