GSU council votes to support TakeBackTrinity movement and to take “reasonable action” if demands not met

The motion was proposed by GSU president Shane Collins

GSU council votes. Photo Credit: Michael Foley/ Trinity News

Trinity College Dublin Graduate Students Union (GSU) council passed a motion tonight to support the TakeBackTrinity movement and its demands, as well as to take reasonable action if those demands are not met.

GSU council also voted to support and protect individuals who take “reasonable action”.

Members of GSU council passed the motion — which was proposed by GSU President Shane Collins  — by a large majority. The motion arose out of a discussion item on the issue of fees and the TakeBackTrinity movement.

Speaking during the discussion, Collins said that in advance of the meeting of the College Board tomorrow, during which postgraduate fees will be discussed, it would be “naive to think that just by sitting down with the Provost and the Vice-Provost” that the concerns of postgraduate students would be met.

Much of the discussion centred around the ramifications of action, and what form this would take. Sarah Hughes, a representative for the GSU, noted concerns over the financial pressure industrial action might place on Teaching Assistants if they went on strike, particularly if they are not funded.

John Tighe, oversight officer of the GSU, said that one option could be to “get external examiners not to do their examinations because they normally do it pro-bono.”

Discussing the wording of the motion, AHSS Faculty Officer Gisele Scanlon asked that wording reflect that Teaching Assistants would be “fully protected” if they were to strike.

The motion consists of three parts. Firstly, that “the GSU supports Take back Trinity campaign and its demands.” Secondly, that “the GSU supports individual members who take reasonable action as part of the take back Trinity campaign and will protect insofar as is possible those members who choose to act in such a capacity.”

Thirdly, the motion states that “ the GSU will take reasonable actions (and escalating to industrial action if necessary) in support of TakeBackTrinity should the demands of this campaign not be met.”

GSU council passed a motion in October to explore industrial action following College’s decision to increase fees for postgraduate and non-Eu undergraduate students by 5%.

Another motion, to lobby for a full-time postgraduate officer position within the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) proposed by GSU representative Xander Cosgrave was also passed.