The Graduate Students Union (GSU) has passed a motion to create an International Officer, a Research Student Officer as well as a board for the union. This follows months of discussion by graduate students since January 2017 when a group was established to review the union’s constitution.
The nine-person board will advise the GSU and will become part of the union’s governance structure. Board members will be elected each year at the AGM in October.
Speaking about the new board, President of the GSU, Shane Collins, said: “Continuity is a big issue within the union as we have no administrative officers or staff there year on year. Each year, there is a handover from one group of officers to the next, this year is a little bit different in that respect. But a board is one way we can address this and provide the type of experience and institutional memory that will serve to benefit the union in years to come and is a positive step for the union.”
When speaking about the International Officer position, Collins also noted at the recent EGM, held on 5 July, that over the past year, the union had worked to solve problems facing international students such as visa processing and lobbying the Government to increase resources to immigration service.
The International Officer will work alongside College bodies like the Global Room and the Global Relations office, while also lobbying the government to improve services for international students. Collins also spoke of the international networks developed over the past year and said that the International Officer would work as a point of contact for the union abroad.
The introduction of a Research Student Officer will make sure that the problems facing research students are heard of. The new post will develop the Union’s research activities including research events, relationships with external research bodies and projects that encourage inter- and multidisciplinary work.
The decision to create the office was made by the union as it restructures to encourage greater levels of engagement with the research student members. Collins described the move as a return, “to the very reason the GSU was established in the 70s”.
A vacancy for the position of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Faculty Representative was also filled at the EGM by Giséle Scanlon. She is studying for an M. Phil. in creative writing in the Oscar Wilde centre for Irish literature.
Also at the EGM, the GSU President tabled an emergency motion seeking the support of the Union to lobby and advocate for a prospective graduate student who can’t take her offer due to the nature of their citizenship. The union voted in favour of this motion.
Additional reporting by Sarah Meehan.