The first meeting of the Student Union Council, which consists of all the class reps took place last night.
The main items of interest were:
1) The Academic Council. This is the body in DCU which looks after curriculum, and course affairs et al. Students have nine representatives on this council. One from each of the major faculties, a postgrad, and the SU education officer. The University are proposing to cut this representation. Although they have not specified where the cuts are going to come. We passed a motion calling for increased representation for students, ie. another postgrad, and someone from the Fauclty of Education.
The ultimate composition of the Council is still undecided.
2) Restaurant Prices. A private catering company is given the contract to run our canteen. To 'oversee' the operations of the monopolistic Management Catering ltd. a committee representing students, staff, and University officials, was appointed. This committee is a farce, it's a toothless tiger, ignored with impunity. It has NO powers. NONE at all. It is simply an illusion of inclusion. This has already prompted the staff reps. including our old physics lecturer, Mr. Cunningham, to boycott the committee. The Student Union Council, passed a motion to enable the student members to withdraw as well. It's almost unheard of for the Students Union, and the Staff Union, to be in complete agreement against the university. Our actions will be publicised and will hopefully cause the University major annoyance.
This is our preliminary response to the high and rising food prices on campus, over which we currently have no control.
Personally, I favour bycotting the canteen if they raise the prices again, but we'll have to wait and see for the moment.
3) Ents. As many of us know, last year's ents manager wasn't really up to scratch. Ents made a substantial loss last year. The arrangement was clearly not working. In response to this, there is now no ents manager. Instead the SU exec. are running ents for us. The good news is that they are not drawing the salary of the ents manager, and ents this year is already making money.
4) Student Centre. Last year it was more or less agreed that we would build a new student centre, costing £3m. With the students raising half, and the college the other half. However, we want to run the new centre, we don't want the college to control it. Obviously then, we are not going to sign up to anything until we are guaranteed that the Centre will be run by students not the DCU officials. This means that the plans for the Centre, are, temporarily at least, on hold.
Finally, let me just say that we don't yet have our full quota of class reps. We are entitled to at least three, but so far we have only two. If anyone is interested in representing their class, could they please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember also, that you are welcome at any class rep meeting, whether you are a class rep or not.
The council meets again next Tuesday week.
Yours, Jonathan Walsh.
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