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The Union of Students in Ireland: The Dog That Won't Bark

category national | miscellaneous | feature author Wednesday April 11, 2007 01:06author by Red Wedge Report this post to the editors

featured image
Student Politics: where careerism meets "deeply uncool"

In advance of the annual USI Congress, Red Wedge previewed proceedings with an article "What is to be done with the Union of Students in Ireland?" In this article, he offers an eyewitness an account of the event and some thoughts on the future of the student movement.

It’s the first night of the congress. There is a hustings debate taking place between the two candidates for the presidency of the organisation. UCCs Richard Maurice Roe and the Eastern Area Officer of the organisation John McGuirk are going head to head.

Related Links: SIPTU taking unfair dismissal case against USI | Thread On Conference on UCDSU.net | FUCC Thread On USI Elections | FUCC Congress "Blog" | Transparency and Accountability in UCDSU and The Failure of USI | USI Accuses Education Minister of Political Cowardice over Grants | Union of Students in Ireland back Coke Boycott At 2005 Congress |

When the votes are counted on, it is Maurice Roe who is the clear winner. McCuirk polls 62 to Roes 85. The re-open nominations candidate option receives the support of 46 delegates.

The first really contentious motion has been put to the congress by the Waterford IT student Union. The motion proposes to mandate "The (USI) Welfare Officer to to re-establish links with MEAS and work towards promoting safe and sensible drinking amongst students". Delegates warn about the dangers of receiving sponsorship from this drink’s industry funded body. One delegate says that MEAS is a "PR scam, a PR sham". Another argues that the department of Health and other pubic bodies ought to take responsibility for funding such campaigns. Despite these concerns, the motion is passed.

The debate concerning USI’s relationship with SIPTU is the most ideologically charged of the week. The debate concerns the partnership arrangement in place between USI and SIPTU. A motion from Trinity Students Union asks that "USI cease its current relationship with SIPTU" and for the "USI Officer board to develop relationships with IBEC so that COs (Constituency Organisations) are offered necessary employment rights protection and information". The motion also proposes that "SIPTU often have a different set of interests to COs". This motion is proposed by the Trinity SU President. It is his only appearance on the platform all week.

Student union president after student union president line up to attack trade unions. The head of DITSU limited complains about SIPTU. So to does the head of NUIGSU who insists that the matter is not "about left and right". Former NUIGSU and USI President Tony McDonnell has a similar argument to make. He contends that the motion is "not about politics but a practical manner". The arguments are met with stiff opposition. Delegate's point out the Solidarity SIPTU and other Trade Unions have offered the Student movement in the past. They point to the practical benefits of the relationship for Students in the work place. Enda Duffy from the UCD delegation says the choice is clear. The choice for delegates is to see the Union of Students in Ireland as " a representative organisation, not a business". Delegates vote to pass the motion.

As Red Wedge predicted in advance of the conference, many worthy motions are passed, but there are few proposals for action. The debate on emergency motions that takes place on the final day of the congress offers some solace for students who seek a movement that engages in campaigns and seeks to have an impact on society through engaging with students on the ground. The congress votes to back UCDs motion in support of the Students against Climate Change march that takes place on Friday the 13th of April at one o'clock outside the Dáil. Delegate's also back a UCD motion in support of the campaign to shut down rogue pregnancy agencies.

USI’s industrial relations difficulties have been covered elsewhere on Indymedia. However, debate on this matter is ruled out of order by the standing orders committee who Chair the Congress. An emergency motion from UCD-proposing that the Congress support the rulings of the Labour relations commission and affirm support for basis of labour law-is not accepted by the steering committee.

Despite the decisions of the congress, Red Wedge remains positive and optimistic about the future. There is evidence to suggest that many of the student union leaders are out of touch with the grassroots. Consider this contrast: Trinity students recently gave an increased mandate to their unions boycott coke campaign in a campus wide referendum. Yet they were represented at the congress by a delegation who proposed the most reactionary motion on the agenda-the motion to break the link with SIPTU.

The challenge must be to engage with the issues that effect students on the ground, build up a campaigning culture and convince students that change can be brought about if people organise. There must also be a pivotal role for engagement with issues that concern the place of students in the wider world if the student movement is to realise its full potential.

As for the future, I conclude with these words, contained in an ancient Chinese proverb. "As for the best leaders, the people hardly notice their existence. The next best they hate and the next best they fear. But when the best leaders work is done, the people will say 'we did it ourselves'.

author by ashamed - tcdpublication date Sun Apr 08, 2007 16:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So was the IBEC motion passed? I thought the SIPTU disaffiliation and the IBEC one were seperate motions. Say it ain't so!

author by Himselfpublication date Sun Apr 08, 2007 18:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tony Benn never admitted that plagarism when he used it i Trinity recently.

Nice report keep them up.

author by Some Guypublication date Mon Apr 09, 2007 19:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Richie Morrisroe is the advocate universities do not need - he recently said that EUR8.5 million of government funding should be withdrawn from university academics (who can't be trusted to do commercial research) and handed to industry, to let the market decide research objectives:

"I was thinking about this recently, and i feel that the government is doing the whole technology transfer schemes pretty poorly. It doesn't really fit with how universities work, in that commercial application is one of the LAST things any academic thinks about, and the whole public service ethos and conditions aren't conducive to the pressures of creating a workable project. Get more researchers working in the private sector, in small non-hierarchical organisations far away from university campuses (but using the same electronic resources). The profit motive and lack of huge state subsidies will probably lead to faster and more innovative products. Incentivise this by giving tax breaks, and sitting back will probably be more effective. Not that we can expect that kind of behaviour in an election year (sign)."

