Speaking at the recent DUCAC AGM, Michelle Tanner, Head of the Sports Centre, showed a distinct lack of respect for student concerns about the running of the Sports Centre. Comments such as, “We’re the hired professionals that come in – do students go to the Health Centre and tell the doctor how to treat his patients?” show this lack of interest or due regard for holding the organisation accountable to the students who fund it.
Her attempts to paint Students’ Union President Nikolai Trigoub-Rotnem’s motives as politically suspect when he inquired into how the student money was spent were both bizarre and offensive, and only served to highlight a lack of understanding about the purpose of his position as President.
This is not the first time DUCAC has been involved in controversy for neglecting student input. At the beginning of last year, a number of College sports clubs reported dissatisfaction with how the body was structured. Speaking at the time, the Students’ Union President Cónán Ó Broin said the set-up was “authoritarian, and brow-beats students involved in sports.” A number of Captains banded together, and agreed a programme to reform the DUCAC structures and make it student-run.
Stemming from the reorganisation of its executive, DUCAC was mandated to review its constitution at the end of last year, which it duly did. The main changes that were proposed in the new constitution were to make a number of committee positions reserved, in practice, to staff members, elected for a term of multiple years.
The constitution was voted in at an EGM held on the last Friday before exams. The timing of this EGM points, at the very least, to a lack of interest in ensuring a representative student attendance at the meeting. At worst, it could be seen as an attempt to lessen the number of students in attendance, so as to prevent a repeat of the events of the past year, where the Captains pushed for more student representation.
All things considered, Tanner’s comments are just the latest manifestation of the low level of interest the Sports administration has for student input and concerns.