UCDSU adopt stronger stance on Marriage equality

In the last week’s UCD Student Union’s (UCDSU) Student Council meeting, three council motions were put forward. The first motion was put forward by Sam Blanckensee, the UCDSU’s LGBTQ+ Coordinator. The motion notes that the UCDSU’s stance on marriage equality was close to expiring and recognises that the majority of UCD students support equal civil marriage.

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Café Brava and The Grind to remain closed pending new licensees

Two popular eateries in UCD have recently ceased trading on campus. Cafe Brava Ltd. has closed both Cafe Brava and the sandwich bar The Grind in the old Student Centre. The company resigned their license for the unit with UCD a few months ago, citing economic issues.

Cafe Brava Ltd. also run several other services on campus, including the Poolside Cafe and the food service within the Clubhouse bar. Both the Poolside Cafe and the Clubhouse Bar are reportedly fiscally healthy and will remain open. The increasing amounts of cafes and restaurants on campus seems to have affected their business; it is thought that Cafe Brava was facing competition after the opening of their own Poolside Cafe, the SU Fresher’s Shop and the new Pi restaurant in the science block.

The Student Centre management team are currently exploring options for a replacement to Cafe Brava which should be in place soon. A notice was issued on the UCD e-procurement website about the availability of the locations, the deadline for which was the 3rd of October. The Student Centre management team will appoint a panel to review the requests and report back to the management committee. These panels usually consist of representatives for UCD, the Student Centre and a student representative. The management team hope to have something in place in the coming months.

Call for Reform of Societies Recognition process after Socialist Party rejection

A potential Socialist Party society were denied society status following the latest Academic Council’s Society Recognition Committee meeting on October 10th. As of going to print, no formal reasoning has been given for the society’s rejection. The lack of formal recognition by this committee means that the group is excluded from postering on several areas across campus and cannot organise events in campus buildings.

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National News in Brief

Waterford IT pulls out of merger with IT Carlow

Waterford Institute of Technology has pulled out of negotiations to merge with IT Carlow. The move comes one week after the two colleges signed a memorandum of agreement affirming their commitment to the process.

Waterford IT said it was suspending all activities relating to the merger as it believed it would hinder its tender for technological university status and delay the process for several years. Independent councillor and member of Waterford IT’s governing body, Mary Roche, confirmed there had been “a lot of unhappiness” in Waterford about the anticipated union.

Under upcoming legislation, the only way for Waterford IT to gain university status would be by way of a merger with Carlow. President of IT Carlow, Dr. Patricia Mulcahy, revealed that she only became aware of the news after receiving an email from Waterford IT and said “their decision to suspend the negotiations has surprised us and really disappointed us.”

Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, called the senior management of Waterford IT to Dublin for an emergency meeting after the story broke.

TCD Professor Defends Trial Admission Scheme

A professor at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dr Patrick Geoghegan, has defended a trial admission scheme the university launched in August, after it received a further bout of criticism.

25 students who failed to meet the points requirements for their chosen courses were assessed by way of 4 alternative criteria. The students were examined by way of relative performance to their classmates, an essay submission, special circumstances (illness, death of family member, significant extracurricular involvement etc.) or achievements not reflected in their applications.

The news of the trial provoked a strong response from defenders of the current points system. In an opinion column for the Irish Times, former Central Applications Office (CAO) general manager, John McAvoy criticised the procedure, calling it an “ill-judged action” and an example of “arrogance” by the university.

Responding to those claims in the same newspaper, Geoghegan called some elements of McAvoy’s use of language “intemperate” and “regrettable,” yet understandable given his attachment to the CAO. He argued that a holistic admissions system was the best method for the future, and that the trial was designed to stimulate debate over a controversial part of the Irish education system by way of action, rather than merely condemning it.

College funding per student falls 24pc to €9,000

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has said that third-level institutions will receive €9,000 in funding for each student next year, a 24% decrease from funding of €11,800 per student in 2007/08.

The continued decrease ignited another call from the HEA about the need for a funding system that will maintain higher education in Ireland at its current level. HEA chief executive, Tom Boland, warned that Ireland was at risk of moving to a low-quality system that would be incapable of meeting the collegiate supply and demand. Boland said that in order to prevent a further decline in third level education, urgent funding was required, combined with measures to improve efficiency such as increased autonomy for the colleges to manage their financial affairs.

Emphasising the value of third-level education, Boland referred to a 2012 report from the Central Statistics Office that stated disposable income for the average third level graduate was €29,600, compared to €18,000 for those who had just finished secondary level. According to a study at the School of Business in Trinity College Dublin, Irish universities and institutes of technology contribute €10.6 billion to the economy each year, which led to the authors of the study calling them “value for money.”

Hollaback! Dublin Releases Results of Street Harassment Survey in UCD

Last week saw Hollaback! Dublin, a movement dedicated to counteracting street harassment, release the results of a short survey at it carried out at UCD’s Mind, Body & Soul Festival on the 25th of September. 110 students participated in the study on the culture of street harassment. Despite the small sample size, the group has claimed that street harassment is an acute problem throughout Dublin, and even occurs on college campuses.

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UCD Health Promotion Committee to formulate stance on e-cigarettes

The UCD Health Promotion Committee is set to formulate a policy on e-cigarettes at its next meeting, the University Observer has learned. The Committee, which consists of UCD staff and faculty members, were behind the Smoke-Free Campus initiative that is currently being rolled out across campus. Having been given the support of UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) following a referendum held last October, the first steps of the policy included a ban on the sale of cigarettes in all SU shops on campus. It is expected that steps will be taken to extend non-smoking areas to cover the majority of campus over the coming year, though many have raised doubts about the feasibility of the scheme.

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UCDSU To Join Repeal the 8th Movement

UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) Council has passed a motion to make official links with the coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment and to actively campaign for a woman’s right to choose. The motion, raised at a meeting of Council on Monday October 20th, noted concern with UCDSU’s lack of active involvement in the national campaign. The motion follows from the results of last October’s preferedum on UCDSU’s stance on reproductive rights. 47% of the total valid poll voted to adopt a pro-choice policy of supporting the legalisation of abortion in Ireland “upon request of the woman.”

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