This is it, the time has officially come. This is the last ever DITSU student council. From here, the next ones will be the TUDSU student councils. So, for the very last time (and actually for the last time from me!) let’s get into the final student council meeting of the year.
To start off with, council received a short, 15-minute presentation on the Financial Statements of 2017-2018. This is mandated and something that happens at the end of every year. It is part of DITSU being transparent in where their finances go and how their money is spent. It also gives council an opportunity to ask any questions they might have.
An update on the microwave situation, the trial in Bolton St. has been successful and the plan is that Kevin St. will be receiving microwaves next. It is not an ideal situation but at least they are slowly being rolled back out again. Hopefully next academic year, all campuses will have microwaves again.
USI came to give their monthly updates but instead of hearing from Colm, instead this time it was current VP for Equality Aisling Cusack, who was also the VP for the Dublin Region last year! So it was great to have her back at council. Here were the updates:
- The Fund the Future action on the 21st of March was super successful. Both students and staff took part and it was great to see staff supporting students in the action. It showed that this was not simply a student issue but a community issue.
- The first annual disability awareness campaign went well, and it was certainly overwhelming to hear so many different stories from different people.
- Keep an eye out because on the 18th of May is the next Raise the Roof march so if you want to take part, mark that down.
Finally, Aisling gave a very lovely speech about DITSU and how great it has been to work with us. It certainly moved everyone in the room and Aisling was given a standing ovation.
In regards to TU Dublin, the only update was the announcement of the newly elected officers. However if you want to know who these are and you somehow don’t yet…then you can see the full list here in this article!
Societies only update was around the upcoming musical, Cabaret, which is taking place on the 17th and 18th of April. Also the operatic society will be holding an opera, more information on this will follow when more is known! Finally on the 11th of May, Darkness into Light is taking place once again, starting from Grangegorman to sign up if you’d like to take part. It’s for a really great cause.
In other news, the ESHTE (Ending Sexual Harassment in 3rd Level Education) conference has been held and it was a great success. It’s great to see conferences like these taking place!
Also, the RAG Charity has been announced! As it is a different system for next year, the SU will be raising funds for not one but 3 different charities all at once (all of the funds raised will be split equally to the three charities when donated). TU Dublin City Campus, TU Tallaght and TU Blanchardstown Campus all choose a charity. TU Dublin City Campus (formerly known as DIT) have chosen the Peter Mc.Verry Trust!
Now onto the motions. There were four motions and four policies to get through this evening and boy, some of them were interesting debates so let’s just focus on the highlights. One motion was brought forward to bring in more dairy alternatives into campus cafeterias. This motion was presented with a carton of milk on display, just to really sell the point. The aim of this motion was that the only alternative present on most campuses at the moment is soy milk. Aungier St and Bolton St both offer other alternatives such as almond milk and this should be expanded. Not only does not everyone like soy milk but there are many who are allergic to soya and cannot drink it, however that then leaves them with no alternative options. This motion in the end was passed.
The second motion was around snack vouchers for students with diabetes. The argument was made, by the proposer of the motion, that if a person should be experiencing low blood sugar levels and perhaps forgot to bring food with them that could help, a food voucher would allow them to purchase food in cases of emergencies. However this motion was 9B (which is a procedural motion calling for the question to not be put). The reasoning was that the motion needs a lot more work and simply having food vouchers was not a good enough solution. The suggestion was to have glucose tablets included in all first aid kits around every campus instead, as these are much more effective and work much quicker, should someone with diabetes be experiencing low blood sugar levels. This 9B was passed therefore the question was not put.
Onto the highlights in policies. A policy around sustainability and climate change was proposed, which would see future TUDSU to lobby to raise awareness around climate change, encourage using reusable cups and getting rid of single-use plastic as much as possible etc. It was urged that it is important to pass this policy while Grangegorman is still being built so that proper facilities can still be put in place. This policy was passed.
Now for the biggest debate of the night. A policy was proposed around solidarity with victims of terrorist attacks. The policy proposed that the Student’s Union would oppose any speaker on campus who are known to promote the ideas of the far-right, lobby for hate crime legislation in Ireland and investigate the introduction of bystander intervention training for students who witness actions of hate and/or harassment. Those speaking against the policy called that it was an infringement on freedom of speech. It was felt that the Student’s Union was not one to tell students who they should and should not support, and that with this policy, the Union would be taking away free speech. Instead of doing that, we should be able to have a debate with them (those known to promote ideas of the far-right). A speaker in favor of the policy said that a firm stance needs to be taken on the issue as things are becoming more dangerous all of the time. Another speaker against the policy argued that the policy was flawed and the Union should not police what the students should hear. This type of action is simply too much for the Union to take on. A speaker for the policy argued that not everyone’s opinion can be trusted and it is the place of Union to take such action as they are voted to represent the students. It was also pointed out that opposing a speaker who is known to promote ideas of far-right would not mean that the Union would take action to prevent them from coming to campus, they would simply be against their being there.
After a very long debate, the policy in the end was passed.
So you can see that even at the last DITSU student council, things still got interesting.
If you’d like to be a Student Councillor next year, do remember that as the system is changing for TUDSU, Tu Dublin City Campus will only have 21 student councillors next year. A sure way of being on council is by being a School Rep, the nominations for which are still open! It’s a great position that’ll gain you a lot of experience and school reps automatically sit on council so go ahead and nominate yourself!
As for me, this is my last student council recap. It’s been a pleasure writing about them for you the past few years and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them!