Student Council Meeting Update | 22.3.17

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Another month, another student council meeting. It’s nearing the end of the year now which means almost the end of these updates! It’s a shame, I’ve been enjoying doing them…but enough about here, you’re here to read about the March Council meeting, so let’s get right into the highlights of the March Student Council meeting.

Unfortunately during this month’s meeting, there was quite a low turnout in student councillors, as opposed to previous meetings but this can be put down to upcoming deadlines, tired out students or..well..you ask them! It also was not as event-filled as other times but it was still, as usual, very interesting. Thankfully this time a mic was used therefore I could better hear everything that was going on!

Let’s begin with DITSU CLG. The chief executive, Pat Kearney, attended the meeting to give a mid-year review on the Draft Service Plan for the 2016/2017 academic year (as mentioned before, this can be accessed online, you don’t need to be a councillor in order to see this). Everything in DITSU is run for the students, by the students and this company also belongs to the students. Of course, they are some specialist from outside who sit in on meetings, but they are merely there to provide advice and aid; they are accountable to students. Any votes within the CLG that the students want, the students provide. DITSU CLG was formally known as DITSU Limited; the change means that we are now obliged to bring forward certain papers for consideration to council. Such as a work plan for the year and a financial plan= this is what constitutes the Draft Service Plan. It comes with a ‘traffic light’ system;

  • Red means nothing happened in relation to the task and in that case, it must be explained why
  • Green means the task has been completed
  • Orange means the task is still ongoing

When it comes to these reviews, people are encouraged to ask questions if they feel they have any, even if that means questioning the sabbaticals (you should never be afraid to do so). Pat Kearney said he would not go through the entire document but that he would go through the highlights;

  • It was a difficult year at the start, due to the funding issue. However after 6 months of arguing, finally the original agreement was signed. The year only really began after that because it was when things could finally actually start happening.
  • The year, there have been 50 more class reps than last year, but it is very difficult to get 100% every year.
  • In regards to training, all the funds and the necessary training has been delivered. Elections and referendums have also gone through accordingly.

Our DITSU President Boni then thanked Pat for his 10 years of work with DITSU CLG. He was also presented with an Honorary Membership after which there was a long round of applause and also, yes, some tears. If you weren’t there, you really missed a moment.

USI also attended the meeting and gave their updates;

  • DITSU, as you by now know, voted YES to stay in the USI. They thanked everyone who voted in that and they will continue to attend meetings and events to remain involved and engaged.
  • The European Students Convention was upcoming, USI would be attending that and they chose to support Access Education; they have these conversations to help make a difference.
  • They also launched a campaign to end sexual harassment in Third Level education; this campaign would be ongoing throughout the EU, not just Ireland.

Now onto officer reports;

In regards to the President, some council members questioned him as to why his report was so similar to last month’s; this was due to the fact that a lot of his tasks did not become complete therefore he is still working on them.

Vice President of Education had no comment on his officer reports. Vice President of Welfare did not submit her officer report. As for Vice President of Events did not submit his because, quote, he did not know that council would be on there he did not submit it the night before as he usually does. It happens to all of us! In other news, the Art exhibition raised over 100 euros and this was added to the RAG donations. Pat Kearney also generously donated 1000 euros to RAG.

Finally, onto motions. During this meeting, there were only three motions of note. Firstly, a motion was placed for Tom Clonan to be awarded an Honorary membership; this was a no brainer, it was voted in favor.

Secondly, a motion was placed forward in regards to the USI Annual Congress, more specifically, regarding alcohol consumption. The motion asks that no alcohol consumption be added to this because of “a basic respect level”. It was felt that this is not an event, it is a representative forum, something which the students’ money is going towards. In the past, there have been issues at Congress due to drinking ie. people not showing up or showing up late the next day due to being hungover. As could be expected, there were many different sides to this motion, and it did go back and forth for a long time. Some who were against it said, yes, it’s true, they probably shouldn’t drink during Congress however they felt they are adults who have the right to do what they please in their spare time; they go on this trip to be present and represent, but in their down time, they should be allowed to drink. Others who were against it stated that they spend all day at Congress and in the evenings, drinking and mingling was their way of winding down and socializing. However there were also arguments placed in favor of the motions, stating that there have been awful stories one could hear about from delegations being torn apart due to bad behavior, and it is shameful for students to only hear about that, rather than what actually went on at Congress meetings. In short, it was just a way for people to end up embarrassing themselves. After a lot of back and forth debating’, a councillor asked for the motion to finally be put to vote and in the end, it was voted against; people would be free to drink if they chose to.

There was a third motion, regarding officer responsibility however due to its vulnerable wording, it was voted to be amended and be referred back to another time.

The next student council meeting will be taking place in April after the Easter break, and (yes I will remind you of this every time because it’s key) remember that even if you aren’t a councillor, you can still attend these meetings. You simply cannot vote on motions or bring forward any issues. But they are still really great to attend, and a good way to remain more involved with DITSU! Until next time!

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