University Times budget rejected by TCDSU Union Forum

At the same meeting, the paper’s editor was asked about UT’s relationship with the Irish Times

The University Times (UT) has had its budget rejected by the Union Forum of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU).

The Forum, which is composed of TCDSU’s part-time and sabbatical officers, held its first meeting of the year on October 11.

Under the union’s constitution, the editor of UT “must present a detailed fully costed budget to the Union Forum at its first meeting at the first meeting of the academic year” which may then be “accepted or rejected, but not altered” by the policymaking body.

Speaking to Trinity News, UT Editor Emer Moreau said the paper “very much welcome[s] the scrutiny”.

“Such constructive engagement between The University Times and Union Forum has become the norm in recent years,” she continued, “and we expect that the paper’s budget will be passed at a forthcoming meeting.”

Moreau said that attendees “sought clarity on certain figures I presented”.

As well as questions about UT’s budget, Moreau was asked by members of the Union Forum about the nature of the paper’s relationship with the Irish Times.

The meeting also saw the proposal of a motion to hold a referendum on a TCDSU boycott of the Irish Times. It was authored by Jenny Maguire, TCDSU’s LGBT+ rights officer, who on October 10 announced that she was resigning from UT staff over the paper’s “continued partnership with the Irish Times”.

Maguire’s proposal received the necessary supermajority (75%) of votes to be forwarded to Council, and was ultimately approved there. It will now go to referendum.

Several days after the Union Forum meeting, on October 16, UT published a note saying it had ceased to feature advertisements from the Irish Times and was “actively exploring alternative arrangements” for printing and was “eager to switch to a different printer”.

Asked if the decision to make that announcement was prompted or influenced by the meeting five days earlier, Moreau said the motivation was “motivated by our solidarity with the trans community”.

The editor also said that “discussions surrounding the switch to an alternative printer have been ongoing for over a month now”.

However Moreau told the Union Forum at that point that though the paper was “shopping around” for “more competitive prices” for printing, it had “not yet received any official quotes for printing from companies other than the Irish Times” according to an attendee of the meeting.

The UT editor told the Union Forum that it is “difficult to find such a printer” as the paper is “not a tabloid” and “would likely have to outsource printing to a UK printer”.

Irish company Webprint, which prints Trinity News, offers both tabloid and broadsheet-format printing services. Its client base includes national and local broadsheets such as the Business Post and the Southern Star.

Moreau told Trinity News that Webprint “declined to give me a quote as they do not have the press availability at this time”.

Trinity News was printed by the Guardian in Manchester until 2012, when it switched to the Irish Times for the subsequent nine years.

Moreau was also quoted as saying in the October 11 meeting that the Irish Times is “part of UT’s identity”.

This article was amended at 9:15pm to add sourcing for a quote.

This article was amended at 9:20pm to add further comment from the editor of UT.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.