A petition has been launched to give students the choice to opt out of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) membership. Presently, upon registering at the beginning of the academic year, each student has to pay €8 toward Union of Students’ in Ireland (USI) membership. This is not optional.
The petition is called ‘TCDSUOPP’, and aims to campaign for a method to “opt-out” of TCDSU. The group on their Facebook page, note that they are also looking for “a clear report on union expenditure”, and said that TCDSU is “essentially a political union, not just a student union”. The group outline that they are aiming to have “personal liberty in the associations we make”.
On the campaign’s Facebook page, they state that the TCDSU does not “offer any method to leave” and states that “TCDSU can have a low level of engagement with students”.
Speaking to Trinity News, Eunice Collins of the ‘TCDSUOPP’ group said: “Suoop is petitioning to give students a choice to opt in or out of the SU. Given that the SU has political stances we think it should not be mandatory. People signing this petition don’t necessarily want to leave the SU, but they respect other people’s right to freedom of association. Universities in the UK have given student this option and we think Trinity should do the same.”
Collins continued by saying that “if 500 signatures are gathered a referendum on this issue will be held”. The petition has already begun, with Collins saying that the group are collecting signatures in the Arts Block, and intends on gathering signatures in the Hamilton later this week.
On November 6, students at University College Dublin (UCD) launched a similar petition, which aims to give students at the university a choice to leave their union.The campaign, called ‘Stand up’, aims to insert a Constitutional amendment into Article three of the University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) constitution.
The launch of the campaign follows the impeachment of UCDSU president Katie Ascough. Ascough was impeached over her removal of abortion information from the UCDSU “Winging it” handbook. If the number of signatures is reached for the ‘Stand Up’ petition, a referendum will be held on November 22 and 23. This is the same date that students will be voting for Ascoughs successor.
Additional reporting by Sarah Meehan.