National News Editor
CLASS representatives of NUI Galway have voted, 107 – 7, for a proposal which sees the abolition of their infamous RAG week. The university had been under immense pressure to act on criticism raised regarding the event.
RAG week was a week-long event aimed at “raising and giving” money to charities. Over the past years, however, NUI Galway RAG week has been blighted by excessive drinking and anti-social behaviour. SU President, Emmet Connolly, claims that the week has “descended into a week-long embarrassment”.
Connolly expressed his dismay at the week in question during his statement to the SU council claiming that the fundraising element has been “overshadowed” by what he calls “SU- sanctioned binge drinking”. Connolly went on to describe the amount raised last year as “pathetically small” with an estimate of only €1.29 per student generated over the week.
The proposal plans to replace the infamous week with a series of large- scale, endurance-based fundraising events in which individual students and groups can participate.
In putting together the proposal, the SU sought, and received in full, a number of concessions from the University President. One of the main concessions is a one day concert to replace RAG week.
At the Students’ Union Council it was revealed that something similar to the UCD and Trinity College Balls may be introduced, and SU Education Officer, Conor Healy, has set up a “Rag Week Alternative Committee” to look at this option.
A further concession is that an extra €60,000 a year contribution to the Student Assistance Fund, which is used to help students who are at risk of dropping out due to financial hardship, will also be introduced. Other concessions include a guarantee not to introduce charges at the Student Health Unit for visiting a doctor or nurse and the abolition of the current €2 extra gym charge to sports clubs.
Mr Connolly described the abolition of RAG week as an “emotional issue”. NUI Galway final-year Commerce and French student, Michael Slevin, echoes this view. While Slevin supports the decision made, he highlights, however, that the proposal itself may not represent the desires of many of the student population. Connolly confirmed that anyone who attempts to restore RAG week will be subject to the university’s Discipline Code.
Slevin went on to note that the previous RAG week antics had damaged the reputation of the college which, for the credibility of his degree, he wishes to retain.