The University Observer: Timeline

 
 

With the future of student media under threat, we trawl through our archives to bring you a history of this publication
1994-1995

Dara O Briain (Comedian) & Pat Leahy (Political Editor, Sunday Business Post)
* Education minister diverts technical funds to Women’s Studies
* College drives (forces) through semesterisation
*
Scientology church targets UCD students
*
Lecturer distributes Anti-Condom Aids stickers

1995-1996

Roddy O’Sullivan  (Deputy News Editor of The Irish Times) and Declan Walsh (Islamabad correspondent for the Guardian)

* No room for Disadvantaged and Travellers say UCD authorities: The university told students from disadvantaged socio-economic background that it could be years before places could be found for them in UCD

*Erasmus fury at residence rip off: International students had lodged complaints about treatment by UCD accommodation services. Excessive deductions from deposits, unrealistic ESB bills and veiled intimidation for non-payment of rent were among the complaints made by students.

1996-1997

Shane Hegarty, (Arts Editor & Columnist, The Irish Times)
*A features-oriented newspaper, this year saw the UO printed with a full colour image on the front page for the first time.

*Survey reveals large majority of UCD students have taken drugs: A survey conducted by the University Observer found that 71 per cent of students had taken illegal drugs at some point while in college.

1997-1998

Sinéad Ingoldsby (TV Producer, BBC) & Alan Torney (Radio Producer RTÉ)

* Revealed: USI President’s Confidential Expenses
* The Missing Money: Dramsoc Auditor Flees Country
* Gardaí Investigate ‘Massive’ Campus Arson Attack
* Nuclear Reactor Planned for Belfield (Candidate for UO’s most misleading headline ever?)

1998-1999

Edward Melvin & Katherine O’Callaghan (School of English, Drama and Film, UCD)
*The paper moved to broadsheet format; becoming the first student broadsheet in Ireland. Launched O2 (later O-two) supplement & first edition of the ‘University Observer online.’ Interviews with Ruairi Quinn, John McGahern and Joe O’Connor.

1999-2000

Lucy Michael & Sarah Egan

* Blood bank deny high HIV risk in UCD: The blood transfusion service board have been forced to abandon the public clinic held annually in UCD due to substandard conditions in the university.

* Smoking Ban proposed for Arts block: A proposal to make the Tierney building a entirely non-smoking building was put forward to the building committee for consideration.

* Letting agency rips off students: Gardai issued a warning to students who have had dealings with the “home hunters” accommodation agency, following complaints made by several students who had been defrauded by the agency.

2000 – 2001

Daniel McConnell (Chief Reporter, Sunday Independent) & Juno McEnroe (Irish Examiner)

* Sheep slaughtered on campus – test laboratory on campus uncovered

* Student chaplain in hot water over Fashion Show comments

* Protected building demolished without approval

2001-2002

Daniel McConnell (Chief Reporter, Sunday Independent)

*UCD paid £43,000 golden handshake to harassed staff member: College held secret meetings in Dun Laoghaire hotel to resolve dispute, harassed member received €43,000 golden handshake.

* Senior business school lecturer forged credentials, University Observer revealed.

* No Luas Link for UCD – planned route to college dropped, despite denials from Department of Transport

* Blow job incident on Student Bar was “faked”

* Missing £30,000 from Dramsoc funds – actor O’Dowd under fire

2002-2003

Enda Curran (Reporter, Dow Jones & Steve Cummins (Freelance, Irish Daily Star, NME)
*Student Held At Gunpoint – A second-year student was held up at gunpoint and her car stolen during a robbery on a Securicor van outside the Library Building.
*60 per cent failure rate in first year Medicine – The credibility of the new Medicine curriculum was dealt a big blow after 62 per cent of students failed the winter exams

*Extreme Revisionist Organisation Sets Its Sights On UCD – The controversial Revisionist Education — which claims the Holocaust did not take — canvasses students in a bid to recruit new members.

