CAMPAIGN group, Free Education for Everyone (FEE) is to hold a referendum on 4th and 5th March asking students if they want to use ‘direct action’ to protest against the Government-proposed introduction of third-level education fees.
The referendum proposes a day of shut down, where UCD students would opt not to attend lectures or classes and instead partake in a protest on Belfield campus.
FEE member, Julian Brophy stated that the purpose of the day of shut down was to send out a message to the Government that the proposed introduction of third-level fees would not be tolerated by students.
“We need to take a hard line to defeat this proposed introduction of fees. I think if 23,000 students decide not to go to college to shock the Government into action, they don’t have a choice but to listen”.
SU Campaigns and Communications Officer, Dan O’Neill said that the referendum was a “positive step” taken by members of FEE and stated that it was the “correct way of going about things.”
“It is a positive thing that students felt so strongly about something that they put it to a vote. At the end of the day, it’s important that the student body has their say about something like this.”
Mr Brophy commented that he was confident that the referendum would be passed by students, as “there is no ‘No’ campaign” running against them. Should the referendum be passed, Mr Brophy explained that a day of protest would include number of activities and events taking place at Belfield, such as public meetings and speeches made by guest speakers.
With regards to the safety of this campaign, Mr Brophy was confident that no violence would break out at Belfield should the protest go ahead.
If students back the protest, Mr Brophy stated that the day of shut down would take place sometime after the mid-term break but before Minister of Education and Science Batt O’Keeffe put his proposals for third-level fees to the Government.
Mr Brophy also stated that students in University College Cork (UCC) and National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) were currently setting up the mechanisms to conduct similar referenda about a day of shut down in their universities.