UO1 Comparative Research

Proposed by: Presidents’ WG

 

Congress recognises

There are certain areas of similarity between MO organisations in relation to facilities, student issues and other practices.

Congress further recognises

There are often challenges associated with addressing these issues, without comparative research to illustrate best practice in other Higher Education Institutions.

Congress believes

That the area of conducting and presenting research between MOs is a lengthy, challenging process requires fine-tuning to be most effective

Congress further believes

Comparative Research will be conducted and presented more efficient manner if this task is assigned to a designated member of Officer Board

Congress therefore mandates

That the President assigns the area of Comparative Research to a member of Officer Board, who shall coordinate Comparitive Research on behalf of USI and MO’s regarding best practice in key aspects of union operations.

 

UO2 Part time officer training

Proposed by: DITSU

USI Congress Notes:

Part time officers play an important role in every Student Union. These Officers are essential to the growth and development of the student movement.

USI Congress further Notes:

That there are numerous, similar, motions mandating USI to conduct various Part Time Officer training.

USI Congress Believes:

Training is key to the standard of work done by the Part Time Officers. Both the Union and campaigns run by USI and individual SU’s are strongest with unity and training.

USI Congress therefore Deletes the Motions:

14 /Uo 14, 13/ Uo 13, 09/Uo 11

USI Congress Mandates:

All members of the USI Officer Board to provide appropriate training relevant to their area for all Part Time Officers throughout the country. To create unity, the Officer Board shall also create an online network for Part Time Officers throughout the country. Both mandates are to be completed by the end of the first semester each year.

 

Congress therefore mandates

the USI President to enter into negotiations with stakeholder trades unions in the primary, secondary and third level education system towards building a common platform on Education for the next General Election. Proposed USI Motions

UO3 Students’ union staff training

Proposed by: STACS SU

Congress notes:

The unique work that is done by Student Union staff on a daily basis in each Students’ Union in Ireland.

Congress further notes:

The high standard of training provided by USI for Students’ Union elected officers.

Congress mandates:

Officer Board provide a two day training programme for MO staff. The aim being to strive for best practice; enable networking; champion equality and inclusion; and create a platform for the staff to understand thus communicate the benefits and supports provided by USI.

 

UO4 SUT

Proposed by: UCCSU

Congress Notes:

That Student Union Training ( SUT ) is held during the first weeks of a Sabbaticals term in Office and can be an inconvenience for Sabbaticals to attend and participate.

Congress Believes:

That SUT is beneficial and is vital for incoming Officers

 Congress Further believes:

That SUT should be held at a more earlier and more convenient time for Sabbaticals .

Congress Mandates

The USI President to host training for full-time officers earlier in the summer before sabbats begin their term.

 

 

UO5 Eastern Area Officer

Proposed by: the VP BMW (of behalf of the BMW Region)

 

Congress Notes

USI Officer board is structured in such a way that allows regional and local support through their regional officer first and foremost.

Congress also notes

That the Dublin Regional Officer being a combined role for an officer allows the region to not have regional support as their only focus.

Congress further notes

It’s USI’s intention to see all colleges be represented by the national union and should be the Dublin Region grow in membership, it’ll be an even tougher task for a Dublin Regional Officer to provide sufficient support.

Congress mandates

The USI President to investigate the financial viability of bringing back the position of Eastern Area officer and report these findings to a National Council held before May 2016.

 

UO6 Regional Events to National Campaigns

Proposed by: the VP BMW

 

Congress Notes

Many USI Campaigns and their launches are located in Dublin due to its accessibility for MOs, Media and Politicians.

Congress also notes

This can remove a regional and local focus from national campaigns

Congress therefore mandates

The USI VP Campaigns, VP BMW and  VP for Southern Region to co-ordinate local and regional campaigns events to compliment national campaigns, where appropriate.

 

Amendment submitted by the VP BMW:

Replace clause ‘Congress therefore mandates’ with:

Congress therefore mandates

The USI VP Campaigns, VP for Welfare, VP BMW and VP for Southern Region to co-ordinate local and regional campaigns events to compliment national campaigns, where appropriate.

 

 

 

UO7 USI Election Process

Proposed by: TCDSU

Congress Notes

That information in relation to procedures around running for a position on Officer Board is not readily available to Member Organisations and that ambiguity around the regulations and election procedure could discourage potential candidates from running.

Congress Further Notes

That currently there is no limitation on spending for Officer Board campaigns. This may create uncertainty around the financial implications of running for an Officer Board position and work to further discourage potential candidates.

Congress therefore mandates

USI Officer Board to make regulations and procedures relating to Officer Board elections readily available to Member Organisations before commencement of the 2015/2016 Academic Year.

Congress further mandates

All of Officer Board to introduce a spending limit of €350 for all campaign materials

 

UO8 Supporting Student Media

Proposed by: USI President

Congress recognises

The fantastic work being done by student journalists and student media in Ireland.

