The Students’ Union Copy Bureau, located in the tunnel between the James Joyce Library and the Newman Building, will permanently close over the Christmas break. Two of the Bureau’s members of staff, Jacqueline Carey and Anne Dunne, as well as an accountant for the SU, John Byrne, have been made redundant in the closure. Jacqueline Carey had been employed in the Copy Bureau for twenty-three years.
In a press statement released by the SU today, it was stated that “earlier this year, the Union undertook to investigate the state of its accounts … it emerged that there was a significant liability on the Union’s books … During the 2010 calendar year, the Copy Bureau made a loss of over €45,000.”
When questioned about the timing of the closure, UCD SU President Pat de Brún stated that “it is obviously very unfortunate and it was exceptionally difficult to relay the news to the staff involved, considering the time of year, with Christmas coming up. But, in order to have a minimal disruption to the service that was being provided, we felt that the best time for it to close would be when the University is closed for Christmas.”
The staff were informed of their redundancy on Wednesday the 7th of December, but have elected to remain working in the Bureau until the end of the semester, to facilitate students during the exam period. A petition to negotiate the re-opening of the facility after Christmas will be available to students in the Bureau until the University closes. Jacqueline Carey commented on the goals of the petition: “[The petition’s aim is that] the Students’ Union would open negotions, allow us to negotiate, and allow us to put forward proposals that would increase the revenue in the office. It’s a service we’re supposed to provide to the students, we’re not a commercial enterprise. We just want to provide a service to students, ultimately, that’s what I’ve been doing for twenty-three years. That’s what I want to continue doing.”
Karl Gill, Auditor of the Socialist Workers’ Student Society, is one of the main organisers of the petition, and stated that “The petition got about 800 signatures last week, purely from students in the library and around [the SU Copy Bureau] … We set up a Facebook page as well, it’s got over 300 people on it now, including former USI and SU officers, former students, current students, lecturers, staff members, all very disappointed and upset with what the SU have done here.”
Anne Dunne, who has worked in the Copy Bureau for the past six years, described her reaction as “complete shock. I can’t believe how shoddily the students are being treated, as well as the staff. No thought, no concern for their exams at all.”
De Brún stated, “I’m very grateful to the staff, they’re excellent staff that have served there for many years and done a fantastic job. The closure is absolutely no reflection on them, and it’s a credit to them that they are continuing to work until the University does close for Christmas, and I am grateful to them for that. It’s heartbreaking to have to deliver this news to those staff who I know are loyal, and hardworking, and have been here for so long, but this wasn’t even a choice, this was something that due to the crisis we are in, had to happen … it is a necessity, in the interests in the future of the organisation.”