Related Link: http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=13749
author by The Insiderpublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 14:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...The only choice was between two right wingers.

Now this begs the fucking question - why the f1ck didn't someone from the left run?

If the only candidates in the running are right wing than you can hardly complain when a right winger gets elected.

Every year there is a discussion on this site about what to do about USI/Students Unions in general. And every year no left wing candidate has the balls to put themselves up as a potential candidate.

author by know152publication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 15:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"There is evidence to suggest that many of the student union leaders are out of touch with the grassroots. Consider this contrast: Trinity students recently gave an increased mandate to their unions boycott coke campaign in a campus wide referendum. https://www.indymedia.ie/article/81279 Yet they were represented at the congress by a delegation who proposed the most reactionary motion on the agenda-the motion to break the link with SIPTU."

I suspect that all attending are out of touch, what % of student bodies actually voted for the delegate or the referendum at TCD?

Also, it might be worth noting that SIPTU quite rightly have the representation of their members at the heart of what they do. And that does from time to time bring them into conflict with the avowed aims of USI.

author by ashamed - tcdpublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 16:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Red Wedge's example is apt.

The TCDSU leadership tried to overturn the Coke Boycott, with the Deputy President sneaking through a pre-typed "emergency" motion (so students had no chance to challenge it) and then acting as the head of the pro-Coke campaign team. Yet over 2000 students (63% of voters) voted against them.

Council had no say in the SIPTU/IBEC motion, and of course students at large were not informed about it, nor about the delegation (I'm not on Council and only gather anything from anecdotes by those who are)

Class reps are not obliged to inform their classes of ANY goings-on at Council, much less USI, so the second-generation Blueshirts and PDs who run the SU do as they please. It's a fucking joke.

author by Libertarian Socialistpublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 16:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There comes a time when the brave decision is to vote with your feet and leave an organisation when it no longer represents what it claims to stand for.

There simultaneously occurs a time when it is neccessary to construct a new grassroots competitive organisation that takes on and shows up the old one for what it is: a fucking waste of money.

The time has come for UCD students to show the lead and disaffiliate from USI.

(On a side note, SIPTU never supported the boycott of Coca Cola, on the contrary they opposed it, so logically the Trinity Reps are just as out of touch with the student body as SIPTU are from their members)

author by ashamedpublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 19:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't think the two are the same. SIPTU represents Coke workers who didn't support the boycott, while TCD students have voted to support it 3 times in 4 years. Besides, the boycott isn't the issue here, it's just an example of how out of touch the SU exec are.

Not saying SIPTU are great or anything, but I'll take them over IBEC any day.

Re: leaving USI: Talk of disaffiliating from USI comes along every few years (usually from the right I think). I don't think there's much to be gained from it. We should fight to keep our existing organisations progressive instead of just giving up on them. We should build left-wing SUs who can counter the McGuirks and Roes of the USI. Most of all we should be getting general students involved in left-wing politics, so that they won't just sit back and take the politicos' shit, either now or when they're in the real world.

author by The Insiderpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 08:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

....the solution is thus to put better people in it.

It may be a start for some left candidates to put themselves forward for election in the future. As I said, if the left don't run candidates, they can't really moan when a right winger gets elected.

author by UCD Socialistpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 09:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The call for disaffiliation is completely wrong. It would further divide the Student Movement and it would complicate matters when it came to students wanting to fight the government on a national level. Remember in 2004 when UCDSU was in control of the left. UCD was able to use it's influence to puch USI on key matters. At USI Congress Rory Hearne was only a handful of votes from winning Presidency. That shows an upturn in students struggling can have a very quick impact on Rotten SU right-wingers. These careerists can be swept away very quickly. The key thing for left-wingers to do is build bottom-up democratic campaigns that will hold SU and USI officers to account for their actions. Dissaffiliation will reduce the capabilities of students to put these people under pressure and win positions in USI. It's a very bad move to dissaffiliate. It's an easy road and it's called for out of justified bitterness and anger against corrupt USI officers.

author by RT - UCCpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I know Richie Morrisroe (kudo's to the original poster for getting the name completely wrong) and I wouldn't say he's a right wing careerist - more centre-left if anything. Nice guy, too.

author by Mauricepublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 13:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Richie Morrisroe is a raving socialist. It would have been much better for the students of Ireland (who will go on to become the business leaders of Ireland) to have had a right wing president like McGurik. Morrisroe will lead us down the old path of his labour youth predessors.

author by USI Observerpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

IBEC- yay, fantastic, lets mobilize the students! why don’t we work on a campaign like lowering tax, sure money is only wasted anyway on social service anyway, such as education and student services, wait- oh no no no we dont want to lose out on student services... that wouldnt be good at all. Wait, we could just get the money for student services from fees instead lets run a campaign on that aswell, im sure IBEC will fund it \o/

"PS, thank god we ditched SIPTU"

Oh yes- thank god indeed! Sure now we have a real case for claiming that we are on our own with no support and moan on about that and feel proud of ourselves \o/ As hey said at Congress, "Anyone but SIPTU", couldn’t have put it better myself. Seeing as it was anyone but SIPTU who wouldn’t help us a few years ago when we needed an emergency €2,000 for a report we did a few years, I presume that we won’t be accepting further such help from them now right? Or are we only accountable and behave like adults when it suits us?