2003-2004

Samantha Libreri (Reporter, RTE News) & Emmet Ryan (NetVisionary Journalist of the Year 2009)

*Opus Dei lecturer-The University Observer that a lecturer told her students they must attend Opus Dei events to pass her class. (The story made the front page of the Irish Time and other national press)
*Anti LGB lecturers-Accusations of homophobia in UCD after the paper obtains copies of emails send by lecturers to the LGTB Rainbow Week.
*Coca Cola referendum-The paper first revealed that a referendum on banning Coca-Cola was to take place and gives extensive coverage to the referendum including interviews with Coca Cola bottlers in Colombia and the Head of Coca Cola in the region.

2004-2005

Eoghan Casey (Trainee Barrister) & Eoghan de Bhulbh (Bank of Scotland Ireland)
* Belgrove Fire – The paper reveals missing fire extinguishers, alarms that didn’t go off and fire safety instructions that are actually for Merville residence and direct students to a non-existent stairwell and the wrong assembly point.
* Exxon Mobil Seminar – engineering students are told they must attend an event sponsored by the oil company
* Riot at the L&H – masked individuals storm the podium to prevent Justin Barrett of Youth Defence speaking at an L&H debate.

2005-2006

Sorcha Nic Mhathúna (former national newspaper sub-editor and now a post-graduate student) & Nathalie Márquez Courtney (Editor, Kiss Magazine)
* Escort agency recruitment cards circulating on campus – Students targeted for roles offering “very high earnings and excellent conditions”
* Arrests made after students trash hotel at annual B&L Ball – Two UCD students arrested following later-night vandalism and debauchery
* Thieves hit bulls-eye in Archery Club robbery – Around €4,000 of equipment including several bows
* Two Ferns priests assessed at UCD – Priests accused of sexual misconduct in the diocese of Ferns in the early 1980s were sent to UCD for assessment

2006-2007

Stephen Carroll (Producer, Sky News) & Michelle McCormick
*Registration crisis: Students left queuing for hours for days on end as UCD’s online registration goes into meltdown. We brought the students’s frustrations to Hugh Brady, and also revealed the results of the internal investigation into it. Not a ‘national’ news story but it
was the story of the year in terms of traction with students. It’s certainly a good example of our public service remit – as we put pressure on the authorities to explain and investigate.

*School of History breaches data protection: The paper reveals a direct contravention of UCD’s Data Protection policy – and the law – when the School of History posts exam results publicly on a noticeboard.

*O2: Bill Bryson interview

2007-2008

Rob Lowney (MA student in Irish writing and communication – Journalism) & David Neary (former sub-editor for the Star and Star on Sunday)

* The University Observer exclusively reveals the extent of UCD’s deficit (€15 million) after seeing confidential documents from the university’s top-level finance committee

* UCD’s Accommodation Office revealed to be searching internet sites including YouTube to catch students breaching res rules

* Students’ Union launch controversial ‘Miss UCD’ beauty pageant, sparking protests on campus

* O-two interviews Will Ferrell
2008-2009
Danielle Moran (Researcher at the London School of Economics
and Political Science) & Zelda Cunningham (Trainee Solicitor)
*Student protests against fees – Batt O’Keeffe Op-ed,
features on history of student movement, news coverage of 5,000 person
 protest at Dáil Eireann
*UCD runs by deficit of 20 Million euro
*Otwo interviews  Rodger Daltry, Alan Rickman and Salman Rushdie.

2009-2010

Catriona Laverty (Trainee Doctor) & Gavan Reilly (Writer for thejournal.ie)
* UCD overcharges student levy by tens of thousands- Following prompting by the University Observer, UCD acknowledges that it overcharged the student body in the Student Centre Levy, asking them for €7.50 each more than had been agreed in a previous referendum. The cash was later refunded to the SU, the societies and sports clubs.

* Major security flaws in UCD Registry exposed- An investigation by the University Observer revealed major flaws in the security procedures in UCD Registry, which allowed any person – armed with basic facts such as a student’s date of birth – was able to access that student’s academic records without their consent.

* Exclusive first Irish interview with Jedward

2010 – 2011

Bridget Fitzsimons, Paul Fennessy & Quinton O’Reilly

* IUA expenditure rises amid universities’ financial crisis: The Irish Universities Association, of which UCD is affiliated, had close to a €2 million increase in both income receive and expenditure against a backdrop of education cutbacks between 2008 and 2009.

* O-two interviewed Tinie Tempah

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