On the last day of USI Congress there was a lot of mixed emotions, in the morning everyone was tired after 3 days of motions and debates, by lunch everyone was excited to see the results of the exec team for 2020/2021 and by the end everyone was trying to hold in the tears from the speeches of the leaving officers of 2019 – 2020 and newly elected Exec Team 2020/2021.
Vice President for the Blanchardstown Student Union campus Luke Daly motion for the USI exec team to endorse and campaign for PrEP accessibility.
PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) is a drug taken to prevent the contraction of HIV and is now available in Ireland.
Congress further notes
That PrEP is primarily aimed towards the MSM (men who have sex with men) group and meanwhile HIV does not discriminate against who it targets and can be contracted by anyone. The accessibility of the drug is also very limited in the sense of who can and cannot access this for free.
Congress notes with concern
That studies in countries where PrEP is available has shown an increase in the likes of Syphilis, Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia and that this is due to the lack of sexual health education that goes with the drug.
Congress therefore mandates
The Vice President for Welfare in conjunction with the Executive to lobby the government for increased accessibility of PrEP for all and furthermore to campaign to promote education of still using protection even while on PrEP’’.
This motion passed by a 90% majority by the delegates across the country.
Lesley Barrett a student from the TUD Tallaght campus and incoming Vice-President for Welfare proposed and passed to aid and assist a motion that would support students who are struggling with addiction.
Celebrating and Supporting Recovery Through Harm Reduction and Support.
Addiction is not defined solely with substance use/misuse. That an effective way of reducing issues around drug use lies not solely with anti-drug policies rather also include harm reduction and the promotion of recovery.
Congress further notes
However, people living with addiction have overcome huge mountains with the current system that doesn’t offer adequate support and should be celebrated in all ways whenever and wherever.
The work done by USI with regards to harm reduction and the MO’s from around the country on some amazing work done to reduce harm.
Congress therefore mandates
The Vice President for Welfare to encourage celebration for anyone going through recovery, adopt a harm reduction policy and help Students’ Unions set up forums for people to celebrate and share their experiences and living with addiction.
Congress further mandates
The Vice President for Welfare to organise a Harm Reduction roadshow that is to include study drugs and other forms of addiction recovery (such as gambling and others)’’.
This motion was passed by a soaring majority!
The former Vice-President for the City campus Rebecca Gorman and president elect for the TUDSU brought forward a motion for the Union of Students in Ireland to participate/join the European Students Union
USI Participation in ESU
That many policies and initiatives developed and agreed at European Union and European Higher Education Area level effect the Irish Higher Education system and our students.
Congress also notes
That progress is accelerating in the creation of European Universities transnational alliances that will become the universities of the future, promoting European values and identity, and revolutionising the quality and competitiveness of European higher education. Several HEIs in Ireland have secured funding for this project, with many following suit.
As a member of the European Students’ Union, USI has an important role in the shaping of international policies and has the opportunity to inform national and local policies with international best practice.
The Executive Team members who attend each bi-annual ESU Board meeting to present a report to the following meeting of National Council including explanations of the policies proposed and voted on by USI. They should also provide a comprehensive information session to Students Union offers about the work of ESU at SUT each year’’.
And no surprise here that this motion passed by a large majority with the delegates attending congress.
Overall, the TUDSU delegation presented 5 motions during congress with 4 out of 5 passed which will now be mandated to become a policy of the Union of Students in Ireland and 1 was referred back to national council to be reviewed.
- SUSI Eligibility Review – Passed
- Regional Leadership & Personal Development – 9D to return to National Council
- PrEP Accessibility – Passed
- Celebrating and Supporting Recovery – Passed
- USI Participation in ESU – Passed
All the candidates who were supported by our Student union have been elected as the USI executive team for 2020/2021:
- President: Lorna Fitzpatrick
- Vice-President for Academic Affairs: Kevin Mc Stravock
- Leas Uachataran don Gaeilge/VP Irish Language: Cliodhna Ni Dhufaigh
- Vice-President for Welfare: Clare Austick
- Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship: Marie Lyons
- Vice-President for Campaigns: Craig McHugh
- Vice-President for the Dublin Region: Megan O’Neill
- Vice-President for PG Affairs: Adam Clarke
Congratulations to the newly elected executive team.
A special congratulations to Pierre Yimbog our President of the TUD Student Union who attended his 7th and final USI congress, we wish him the absolute best in the future and also to Megan O’Neill who was elected to the USI executive team as the Vice-President for the Dublin region, we can’t wait to see her future work.
Before the closing speech the officer reports for 2019/2020 were presented and passed by congress, keep an eye on the USI twitter over the next week for news about the reports.
The to close this year’s congress the President elect gave a closure address to the delegates who attended congress.
The USI congress slides which detail the motions presented at congress can be viewed here.
Please find the livestream of the final day of congress 2020 here.