The proposer of the upcoming sports levy referendum has described Trinity Sport Union’s (TSU) opposition to the proposal as “unsubstantiated speculation”.
Lórien MacEnulty, a PhD student, is calling for the abolition of class, equipment, and booking fees for students, arguing that Trinity Sport should instead be subsidised by College.
Students already pay a €120 annual Sports Development Charge, which Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union currently supports.
McEnulty’s statement follows Trinity Sport Union’s official statement on Thursday which called for a no vote in the upcoming Sport Levy referendum.
The Union claims they were not consulted in regard to calling for this referendum and that the “proposed wording [of the referendum] includes inaccuracies in relation to the inflation provision”.
McEnulty described TSU’s advocacy for a no vote as “shooting itself in the foot”.
“Students currently pay from the total contribution charge a sum of €120 called the Sports Development Charge (SDC), which contributes massively to Trinity Sport’s income. The problem is that Trinity Sport is still immensely underfunded, and increasingly, students and sports clubs find themselves shouldering its financial strains, strains that College itself refuses to ease despite its financial capacity to do so.”
MacEnulty added: “At some point, we students will have to reassert, at the appropriate level of administration, our say in how much we are charged to work out. That’s exactly what this motion is doing.”
The collection and distribution of student fees is enforced by the Capitations Committee. Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) is one of five capitation bodies represented on the committee.
If TCDSU decides it no longer supports the collection of the SDC, it will announce this to the Capitation Committee for members to discuss.
“The result of the referendum, therefore, will not directly translate into a functioning boycott against the SDC,” MacEnulty said.
“The result of the referendum will serve as testament to the will of the students; the students no longer accept paying booking/equipment/sports class fees. It’s then up to the Capitations Committee to have a critical discussion about how Trinity Sport is funded.”
She continued: “Sports clubs and societies also pay inordinate amounts of money in booking fees to Trinity Sport. They’re worried that this reevaluation of how Trinity Sport is funded would somehow “result in them being charged for facilities to make up the shortfall.”
“By saying this, they’re trying to make assertions as to how Trinity Sport would respond to [a] financial crisis, which is an immensely speculative undertaking at best, and anyway, an irrelevant inquiry. This referendum is not going to put Trinity Sport in any sort of financial crisis,” MacEnulty asserted.
“When the time comes to discuss how Trinity Sport is funded, which is the ONLY outcome of a resounding ‘yes’ from the students in this referendum, the role of TSU will be to take a similar stance to that of the students’ union: College must subsidise the financial burden that weighs heavily on our strained sports centre, not the students, and not the clubs they comprise.”
Voting in the TCDSU referendum opens on Monday, January 30 and will remain open until Wednesday, February 1. Students must be registered to vote.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the proposer called for the abolition of the Sports Development Charge, rather than class, equipment, and booking fees. It was also originally stated that voting would open on January 28 and close on January 30. Trinity News apologises for this error, which were amended at 14.40pm on January 28.