Eoin Hand, President of TCDSU, said today that TCDSU is “fully committed” to representing postgraduate students, and that the union would consider the creation of a sabbatical officer position for postgraduates, if “structures within the GSU lack in support for [postgraduate] students”.
The Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) and TCDSU formally agree to align their policies in a memorandum of agreement (MOA), which is reviewed every three years and currently in force.
The GSU recently held an EGM where a motion to separate its mandate from TCDSU was voted on. While the motion on divestment from TCDSU was originally pronounced as passed, a later vote concluded that the motion had not passed.
The motion was voted on twice after an initial decision that the motion was deemed to have passed sparked concerns among members.
In the second round of voting, 180 total votes were cast. 115 votes, or 65%, were against divestment from the TCDSU, whereas 65 votes, or 35%, voted in favour of the motion. The initial vote was deemed closed after 309 votes had been cast during 90 seconds of voting.
Speaking to Trinity News, Hand said: “We at TCDSU are fully committed to supporting postgraduate students, as the main representative body for all students here in Trinity”
“In instances where an MOA cannot be renewed as has happened in the past, we will continue to represent postgraduate students and lobby for the improvement of postgraduate conditions at a college level, and support postgraduate students as best as possible.”
Hand elaborated that the union would reconsider its current makeup and reiterated his personal commitment to working with the GSU.
“Should structures within the GSU lack in support for postgraduate students, we are also fully committed to the review of our own structures and the possible renewal of our sabbatical team for the implementation of a postgraduate representative, to ensure that we can competently represent postgraduate students confident we have the resources at hand,” Hand continued.
He added: “Going forward, I hope to work closely and collaboratively with the GSU on any and all student related issues, in a continued co-operation, supported by a renewed MOA, that best serves the interests of the students, those who have elected us to represent them within College.”
During the GSU EGM earlier this month, multiple postgraduate students raised concerns over the voting system and how the meeting was conducted.
During discussions on the motions, where one speaker was allowed to speak on each side, the Zoom chat was disabled.
The GSU is one of Trinity’s five capitated bodies alongside TCDSU, the Central Societies Committee (CSC), Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC) and Trinity Publications.