UCD to hold USI affiliation referendum

UCD Students’ Union will hold a referendum regarding its affiliation with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). UCD students will be given the option as to whether the college should pay over €100,000 to remain in affiliation with the USI.

The referendum was due to take place on February 13th and 14th but following a problem with signatures that were needed for the referendum to take place, it was postponed for the second time. The referendum was originally due to take place in November 2012.

The UCD SU needed to turn in over 800 signatures to the Returning office by 5pm on January 30th in order for the referendum to take place on February 13th and 14th. However, following complications with the wording of the paper, the Returning Officer rejected the signatures.

A further 800 signatures were collected in order to hold the referendum.

An important function of the USI is to liaise with the Higher Education Authority (HEA). President of UCD Students’ Union, Rachel Breslin, said the USI are the sole student representative body with a seat on the HEA and disaffiliation will mean that UCD no longer have access to that seat.

Should UCD students decide to disaffiliate from the USI it will then be “up to the sabbatical team, executive team and council to assess what are our needs on a national level” stated Rachel Breslin. “Such a significant amount of our expenditure, around €110,000-120,000 all-in membership every year goes to the USI. I think it’s important that we review USI and the expenditure that that accounts for.”

The UCD SU will not take a stance on the referendum. “I’m putting something to a referendum and asking all students. I think it would be an undue influence as the chief spokesperson to give their opinion” Breslin said.

DCU is holding an referendum on USI reaffiliation next week with voting taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The referendum will be held in conjunction with the Reproductive Rights referendum..

DCU previously held a referendum on USI membership in 2010, and although only 10% of students cast their ballot, a large majority voted against joining the student representative body.

Finnian Curran

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