Rachel Breslin, sildenafil the sole SU Presidential candidate and current Welfare Officer, ed has pledged to hold a referendum on UCD Students’ Union’s affiliation with the Union of Students in Ireland sometime in the next academic year.
The move is a significant one as UCDSU, search the largest individual students’ union in the state, contributes over €100,000 to the USI budget each year. Breslin, likely President-elect, says she believes there is an appetite amongst UCD students for a referendum on the matter.
Although she told the College Tribune she believes it would be inappropriate for her to indicate how she would vote in the referendum, she said that she is content with the level of reform in the new USI constitution and believes USI offers an effective method of launching national campaigns. She said she believes it is ultimately up to the students of UCD to decide if they are getting their money’s worth from USI membership – currently every member of UCDSU pays a €5 USI membership fee annually.
Significantly, UCDSU are holding a referendum in March to determine the Union’s position on fees. Currently UCDSU, like USI, campaign for free fees. However, recently some students have begun to express the view that they believe this is no longer a realistic goal and argue a more pragmatic approach is needed.
Breslin says if UCD students were to vote to change the Union’s position on fees and if this was not consistent with USI policy then a referendum on affiliation with USI would be held in semester one of the next academic year. USI are also currently reviewing their position on fees as many criticised last autumn’s “Stop Fees, Save the Grant” campaign.
Trinity College Students’ Union President had encouraged TCD students to petition for a referendum on USI affiliation before Christmas, however no referendum has been called and sources in Trinity suggest one will not take place this year.
UCDSU sabbatical officer elections and a referendum on a proposed new SU constitution will take place in two weeks time on Wednesday 29th February and Thursday 1st March. A total of eleven candidates are running for the five sabbatical positions.
This week’s College Tribune features analysis of all eleven candidates, including their position on USI and fees [see pages 6-10]. The majority of candidates support a referendum on USI membership. If elected, Campaigns and Communications candidate Karl Gill has pledged to step down from the position should UCDSU’s policy on fees be changed and he was not expected to campaign for free fees.