Editorial: September 29th, 2009


The revelation in this newspaper that not only may we have been overcharged on our Student Centre levy, but that the personal details we hand over to clubs and societies could be turned over to a third party without our consent, is a startling concern for all students in UCD.

Our highest student decision-making power, the referendum, decried three years ago that the Student Centre levy would be index linked. And yet the result of that referendum appears to have been disregarded in the grab for more money. We’ve been overcharged on the Student Centre levy; whether through a genuine mistake or something more sinister remains to be seen. But it raises very serious concerns over the management of the University and begs the question: who can we actually trust in this university anymore?

When we signed our names on the membership lists of our chosen clubs and societies, it was on the understanding that that information would go no further. And yet we have discovered that an outside business, at the same time, was offering those clubs and societies a handsome reward for turning over our details.

Whether any club or society accepted this offer is, and will likely remain, unknown and the societies office are keeping very quiet on the matter.

Do we then have to rely solely on the integrity of our club captains and society auditors to protect our personal information?

Is this to be the reward of studying in UCD, that students should leave with a solid sense of wariness, cynicism and distrust of those in authority?

The societies office are keeping quiet over the matter, and those involved in the Student Centre dispute remain tight-lipped on the details also. It’s this attitude that instills in students an inherent distrust of those in positions of some power in this University. From the top down it is a fight for information, clarification and truth.

While the Governing Authority are the highest power in the university, their meetings are reminiscent of a secret society, shrouded in cloaks and carrying daggers. Meeting behind closed doors to make some of the biggest decisions affecting students only compunds this distrust.

Our student representatives, as elected by the student body can only stretch so far. And in this matter, should be commended for highlighting the impropriety in the Student Centre levy. But in the quagmire that is the management structure of UCD, is it time we had a full-time student representative to lobby for our interests rather than the one year quick change from President to President? And should those clandestine meetings somewhere in the upper echelons or lower dungeons be opened up for the students to observe?