Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council has passed motions on the formation of an Academic Senate and on support for legislation against scientific censorship.
The motion mandating TCDSU to form an Academic Senate was proposed by Education Officer Dale Whelehan and seconded by Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) convener Alice MacPherson.
The motion read: “The Students’ Union is the primary means of representation for students to engage in academic issues. Council also notes that Faculty Assembly currently does not best structurally facilitate Academic Discussion which can be escalated and resolved quickly. Council further notes the extensive role of a class rep to care for the welfare of their class, organise entertainment, and act as the primary academic representative. Council therefore mandates the Education Officer and their Standing Committee to form an Academic Senate, which will feed into the Student Council as the main Governing Body of TCDSU.”
Proposing the motion, Whelehan said that the union is in need of a structure which solely focuses on Academic interests. “The current role of a class rep is extremely extensive. What I’m looking for is… academic experts who will be able to best represent students at a programme level.”
The senate will meet three times a year to discuss broad faculty issues, with the whole student body being invited to attend. Academic senators will be the primary representative for staff to discuss programme or discipline issues, and will act in liaison with class reps. Each school will have a membership between two and five representatives as voting members.
The motion mandating TCDSU to support the introduction of Irish legislation against the censorship of scientific findings was proposed by Junior Sophister Botany class representative Simon Benson and seconded by Officer for Students with Disabilities Méabh Cullen.
The motion read: “Council therefore mandates that TCDSU formally supports this solidarity march, and any of its students who wish to take part, regardless of course. Council further mandates that TCDSU would support Irish legislation against censorship of scientific findings, and further support the recognition of these findings where appropriate.”
Proposing the motion, Benson said that this is not a partisan issue, but a “neutral mandate to support science” in the policy making process. Speaking in favour of the motion, Cullen said that this is an apolitical issue: “We need to stand in solidarity with scientists who are marching in Washington on March 22.”
Additional reporting by Dáire O’Driscoll and Johnny Byrne.