Just so you know good luck trying to get NUIM (the college most likely to get on board with USI) now that you left the link with SIPTU-> and that’s a direct quote from one of their officers, btw

But sure the thing to remember in the end is that now thanks to breaking the link, USI and SIPTU wont have to clash over employee rights \o/ (makes it all worth it)... oh wait... that’s not true either... SU's will still employee employees who will still be members of a Trade Union (i.e. SIPTU) Sad (That’s taking forgratnted that despite the current trend in USI, that SIPTU will watch out for the best interests of their members)

So what can we really gain from this?

Well for those luck select few sabbats they may get noticed by IBEC and run off into the sunset to their new found pen-pushing jobs, and all it cost them was selling out you me and other students on the ground...

Thank god for student apathy ,those lucky students who are unaware of how the people who supposedly represent them have prostituted our best interests as a careerist platform from which to launch themselves. People give out about student apathy, I wish I had it...

Related Link: http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=13734
author by Junebugpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 15:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I must say that my feelings on this have already been posted.

For all the reasons of the last post i worry about the future of USI and genuine student politics...

However I also have to say im sick of hearing from others on the left that a organisation that has become too right wing should be avoided. We cant abandon an organisation like USI because it seems to be taking a more and more right wing path- we must reclaim USI, support genuine candidates such as Richie Morrisroe (who is not a raving socialist, just a progressive genuine officer).

If it looks like its becoming too right wing too full of careerists we should be increasing and encouraging partisipation not withdrawing. We need to stay involved in civil society and its institutions and not abandon them because we feel the trend slipping away...

author by Sweetiepublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 16:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The willingness of the USI to swing right on any issue is receiving horrified attention outside the student pond , witness The Phoenix last week (below). UCCSU even wants to "outsource" an unelected Deputy President / Campaign Manager (http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=13821) for a predictably "politically difficult year ahead".

Let us see how UCCSU manages to sweeten the bitter pill of reintroducing student fees - as surely they must because postgraduate medics are no longer going to contribute 2 1/2 million a year towards the interest on UCC's monster budget deficit.

RELATIONS between the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the super union, SIPTU, have reached an all-time low and at next month's USI annual congress in Bundoran, the two parties could split officially. Ironically, the winners here might turn out to be the organisation that represents employers - SIPTU's old foe, IBEC.
Bundoran boy Colm Hamrogue is the outgoing president of USI and his legacy could yet he the joining of forces between the students and IBEC, a move which would confirm the increasing view that those bloody students have shifted significantly to the right in recent years and are less and less interested in political issues. Both 2005 and 2006 have been marked by increasingly strained relations between the students' union and Jack O'Connor's SIPTU, with repeated clashes occurring. For example, USI felt abandoned by SIPTU when the latter failed to join in the protests for extra government funding after benchmarking was blamed for leading to a cut in student services. More recently, SIPTU's education branch officer, Chris Rowland, attacked USI when it suspended a manager, describing its actions as "unacceptable" and saying that "we expect a higher standard of employment from an organisation like USI".
In Galway, there was also a nasty scrap between the students' union at NUIG and Siptu over planned redundancies in the shop/travel agency. More recently. Trinity College Dublin - where David Quinn is president of the union - | faced off with SIPTU, claiming O'Connor et cil were "trying to bankrupt" TCDSU by demanding "extortionate redundancy packages" for five members of staff in the office and travel agency. The latter bust-up ended up in the Labour Court where it was recommended that the staff be paid four-and-a-half weeks' pay per year of service - a ruling the students described as "fair and just".
The bad taste left as a result of this latest spat is evident in the TCD motions on the agenda for next month's congress which call for "USI to cease its current relationship with SIPTU and for any future relationship with SIPTU to be enacted only if a mutually beneficial relationship can be found". More
significantly, another Trinners motion also calls for the "USI officer board to develop relationships with IBEC" - a scenario which would represent a significant kick in the teeth for SIPTU given the 50,000 affiliates it claims through the USI connection.
Trinity is not the only college expressing dissatisfaction with SIPTU - Waterford IT wants congress to recognise "the traditionally fruitless relationship between SIPTU and USI" and "the belligerent attitude of SIPTU towards both USI and its constituent unions". It also recommends "the dissolution of the association" but, unlike at TCD, the boys and girls in the sunny southeast are not looking to team up with the employers' federation, IBEC, and instead are seeking "an alternative arrangement with ICTU".
While the Trinity motion on forming an alliance with IBEC looks unlikely to succeed - this time around at least - Jack O'Connor will have noted the increasing discontent in a rightward leaning USI. The new student president - be it John McGuirk or Richard Morrisroe - may find himself the subject of some schmoozing in the months ahead.
e-mail: goldhawk@indigo.ie - Keep Him Informed

author by Cathalpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 16:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Has it been tried before to set up a left wing libertarian students union?

author by Tree dwelling Rodent with bushy tail!!publication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Regretfully and bitterly I say this. The time has to leave a organisation that no longer represents the interests of the student body as a whole. it is a similar situation to one that faced many labour party members in Britain. Many left when it ceased to represent the interests of unions and working class.

Students can easily get together on any issue they want without having to pay huge affiliation fees. An organisation working on similar grounds to FUSU (forum of university students unions) could easily be set up where sabbatical officers could meet up as regularly as they need to in order to discuss common problems and mutual campaigns.

The farce that is USI congress must come to end sooner or later.

author by The Insiderpublication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 09:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

FUSU is a pile of steaming crap and has done nothing in the 10 years since it was set up. All it is now is a monthly meeting of SU officers.

If one was to leave USI and set up an alternative union, leaving aside the huge effort required to do this, there is no guarantee that it wouldn't be taken over by the same gobshites that are in USI, the way FUSU has been.

