Correction and Apology

In a news story published by this newspaper on November 18th regarding delays in SUSI grant allocations, it was claimed that UCD Registry had extended the deadline for withdrawal from academic programmes, without fee implications, to November 27th. The University Observer has since learned that this is incorrect, and that the deadline extension of November 27th applied to access to student services by students who have not paid fees. The initial extension of the deadline for withdrawal from academic programmes without fee implications had in fact passed several weeks before the article was published.

The inaccuracy arose from an interview conducted by an Observer staff member with UCDSU Education Officer Amy Fox, which indicated that the November 27th deadline applied to withdrawal deadlines. Fox has said that she intended to say that the deadline referred to services access. The deadline had previously been referenced by Fox in a separate interview with the University Observer which said that the deadline referred to student services access, though it did not explicitly say that the deadline did not refer to withdrawal dates. The University Observer had not verified the story with UCD Registry before going to print.

The University Observer wants to apologise to any students affected. Students are encouraged to contact editor@universityobserver.ie with any issues.

Amy Fox has made a statement on the issue:

“Myself and Maeve De Say gave an interview on Friday evening to a staff member of the University Observer, in which we clearly outlined that the 27th of November deadline was in relation to access to student services and not withdrawal  from academic programmes without implications.”

“The error arose when I gave a second interview to a member of the University Observer team on the same day where I failed to clarify the dates and their implications correctly, as I had done previously. I wish to apologise to any students affected by this incident.”

USI claim over 20,000 new voters registered ahead of Marriage Equality referendum

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have released a statement claiming 20,210 new voters have been registered as part of the Union’s push to register new voters ahead of the Marriage Equality referendum to be held next year. The total is double the estimated 10,000 voters that were anticipated to be registered by the initiative.

USI’s total excludes voter registration figures from UCD, where UCD Students’ Union and UCD LGBT have claimed an estimated 4,500 voters registered. Based on totals provided by USI, UCD’s total is the highest of any third level institution in the country, followed by 3,500 registered in UCC and 3,150 registered by Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union.

The statement also quotes USI president Laura Harmon, who says “We had set a goal of ten thousand students registered – but Students’ Unions should be proud of their work to get so many students primed and ready for the polling booth – they have put in enormous effort and long hours to secure registrations.  When the referendum is eventually called, this work will pay off with a huge student effort to secure equal marriage for everyone.”

Harmon also thanked the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Marriage Equality for their work on the wider voter registration campaign.

UCD Strategic Plan 2015-2020 Unveiled

The UCD Strategic Plan 2015-2020 was launched last week by UCD President, Professor Andrew Deeks. The strategy sets out ten key objectives which are believed will help the university to achieve its vision of an academic institution that supports and develops its “world-leading disciplinary and interdisciplinary research”. It is believed this will help “tackle significant global issues and challenges” as well as improving the university’s ability to turn out graduates who are “equipped with the knowledge, skills, experience and attitudes they need to flourish in present and future Irish and global societies”. Continue reading