Both the Students’ Union and the Graduate Student’s Union have managed to reach an agreement which Union President Cónán Ó’Bróin claims will “solidify their relationship for the future”.
The vital talks, which were held predominantly to deal with the issue of funding, left both parties satisfied with the outcome. They have come to an agreement to share resources to guarantee the Graduate Student’s Union a second full-time sabbatical officer and admin support. GSU President Ronan Hodson is adamant to stress that there has not been a creation of new resources but simply an expansion of the resources presently there.
The GSU have recently spoken out about their funding, warning that if the matter is not resolved by the end of the year, they would be forced to split from the Students’ Union. Both unions are members of and funded through the Capitations Committee which comprises of three other bodies, the Publications committee, Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC) and Central Societies Committee (CSC). According to Hodson, the level of funding they have received in the last five years has not changed even though the number of postgraduates has risen to 5000. This resulted in the GSU rocking in an unstable position.
Students’ Union Education Officer Ashley Cooke stated that the decision “to help the GSU support two sabbatical officers on an ongoing basis will, we believe, be to the benefit of all Trinity’s students and will allow the GSU to focus on the important issues that postgraduate students face”.
The agreement runs on a three year trial but Hodson is hopeful that it will solidify, saying he “envisages that it will become a permanent arrangement”.
With the reallocation of funds, the GSU are now more financially secure and have no future plans to split from the Students’ Union. They each remain two separate independent bodies previous to the agreement. However, postgraduates ae eligible to membership and are thus represented by both unions. Hodson hails the negotiations as a “massive achievement” including getting the Capitation bodies to change its funding. The drive for change has been an accumulation of efforts from the GSU in the past five years.