I remember Aongus Hourihane (right wing twit) advocating that UCD disaffiliate from USI. Now some on the left are saying the same thing. The more things change...

author by Starstruck - Student politics historianpublication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 09:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There has never been a trend of libertarianism in the national hierarchy as such but many of the individual unions have had libertarians elected to positions as sabaatical officers,for example UCD in the period 2003-2005 and UL to name but two.

Related Link: http://er-dublin.bebo.com
author by UCD Socialistpublication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The level of political activity from students is not high enough at present to sustain a breakaway left-wing national Union. If a new organisation was launched it would die a quick death. Why? Because it would comprise of the same old right-wing officers. There needs to be a higher level of grassroots activity to sustain a new Union. Anyway, if there is an upturn in grassoots activity it is possible for USI to be reclaimed. Remember what happened in 2002-04 in UCD when there was an upturn in student action. This resulted in a left-wing SU leadership and had an impact on USI (Rory Hearne only a handful of votes from Presidency, many left-wing motions, etc.). This upturn in UCD was relatively minor. Imagine what would be possible if there was a more significant upturn in student activism!

Those on the left that point to the redundent Labour Party as an example of needing to ditch USI have missed the point. The Labour Party does not have a mass membership. the reason left-wingers left Labour was because the rightward drift could not be reversed as there was no longer any affiliation among working class people towards being involved in that Party. The USI still has the vast majority of students. Students should only dissaffiliate if there are significant numbers of grassroots students (not SU sorts) that no longer see the USI as credible and want to establish an alternative. If that happens I'd be the first to call for dissaffiliation.

FUSU is a joke. It only has University SUs and only involves officers and has not grassroots involvement. It's there as a talking shop as officers face common issues in the Universities. What is needed is co-ordination between left-wing activists in the colleges. There needs to be a genuine grassroots organisation established that can assist students fighting back against the Government's policies.

author by UCCSU observerpublication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

padraigmacamhlaoibh wrote: Anybody who takes Indymedia seriously is a moron, and probably posts on it. I'm not sure long-term disaffiliation from SIPTU is a good idea, but as a much needed, short-term kick up the ass, it is very welcome. They are an utter shambles

This is typical of the former SWP member who turned UCCSU into a tory-like union after taking over from a true socilaist. Frank Milling. We should not be breaking links with other organisations but cementing links.

author by I love Milling!publication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 13:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You mean the Frank Milling who organised a demonstration when admin excluded everyone with any scruples from the committee set up to sell the campus to venture capitalists? The Frank Milling who described the proposal (from venture capitalists) to expel non-compliant members from the governing body as "a disgusting affair"? All we have now are some admin lap-dogs whose ideologies aren't worthy of even placing on the left-right spectrum - they are the "what's in it for me" brigade.

author by Peterpublication date Fri Apr 13, 2007 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is "Frank Milling the true socialist" the same Frank Milling who supported Paddy Reilly's silly proposal for a new USI constitution, and with Reilly and yer man from DIT pushed a right - wing reformist agenda in USI?

author by UCC Headpublication date Fri Apr 13, 2007 15:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No, he was the president who followed the mandate of his council and executive to support the constitution which his Welfare Officer, Conor Flavin, helped draft. Presidents are still meant to follow the democratic will of his/her students.

author by rodentpublication date Fri Apr 13, 2007 23:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

FUSU was set up precisely to BE a talking shop for university students unions to be able to meet up with those unions who were no longer in or never were in USI i.e. UL and DCU . The USI affiliated unions including UCD always blocked any proposals for activity from FUSU because they wished to confine there national campaigning to USI and not bypass it as they are members of it and wished to see the others join USI.

Any way the point I was trying to make and perhaps not very well is we don't need a national union that now costs UCD over €140,000 a year and the other colleges similar per capita amounts for doin shag all except having 3 piss ups a year. It would be just as easy for Unions to meet up informally and decide democratically among themselves what and if to campaign on nationally. It would cost a fraction of the amount to do that and would be alot quicker to react to a changing environment. There doesn't need to be a concrete organisation Ireland isn't that big.

We should disaffiliate from USI because it no-longer has the interests of students and those who are prevented from being students at heart. It would rather cosy up to IBEC an organisation that wishes to see the return of fees and all education privatised. It will stay this way because no decent lefty would want to take on a USI that is rotten to the core, full of privileged students who wish to consolidate their position in society, who have no interest in increasing education for the underprivileged and waste students money all over the place. Thats why none of the lefty students union officers from dublin, waterford, cork or galway would run for anything in the last few years. There simply is no point in being a leader of an organisation whose members generally don't want to campaign or have the same agenda as a left student officer.

author by Sweetiepublication date Sat Apr 14, 2007 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Plans to reintroduce direct fees are well advanced, so the intake of 2009 could well either pay or accept debt to the tune of around 5,000 euro per year of study. An announcement of the payment structure is probable after the election and before September. This and other issues like the abolition of "uneconomic" courses of study and "irrelevant" research centres - which have outraged academics worldwide - do not even feature in the USI agenda.

author by The Insiderpublication date Sat Apr 14, 2007 13:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your analysis is exactly the same as Aonghus Hourihane, the right wing twit who famously said that students beaten up at the RTS demo a few years back deserved it. He too said USI was unreformable, and proposed setting up an alternative union. Like you he was short on specifics.

Any other union would run into the same problems USI has. Why? Because it's not the structure of USI that is the problem as much as the people in it and in local SUs.

There is a need for a national student body with a single voice, particularly at crucial times (i.e. when the government of the day threatens to reintroduce fees). An organisation without a single voice like what you're proposing would be easy prey for a government we know loves to use the divide and conquer strategy against unions.

