Despite the Societies Council’s current moratorium on new societies, the Academic Council Committee for Recognition of Student Societies has recently recognised two new societies: the Sinn Féin Society and the Indian Society.
The moratorium in place was imposed by the Societies Council, not the Academic Council Committee for Recognition of Student Societies, who, according to committee member and Students’ Union President Pat de Brún, felt that regardless of the position of the Societies Council, they have the power to recognise or de-recognise societies, “that was the position adopted by Committee and we proceeded on that basis.”
A policy was passed through Union Council last week mandating the President and the Students’ Union to oppose the moratorium and “we’ve been following that mandate,” stated de Brún, “with it in mind I made that position clear at the meeting and I’m delighted now that these new societies have been recognised.”
De Brún recognises the “divergence of issues” between the Societies Council and the Academic Council Committee for Recognition of Student Societies, but insisted “societies have been recognised and will become official societies, that’s the end of the story.”
Chairman of the Societies Council, Stephen Whelan, explained that the Societies Council was “forced” to impose the moratorium due to resource issues, which remains the case. He continued to say, “The Recognition Committee is fully informed of the position of the Council and has affirmed the different responsibilities of the two bodies.” The role of the Societies Council is with regard to the delivery of a “quality society experience by societies and for the members and the University”, while the Recognition Committee has the role of “dealing with applications from new societies.”
Societies Officer Richard Butler explained that “the Council has discussed the issue in depth on several occasions, and … there are quite serious space and resource issues there.”
Butler is hopeful that “we are gradually moving towards being able to resolve some of [the issues]”, while Whelan states that the Council would hope to be in a position to lift the moratorium by the end of the year.
It is unclear whether the newly recognised societies will receive funding or space in the Fresher’s tent as according to de Brún, “the moratorium does still make decisions regarding allocation of funding between all recognised societies and space in the Freshers’ tent.” Neither Butler nor Whelan would comment on the matter.
The recognition of the Environmental Society is pending, but according to de Brún, “would be granted if they could improve their application from the first time around.”