Should the events reported on our front page story come to pass this week, then November 2009 will long be remembered by UCD Students’ Union. Not since 1986 has a Students’ Union sabbatical officer been forced out of office against their will.
If the Union’s Independent Appeals Board rule that Paddy Ryan was not eligible to run for the position of Campaigns & Communications Vice-President, his election will be considered void and he will be forced to vacate the office immediately.
Should Ryan be forced from office through this avenue, UCD Students’ Union will find itself in uncharted waters. A lobbying organisation who have pledged to continue fighting for an adequately funded higher education system, and for social justice and equality in wider society, can ill afford to find itself without a Campaigns officer. Indeed, it will surely be a source of some relief to those involved that the internal turmoil brewing in our Students’ Union didn’t boil over at the climax of the struggle against third-level tuition fees.
The practicalities of a vacant C&C office aside, UCD Students’ Union faces turbulent times.
Proposing a motion of no confidence in an Executive Officer is a sign of extremely fractious times and whether heads ultimately roll or not, the fallout from the dispute will be hugely damaging to the SU’s public image, and will surely cripple the Union’s hopes of achieving further goals in the remainder of the year.
The jubilant scenes last Saturday in the Belfield Bowl as Ronan Finn lifted the League of Ireland First Division trophy, before a cheering capacity crowd, are a terrific reminder of what this university really could be.
Hundreds of students and staff turned out to watch UCD AFC return to Premier Division football, celebrating the triumph of our local team.
Our local team… While so many of us still see this campus as simply somewhere to study, somewhere to work, or somewhere to spend as little time as possible before getting on with life, UCD and Belfield have an underground community just waiting to flourish. For those who work here, live here, train here, Belfield is not just a campus, but a town of sorts.
Every town has its local team, its local club or society that they turn out to support no matter what. We have the team, the team don’t have our support.
How many of us can say we’ve made the short journey to the Belfield Bowl on a Friday night to support the boys in blue? I’ll raise my hand and say I have personally never seen UCD play soccer in Belfield Bowl or anywhere else – and for that, this week, I felt rather ashamed. It must be disheartening for a team to turn out to a half empty stadium week after week, especially knowing that entrance is free for UCD students.
If UCD is to become a true community, as per the aspirations of our VP for Students, then as a first step we need to come out and support our local team – not just when they’re winning, and not just when they’ve already won, but whenever we can, as often as we can.
Maybe this way, in five or even ten years to come, Dr Butler’s grand dream of a true Belfield community might finally be headed down the right track.