With regard to left minded individuals not running for USI officer board positions - there is no excuse. Certainly given the low number of nominations lately for USI positions it would be easy for a number of individuals to get on. There have been successful officerboards in the past that had a few left wingers in them - Julian De Spainn's in 2000-01, Colm Jordan's a few years later.

A few left wingers in a leadership role could have a big impact - both in terms of advocating for a more campaigning USI and also in terms of imspiring those in local SUs who are left minded. It certainly does nothing to walk off the battlefield. It's like something Homer Simpson would say - "Son, you tried your best, and you failed miserably. The lesson is - never try!"

author by Rodentpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2007 16:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To the Insider

your completely missing the point of what I'm trying to say. I don't want another union to be set up (thats probobly why you think i'm being vague) when i leave USI. I want students to get together when action is necessary, as they did in UCD with the CFE when they in effect had no union to represent them. It definitly could be argued that they did a better job than any union ever did. The effects of their campaigning were felt for years later in UCD even when most were gone. This sort of action is what we need. Not some organsition set up either old or new to become a white elephant. People will only act like this when they see they have no-one else to do it for them. While a union like USI exists it only gives people license to do nothing and then blame the union. Thats the reality! At the moment we have one voice that is counter productive. It does students more harm than good and it can't be allowed to go on.

I don't believe it should cost ucdsu €140,000 to have a national voice and certainly not a national voice that aligns itself with IBEC. I don't believe that if we manage elect officer board of progressive people who care about student issues and education rights for the citizens of this country in USI that they could alter the fact that it costs €140,000.

If I alone had €140,000 grand to mount a campaign with I could do a better job than USI have being doing with millions.

Another point is that although USI did good work in the past on the fees issue etc... this issue is more crucial now than ever as the previous poster mentioned. Are USI highlighting this? No not a peep out of them. And the fact remains it was the so called midlle class parents of this country who stopped the fees from being reintroduced the last time not unfortunatly USI.

author by Despublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 16:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't know why everyone is getting excited about the USI, they are basically the most prominent element of the middle class and upwards student body in the country. As a former student, I have observed the harsh reality, 99.9 percent just want to climb the greasy pole and get bombed in that order.
They don't give a damn about anything else, given the class structure of our colleges, the idea of signing up with IBEC is logical. After all, we are essentially talking about the youth wing of what's running the country!

author by tcdpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 16:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's ridiculous reasoning. Most of the working class are also social climbers. Most in this country would now call themselves middle class. Should we abandon them too?

Student politics, while ultimately fleeting and pointless, will always serve as a gateway to real politics. Do you really feel the left should, after a history of fighting hard for the hearts and minds of students, abandon them to the youth wings of the political parties?

I know only too well that a lot of students are rich twats bound for Government/managerial positions and, as I said, the particulars of student politics are, by and large, obscure and pointless, but most of the dedicated leftwing activists and workers I know got involved while in college. Getting people involved is the most important thing for the left, that's why student politics matters.

author by The Insiderpublication date Fri Apr 20, 2007 08:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...at €7 a skull that is cheap compared to the costs of joining SIPTU or any other Union.

With regard to USI doing little on the fees issue I agree - but the solution is to get in there and make them do something about it.

author by Despublication date Sun Apr 22, 2007 16:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

After four years of banging my head against a brick wall, all I can say is that I will leave you to your illusions. The Kulaks and their urban counterparts are the student body, reality is sadly rather harsh. I only wish it was otherwise!

author by From RTEpublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Students call for protection of 'free fees'
Monday, 23 April 2007 11:09

Students are calling on political parties not to reintroduce third level fees.

The Union of Students in Ireland wants the pledge to be part of their election manifestos.

The student body will press home its demand at a gathering outside the Dublin Institute of Technology on Bolton Street this morning.

The President of the union, Colm Hamrogue, says students cannot reach the top unless free fees are protected and grants are increased by the next Government.

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0423/fees.html
author by union probspublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

USI are co-operating with 'Global car safety week'- this little nugget courtesy
of a tabloid telly irish breakfast programme.

yes- there is a 'global' problem with car safety and the un and Irish Government inititative
is being taken up by USI.

1. cars cause problems in the environment.
2. students should not have cars.
3. I don't think many little kids from developing countries have a 'car problem'
(more like vaccines/war/ glolaised market penetration)
4. There is a whole other meaning to people transportation and mafia in developing
countries which includes :- sex trade, worker exploitation, rape of natural resources.

USI like ICTU is a sell out, pretty pictures and placards but not a brain in the
head- they will be co-operating with the co-opted fluffy may day festivites next.

Have USI looked at intellectual property rights?

Why the fuck are they working with the state on aspirational and consumer goods issues?

Do tell?

author by DBSpublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:24author email Admissions at dbs dot eduauthor address author phone 01 4177500Report this post to the editors

Why the fuck are they working with the state on aspirational and consumer goods issues? I think we have misjudged the whole concept of education:

Dublin Business School and Lidl supermarket to offer Batchelor in Arts degree in Retail Management

DBS, in conjunction with German supermarket chain Lidl, is pleased to announce the launch of the BA in Retail Management. The programme will commence in September 2007 and includes an apprenticeship in retail management, culminating in an internationally recognised degree. Lidl will employ the participants of the programme as Apprentice Deputy Store Managers and programme graduate will automatically qualify for a Deputy Store Manager position. Some may even progress immediately to running their own store.


