The protest against the Government’s proposals to increase the registration charge was the dominant topic at the second SU Council.
The sabbatical officers congratulated the entire Council in helping to make it possible, highlighting the key role that the USI played in coordinating the march.
The SU President, Nikolai Trigoub-Rotnem, hailed the demonstration as “the biggest, most vocal display in the SU campaign to get Government to backtrack on education cuts,” and President Gary Redmond of USI numbered the protesters at over 40,000.
However, Council member Max Sullivan suggested that the SU were dismissive of alternative opinions regarding fees, and claimed that the attitude towards reasoned debate on this issue needed to change. Sullivan further charged USI with having an insular, unreasonable attitude to economics and politics, and questioned whether third-level education should be considered a “right”, maintained at the expense of primary and secondary education, public healthcare and pensions.
He went on to suggest that the SU were conforming to the USI line, and challenged them to suggest alternative solutions to the economic crisis.
Sullivan’s proposed motion to hold a referendum on Trinity’s USI affiliation was summarily rejected by the Council, expressing a vote of confidence for the position of the SU officers and the USI.
In his council report, Trigoub-Rotnem stated the Student Support Bill should be passed in the Dáil by Christmas, and that plans to provide toilets for the 24-hour reading room are in place.
Both of these topics were also mentioned by Jen Fox, the Education Officer, who confirmed that the Library service would be provided on Sunday during Hilary and Trinity terms.
Tom Lowe, the SU Communications Officer, announced that the funding model for the University Times had been restructured in a bid to save fund, and Steph Fleming, the Welfare Officer, noted that work on the access pathway across Front Square was set to begin.
The upcoming RAG and Mental Health weeks were flagged and Darragh Genockey, Ents Officer, urged students to start brainstorming to come up with novel fundraising ideas for the post-Christmas charity drive.
Olwen Reine also spoke to the Council. Reine spoke about the Student2Student mentoring program and in advance of Mental Health week, encouraged students to familiarise themselves with the many support services offered within College.