A discussion topic on potentially making the SU’s LGBT rights officer (LGBTRO) open to people who identify as straight and cisgender that was due to be raised at last night’s SU Council has been shelved until after the holidays. SU welfare officer Ian Mooney’s reason for the suspension was that the possibility of a motion emerging had created a “hostile” atmosphere.
Most of the meeting was instead taken up by this semester’s achievements, though there were some contentious issues raised. Ian Matthews, Trinity’s chief financial officer, gave a lengthy presentation on College’s strategic plan for the coming years. He described the funding cuts to the college’s core government grant as “unsustainable” and suggested that income needs to be made back elsewhere. “When the student contribution is raised, they cut our core grant by the same amount – they’re making savings on their end,” he said. When asked by an audience member if it’s fair for the board to push extra charges onto students, he replied: ‘The alternative to charging more is reducing services. This will mean Trinity becomes less attractive and students won’t want to come. It’s a vicious cycle that we must avoid.”
Lynn Ruane, the first student parents officer for the SU, questioned why funding for parents is being cut when the college spends close to three million on schols. He answered that the nursery is able to find other sources of income. Ruane, unsatisfied with this, arranged to meet with him at a later date.
Following on from this and near the end of the meeting, SU president Domhnall McGlacken Byrne presented the new students charges imposed by the planning group during the summer. These include an increased commencement fee, an increased fee for postgraduate applications and a flat fee for supplemental exams. Domhnall explained that the SU were only given 15 hours notice of the discussion of these charges at a board meeting and that the language in the document consistently refers to students as a source of income.
When asked about students who had already been charged the increased commencement fee of €135 up from €114, he said that “two of these items are a lost cause.” He emphasised the need to push college back on the others, but wanted input on how far. “We need to decide – are we going to say just charge us €200 for supplemental exams, or are we going to say the whole thing needs to stop?” he said. The discussion was cut off by the chair at that point due to lack of time. McGlacken Byrne said he would bring it up with council again after the holidays.
It was also confirmed that the position of communications officer is being split to make the editor of the University Times a separate position, which would still be paid and expected to take a year out. Samuel Riggs, the current SU communications officer, said the communications department could then help lighten the workload of other offices and focus on the parts of their office currently outside UT. “We’re essentially moving towards a TN structure,” he said.