TCDSU renew formal opposition to fees and loan scheme

The SU will continue to lobby government for a reform of the SUSI grant system

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) renewed its formal opposition to higher education fees and an income contingent loan scheme at Council tonight. 

Campaigning for taxpayer funded, “free” education was among among 10 motions agreed upon between 2014 and 2017 that were due to expire. 

Alongside an opposition to fees and loans, TCDSU renewed its pledge to campaign for a reform of the SUSI grant system to include part-time students and reflect “the true cost of living of a student”. TCDSU must also continue to campaign for the employer contribution to higher education, the National Training Fund, to be increased significantly. 

TCDSU passed a motion to oppose increases in third level fees in last 2015, but narrowly declined to oppose the introduction of an income contingent loan scheme at the same SU Council. In January 2017, Council formally adopted a stance against fees and loans following a campaign by Trinity protest group Students Against Fees. 

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) campaigns in favour of a publicly funded third level education system, and has held several marches against fees and loans in Dublin city centre in recent years, in which TCDSU has participated. 

TCDSU will continue to hold a harm reduction stance with respect to drug policy, following the renewal of the relevant motion tonight. The SU’s harm reduction working group will continue to coordinate a Harm Reduction campaign. Membership of the working group includes the SU Welfare Officer or a representative from the Welfare Committee, and is open to anyone interested in drug harm reduction. 

Motions relating to accessibility of lecture slides were also renewed. The TCDSU Education Officer and the Officer for Students with Disabilities will continue to request that lecturers use sans serif fonts and plain background in their lecture slides, and provide slides to the class rep or to upload them to Blackboard. 

A motion was proposed to renew the union’s policy to lobby College for gender neutral bathrooms in every building in college and ensure gender neutral bathrooms be available at SU events “where feasible”. However, the motion was withdrawn so that an updated motion could be brought to the next council which will include a line about making the bathrooms accessible for students with disabilities.

Mandates requiring TCDSU to campaign for a student centre to the built within college, maintain the SU lobby group, elect a joint courses convenor and allow the JCR president to to act as an ex-officio member of the Union Forum were renewed. 

The SU Welfare Officer is required to work with the S2S Co-ordinator to implement the S2S Peer Support Strategy and attend S2S Peer Supporter training before taking officership alongside the Education Officer “when able”. 

An earlier version of this article stated that a motion on gender neutral bathrooms was voted down, when it was instead withdrawn. The article was updated to amend this error at 11:30am, November 19. 

Aisling Grace

Aisling Grace is the Editor-in-Chief of the 66th Volume of Trinity News. She was formerly Online Editor and Deputy News Editor, as well as an English Literature and History of Art and Architecture student.