Related Link: http://www.dbs.edu/about/webpage_content.asp?WebPageContent_id=648#lidl
author by Gimppublication date Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I recently had to ask for help from the SU in UCC and (apart from Sonia) they are some of the most unreconstructed, bigoted and discriminatory people I have come across. They - rightly - embrace sexual issues but are the most pig-ignorant people when it comes to disability. The UCC bulletin boards are filled with racism and disability "jokes" and filled with disability terms as insults. They are supposed to be there to help especially in Welfare but just take the piss.

author by Ronaldpublication date Thu May 03, 2007 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

According to the Phoenix Magazine, "Lord" Richard Morrisroe is facing dissent in the ranks with corporatist moves to dissociate University College Cork from USI and (as a parting shot) to dissociate USI from ICTU. Then he has to push through the reintroduction of student fees that is the pet project of his new regent, Dr Michael Murphy, and help Vaseline the discomfort of axing a few "underperforming units" in the course line-up. Then of course there could be some High Court testimony from at least two UCC student officers (including Richie, the littlest of University governors) relating to the corruption investigated by the independent Mr Malone. It will be a tough act, even for one of such noble birth.

Clowning around in University College Cork
Clowning around in University College Cork

Related Link: http://www.phoenix-magazine.com/phoenix/welcome.do
author by Kris - UCCSUpublication date Fri May 04, 2007 15:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are USI even affiliated to ICTU?

I dont see them listed

Related Link: http://www.ictu.ie/html/aboutcon/affuni.html
author by Keith O' Brien - UCCSUpublication date Fri May 04, 2007 19:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm posting this, with no care in the world to who it offends, but by Gumbo a lot of the comments on this topic are either a) wrong b) biased to the extreme c) Laughable d) Stupid as F**K.

To Gimp- I doubt that highly, there was one recorded mention of a disability joke made "Fighting on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics, even if you win you are still... ". I'll let your imaginations fill it in. As it was it was dealth with by the system we have in place. The UCC Bulliten boards are not full of care-bear Welfare people, they are boards for all UCC members to conduct discourse in a moderately acceptable manner. Feel free to contact me on the boards if you ever need to talk to someone other than an officer, you prob know who I am.

Ronald- I can only assume your sarcasm is meant to highlight the inaccuracies of people's talk about Riche Morrisroe, I'm afraid I'm not always on the sarcasm ball :)

No USI is not affiliated with ICTU, though a motion to attempt to develop relations with them was submitted at Congress 07, however shot down by people like NUIG and UCDSU so they could debate and parade their ideologies regarding SIPTU to the masses.

Richie Morrisroe is not a Right winger in the slightest, you goms.

To Rodent- So what you are saying is the left wingers in SU's and COs should leave USI, form another organisation, and have a split down the Student Political world into right and left? Yes, incredibly majoritist representation of the student masses and the lay student.

UCCSU is not F**King calling for the re-introduction of fees! Seriously, can you people READ newspapers? Dr. Michael Murphy, UCC President, called upon the re-introduction of student fees to highlight the sheer inadequate funding (in need of €300million) in the University Sector by the current government. In all my talks with Michael I have never seen him once on any other side but the students, being a FORMER Officer of the old UCCSU in the 70s. Right now he is tackling to have free fees given to part time students upon request from the UCCSU, at a governmental level.

Really guys, get a clue before talking out your arses, or simpy ask someone in UCC. That may help.

This left-winger will get involved in time to come in my SU officer Board and disprove the myth that only right-wing careerists can use USI, and we will show them USI works for the students. Do not disaffiliate, become more active. Apathy in activists is an insiduous thing...

P.S. Pheonix is only good for wiping your arse with it, and if I could do the same to indymedia I probably would.

author by Gimppublication date Fri May 04, 2007 23:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"To Gimp- I doubt that highly, there was one recorded mention of a disability joke made "Fighting on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics, even if you win you are still... ". I'll let your imaginations fill it in. As it was it was dealth with by the system" - Keith O' Brien

Perhaps you don't look and listen Keith. Disability insults are used on a daily basis on the UCC boards and elsewhere. The same applies to spastics, foreigners, gays / gheys, epileptics and any other vaguely amusing condition of human existence. Not only do the SU officers and moderators do nothing about it, they are amongst the worst offenders. A thick skin is one thing, but continuous verbal and physical abuse preventing participation in academic pursuits is another entirely.

Some samples:
"all Israelis should fuck off" http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=9255
"I don't give a shit what jews think" http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=12032 (from a class rep)
the Special Olympics, prostituting children, rape for amusement http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=12279
gay people shouldn't be allowed to teach (presumably they would rape the students) http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=12508
spastics http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?p=133438

author by Keith O' Brien - UCCSUpublication date Sat May 05, 2007 11:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors


My respect for you dwindles as I check each link. Lets start in reverse order shall we?

"spastics http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?p=133438"- Congratulations in pointing to our most infamous offender on the forums, Fannyhead, who was subsequently banned from the forums for abuse and such remarks.

"gay people shouldn't be allowed to teach (presumably they would rape the students) http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=12508"- So what you are saying here is, the debate that Catholic Schools, by directive of the children's parents, should be allowed the rights to preserve their ethos in relation to the beliefs they are supposed to teach their children by not allowing homosexual men as teachers in their school, is ACTUALLY a SU Officer and moderator wide-held belief that gay men should not be allowed teach AT ALL? If anyone reads the debate(s) they may actually see people discussing it sensibly. Do I agree with the idea? No, but thats personal opinion, and thats all. Even the LBGT ex-auditors acknowledge the rights of the parents' in controlling who their child is raised by, the teacher is in Locus Parentus.

