I feel like we should still be in October, it can’t possibly be that we’re already in November, can it? Time is flying by. If you missed the October meeting, my previous article is here.
Let’s get straight into Novembers meeting. This months council started off with a bang, and truthfully, it was the highlight of the meeting. I feel like it’s important for you to know because, as students at DIT who are currently members of USI, you should know about what they do for you and also what happens with the council members and representatives at these meetings.
The President of USI, Michael Kerrigan, attended the meeting and gave a long update on all that USI has been up to. He updated on where things stood with student loans being implemented in Ireland. Over 20,000 people had signed petitions against it and as it turns out, even the Minister of Education are coming up against this proposal. At the moment, USI is putting as much pressure as possible, against the scheme. Hopefully by early December we will know the verdict. USI will also be meeting with the Minister for a student charter on issues in regards to international students such as non-EU fees. These currently have no regulations and are extremely expensive. It is an issue that has been brought up by student council many times. They are also hopeful that 3 million euro they hope to allocate towards 3rd level funding, will be accepted. As you may know, this has been a pressing issue as well, over the past year.
Tension set in after Michael Kerrigan’s long presentation was over. Council members set forward a lot of questions to the president. One of the questions was, what is USI doing for students that DITSU isn’t already doing (essentially asking, why should DITSU keep paying for it)? The answer? USI does a lot to keep coming to the meetings, they visit the campus often. USI is framed from what students want. After last year’s referendum, 91% of students voted to stay, so by questioning USI would now mean questioning the students decision. Another key question was if students pay less to USI, than what they do now, what will they lose? Essentially, students would lose less power, less campaigns, less support in negotiating on national issues…if you leave or pull back, you also lose say in important matters (ie. the loan scheme). USI are always looking for ways to improve, but a lot of it are things that they cannot do overnight. They continue to attend meetings and listen to students.
On a completely different note, IT Tallaght SU representative President Jason came to the meeting. It was mainly to introduce himself to student council. He told everyone that there is a lot of progress being made in regards to motions of TUD. Their last meeting, which was with the Department of Education, was a positive one (despite not being quite what they had expected). If you don’t know what TUD is, it is basically the merging of IT Tallaght, IT Blanchardstown and DIT’s SUs merging together.
Now this was the point when a surprise cake was brought out for VP of Education and everyone sang him happy birthday- quite the mood lightener!