Trinity College Dublin Students Union (TCDSU) Education officer will form an Academic Senate.
The senate will “feed into the student council as the main governing body of TCDSU and meet at a minimum of twice a teaching semester”.
The motion, passed at Council this evening, also mandates that “any excess cases that are referred from the Academic Senate to Faculty Assemblies be presented to the relevant Faculty Assembly by Faculty Convenors or Deputy Faculty Convenors”.
The group for the senate will consist of 25 people.
The motion was proposed by Education officer Catherine Arnold and seconded by Deputy STEM Convenor Sé Ó hEidhin.
Proposing the motion Arnold said there is a “massive gap” in “academic policy” that this senate will address. They said that the size of the group will allow the body to be “as strong as possible”.
Speaking against the motion Off Campus officer Hannah McAuley believes that Union Forum (UF) should have been consulted on the motion before it being brought to Council. She also said that this would amount to “bringing back an old facet of College bureaucracy” that had previously”.
Questions were raised about consultation on the motion with the Officer for Students with Disabilities asking why Part Time Officers (PTOs) were not consulted.
Seconder Ó hEidhin clarified that PTOs may be invited to the senate on specific issues that pertain to their mandate: “Anybody can come give their opinions.”
The motion noted that “the creation of comprehensive, effective policies that are collectively agreed upon is restricted structurally by Council; as well as ill-accounted for within working groups and committees due to a lack of cross-faculty representation”.
The motion also noted that “the establishment of the Academic Senate from 2017 to 2019 was a positive advancement towards the creation of an effective policy creation structure but was ultimately inadequate due to their lack of institutional decision-making power”.
Speaking to Trinity News after the motion was passed, Arnold said: “I think the Academic Senate will be beneficial for cross faculty engagement and tackling the systemic academic issue that historically TCDSU has failed on.”
Arnold said they “look forward to improving this with the help of all senators”.