"the Special Olympics, prostituting children, rape for amusement http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=12279"- Again, Congratulations for linking to the one actual complaint on a poorly thought out comment by 1 member of the lay-student body, in attempting to highlight the stupidity of fighting over the internet. An apt quote here as well, in all ironic acknowledgement. THERE IS NO MENTION OF PROSITUTING CHILDREN OR RAPE FOR AMUSEMENT IN THAT TOPIC. So why link it?

""I don't give a shit what jews think" http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=12032 (from a class rep)"- I can't find this, unless you mean Ady's comment that he doesn't 'give a shite if the jews are supersensitive to the holocaust issue'. Man is still entitled to his opinion on it, but it hardly again amounts to 'I never care what jews think ever, because I hate them.' Which what you are trying to imply.

""all Israelis should fuck off" http://bb.ucc.ie/viewtopic.php?t=9255"- I'm going to finish your very, very select sentencing with its actual original message; "all Israelis shoud fuck off -out of PALESTINE-". Wow, another person in this world not supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine.. may have something to do with his origin of birth...

You see, this is my problem with a lot of what goes on both on the web, and in real life. People walk around with a grudge they can't quite explain or leave go, search desperately for a soft spot on their target, and then go for it twisting all facts and reality so they appear right and justifible. I've clearly explained your 5 examples that you claim are indicative of the rife intolerance and active discrimination of minority groups by SU Officers (yet no links to that), moderators (no links) and the normal body, yet the honest person will see those examples for what they are; pure twisting of reality to serve a cause.

People are entited to opinion, and express it under the conditions of acceptable societal behaviour where it does no harm. We at F.UCC believe in treating people like adults and allowing debate. Otherwise we become facists and uneducated.

I recommend you re-read the boards extensively. And read cross arguments, counter points, the next page of a topic etc.. before slandering both my Uni, my Forum boards (I am one of your 'offenders' as I am a moderator it seems), and my SU.

Again, I am on the forums and contactable if you have any real interest in talking over things you have problems with or issuing complaints.


author by TheWebRemembersEverythingpublication date Sat May 05, 2007 16:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors


The cache shows:

Posted by "Fireglow" - joke about the Special Olympics
Posted by "RedBulljunkie" - (with pictures) taking the piss out of the Special Olympics "retards", black man attacking blonde, white cheerleaders "Rape: It's gonna happen", smiling man saying "Rape Rape Rape" and a child prostitute "for those of you offended by child prostitution"

author by Slayerpublication date Tue May 08, 2007 16:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to respond to the latest post detailing the "child prostitution" jokes. If one had bothered to look further than their nose, one would see that the moderators deleted the pictures and reprimanded the users who posted that tripe.

Don't be so selective in your quoting.

Long live UCCSU and USI!

author by Nopublication date Tue May 08, 2007 19:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No! The cache cleary shows offensive material. Moderators must ensure that no offensive material must ever appear even before they even moderate it.

author by Gimppublication date Tue May 08, 2007 21:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seeing as it was me that made the evident mistake of referring to the student forum, I must butt in here. I referred to "continuous verbal and physical abuse preventing participation in academic pursuits". There is discrimination and exclusion of people because they are black, foreign, gay, disabled, etc - "on the boards and elsewhere". Selective? Yes, the examples I listed were selected in less than 5 minutes of browsing. I could give you 26 references to gimp ("zip it you gimp", "snobby little gimp", "gimp sack of shit", "try not to be a gimp"), only one of which is not offensive to disabled people in that it refers to bondage. That is an indication of disability awareness on campus.

When I raised NON-BOARD discrimination and exclusion, I was given the same "these are adults and we aren't fascists" line, plus a copy of the commitment (in student rule 1.9) "That the University community is free from intimidation and discrimination". This is pure rhetoric because disrespect, abuse, intimidation and discrimination are widespread and the rules are not implemented.

Gimp ("Cripple" by John Currin)
Gimp ("Cripple" by John Currin)

author by Keith O' Brien - F.UCC.publication date Wed May 09, 2007 00:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To No- Are you seriously expecting moderators of any forum to have super pre-cognitive powers in relation to what will be posted in the future? Or worst yet, that we find every URL for every NSFW (Not Safe for Work) or Offensive imagry and add it to the blocked list? Bearing in mind the abilty to host images nowadays?

Its impossible for the most part, moderators are reactionary to within the fastest possible times. Link me a forum add-on thats coded for Pre-Cognitive Moderator A.I and I'll install it on the forums.

Bored of Indymedia, and guilty of what I hate about it; venting and ranting about utter silliness. Mostly. See you all.

author by Kris - UCCpublication date Wed May 09, 2007 14:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is gone totally off topic - even if UCC - a whole 3rd level institution of people assembled from all across the country were to be discriminatory... and I'm really not saying it has... what the Fucc has that to do with What to do with USI?

Unless you're sole argument is that UCC is mean...

cos thats a good arguement....

yes... yes it is....

good luck with that


I'd suggest someone drag this topic back on track before it becomes entirely pointless.

author by Some Guypublication date Wed May 09, 2007 21:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am glad Kris (MuckleHiney) wants this topic back on track, especially as it his colleagues defending overt prejudice and extremely distasteful humour down south. I'll leave aside Keith O'Brien's statement that he has no respect for the person complaining and is bored with the complaint, Slayer's failure to note her own role in the tasteless pictures and Kris's dismissal of discrimination as "mean".

As the USI seems to be reading, what is the USI going to do about the national issues, fees, lack of investment, unsafe and unsuitable buildings (especially UCC, according to the HEA infrastructure report), disaffiliation and employee rights? Or are you only interested in "exorbitant food prices on [UCC] campus"?

(and Kris, you can say fuck on Indymedia, this isn't an adolescent sniggering site amused by jokes like "Fucc")

author by some other guypublication date Thu May 10, 2007 11:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"As the USI seems to be reading, what is the USI going to do about the national issues, fees, lack of investment, unsafe and unsuitable buildings (especially UCC, according to the HEA infrastructure report), disaffiliation and employee rights? Or are you only interested in "exorbitant food prices on [UCC] campus"?"

UCCSU concentrate on those issues rather than other non-student related national or international issues, that's why they have been so successful in the past few years. It also helps if the sabbatical officers don't throw a wobbly everytime a ucc student uses their own message boards to make a joke (no matter how unfunny it is).

It was the students Union who made sure that the HEA infrastructure report was clear and transparent in highlighting the very issues you mentioned. The food prices is an election issue something that all students can relate to and get angry about, it's not the only priority of a ny Union.

author by Keith o' Brien - UCCSUpublication date Fri May 11, 2007 11:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I'll leave aside Keith O'Brien's statement that he has no respect for the person complaining and is bored with the complaint." You what? I clearly made my dwindling respect clear, it wasn't that he/she complained, it was that the references were unsupportive. Oh and I wasn't bored with the complaint either, I was bored with this medium of discourse.

Sigh. Selectivity and mal-interpetation is often a two-edged sword. People would love Indymedia far more if it wasn't dominated by such tripe.

I don't think the topic can be re-orientated, shall I suggest we move on?

author by Ronaldpublication date Fri May 11, 2007 21:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is fascinating that Kris McElhinney (livinbeyondthepale), Rebecca Murphy (slayer) and Keith O'Brien (frostie / frostreaver / ice-anomaly) are both unable to see the many hundreds of offensive uses of disability labels AND contributing participants in many of the more offensive threads at FUCC. So if you want mature discussion without fascist moderation, then University College Cork will suit you fine - so long as you aren't a gimp, spastic, retard, competing in the Special Olympics, islamofilth, black, jewish, etc., in which case you should (to quote Keith "there are no rape jokes here" O'Brien) just move along.

move along now - no evil here
move along now - no evil here

author by Some Guypublication date Sat May 12, 2007 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In one corner we have the view that "colleges need to be managed more like businesses and a culture change is necessary to improve the rate of procurement from the private sector" predicated (without critical discussion) on the premise of corporate and profit-lead restructuring. In the other is the fear that "private companies are queuing up for the easy pickings and handsome returns that will be achieved by worsening pay, conditions and educational quality". And stuck in the middle are the much more real, much longer term issues of ensuring that a high quality and accessible education system survives.

From the Irish Times yesterday, a letter - Madam, - Sean Flynn paints a rosy picture of the comfortable lives that lie ahead for Irish university students as indicated by the Ireland Graduate Survey ("Final year students look forward to life of milk and honey", Education Today, May 8th).
While Mr Flynn does mention the lack of cultural and racial mix at third level - 96 per cent of students are white - he fails to place the overall results of the research commissioned by the Irish Times within the greater context of access to higher education. Educational outcomes occur within economically and socially constructed settings, so it is little surprise that the students in question are "hugely confident they have the skills to do well in the future".
Despite the best efforts of the HEA, of organisations such as Ahead, and of the individual access programs now offered by virtually all Irish universities, a real challenge is posed by the under-representation of non-traditional participants such as mature students, those from low income backgrounds, minority ethnic groups, or those with disabilities. Participation in higher educaion has increased in Ireland, yet the inequality within the system is as wide as ever.
A school-leaver from the Dublin 14 postal area is seven times more likely to in role in third level education than his or her counterpart rom Dublin 10. When students from continually disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds attend university, it doesn't tend to be for the "dizzying array of travel and lifestyle options". Yours etc., Ruth Gallagher.

and from January 16th, a report on access- Universities rely on institute intake to keep "elite" status. By KITTY HOLLAND
By relying on institutes of technology to increase the proportion of students from disadvantaged groups accessing third-level education, universities are maintaining their "elite" status, an expert on the issue has said.
Prof Tom Collins, head of education at NUI Maynooth, speaking yesterday at the publication of the first directory for mature students of Irish third-level institutions, also said the record of higher education in increasing mature students' access was "patchy" and that secondary schools were not preparing young people for "the intellectual challenges of adult life".
The directory gives a guide to the 32 institutions that admit mature students, along with information on everything from what the CAO is to what supports are available in each institution for mature students.
Prof Collins said access for mature students was patchy from institution to institution.
"It will become easier in the future. I think as modularisation and semesterisation models work their way through, colleges will realise these open up opportunities for different ways of being in college that haven't been explored yet."
He said mature students "challenge universities in their pedagogies", while students straight out of secondary school needed everything set out for them.
"They [second-level students] think like Powerpoint. They find it difficult to construct a narrative; they return exam scripts in bullet points. Second-level education is not training them to link their ideas, to tell a story. They come to university singularly unprepared for the intellectual challenges of adult life.
"Universities are still relying too heavily on the institutes of technology to deal with class," he continued, adding that Dundalk IT had four times the proportion of students from the lowest socio-economic groups as had the universities, while those from disadvantaged backgrounds who did get into university were generally not accessing the "high-prestige" courses such as law and medicine.
The directory has a limited print run as funding was limited. It can be viewed at http://www.tcd.ie/Trinity_Access/directory_maturestuden...6.pdf

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