Congress notes

That USI brought back one edition of The Voice magazine which was distributed in Freshers’ packs in 2014.

Congress believes

That USI could do more to support student journalism and student media.

Congress mandates

The USI President to organise a meeting in a central location and invite all USI members working in student media and all USI members who are editors of student publications to attend. This meeting will serve as a networking event for student media and will allow USI officers to flag the timeline of national events for the year with student media.  This meeting should take place before September 30th each year.

Congress also mandates

The USI President to develop an online version of ‘The Voice’. This will act as a centralised hub and showcase for student media and will allow student journalists to share articles, blogs, videos, and podcasts. The website will be maintained and updated by USI.  The website will also contain information on media awards and media grants that students can apply for.

 

UO9 Promotional Packs

Proposed by: UCCSU

 

Congress Notes:

That the USI distribute thousands of promotional packs for campaigns including and not limited to SHAG Week , Mental Health Week , Fresher Packs etc.

Congress Further Notes:

That MO’s have no knowledge of the cost involved and the unit pricing of such packs.

Congress Believes:

That communication is vital in the deliverance and pricing of such packs onto MO campuses

Congress Mandates:

The USI President and related Officer board members  to release itemised cost analysis of all materials distributed to MOs for Campaigns/SHAG Week/Mental Health Week etc .

 

 

UO10 DUBLIN STUDENT BALL

Proposed by: Dublin Regional Working Group

 

Congress notes:

That when done effectively, Students’ Union events can be a great social window for students and an introduction into the wider SU identity.

Congress also notes:

That there is great scope for collaboration among SUs that are in close proximity to one another, and that a common identity among students in Dublin could be useful.

Congress also notes:

The saturation of event promoters in Dublin and other built up areas can often make it tough for SUs to run cost-effective events.

 

Congress mandates:

The Officer Board member with responsibility for the Dublin Region to investigate the feasibility of arranging a USI student ball in support of the national charity in the Dublin region, making use of MO Events officers, event management students and student acts.

 

UO11 Legislation working group

Proposed by: VP AAQA

Congress notes

That a large number of mandates in the USI Policy manual require officer board to lobby on various issues, particularly in relation to government. These mandates can often require a change in legislation in order to be completed.

Congress further notes

Many organisations engage consistently with the legislative process to achieve their stated aims. USI has done this on an infrequent basis. Engaging with this process more frequently will allow USI to be more effective for its members.

Congress Recognises

That capacity of USI to engage with this may be limited without relevant expertise or training.

Congress Mandates

The USI President, or their nominee, to establish and chair a legislation working group with responsibility to provide training to interested members. Furthermore to provide information to national council on the process and direct them towards relevant legislation where appropriate.

Congress Further Mandates

The working group to update national council on the initiatives and activities it undertakes and, where necessary, to take instruction from national council.

 

 

 

UO12 Student summit

Proposed by: VP AAQA

Congress notes

The value of the student summit.

Congress further notes

That without a plan in place the event may become stagnant or fail to expand.

Congress mandates

The USI President to put together a strategic plan for the future of the Student Summit.

UO13 Mature student supports

Proposed by: USI VP Southern Region

 

Congress Notes:

The high increase in the numbers of mature students attending third level education and the difficulties they face.

Congress also notes:

The success of peer supports such as Mature Student Convention provided by the Vice President for Equality and Citizenship across Irish Third Level Institutions Students’ Unions.

Congress further notes:

The benefits of having a mature student officer be it fulltime or part-time in each MO

Congress is aware:

The benefits to mature students in holding a Mature Student Conference and the development of mature student officer be it fulltime or part-time in each MO, with support provided by the Vice President for Equality and Citizenship.

Congress mandates:

The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship to continue their work in the development of a mature student officer be it fulltime or part-time in each MO.

Congress further mandates:

The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship to hold a Mature Student convention to take place annually in the first semester of each academic year.

UO13 International Students participation:

NUIG SU & VP Welfare

Congress notes:

The importance of international students and the broad and diverse communities they bring to Irish Institutions.

Congress further notes with concern:

That international students may at times feel isolated from the Irish students and this issue needs to be addressed.

Congress Understands:

That international students face different issues and interact with institutions in different ways to Irish residence students.

Congress Identifies:

Our membership to European Students Union contains a wealth of information on issues pertaining to the needs of visiting and international students.

Congress Mandates:

Both the VP AAQA and the VP Equality and citizenship to investigate the experiences of international students on Irish campuses and prepare a document outlining best practices (nationally and/or internationally) of encouraging international student engagement in the Irish Student Movement and in the student experience in general. The documents recommendations should be submitted for discussion and agreement from MOs within the first two national councils in the academic year

 

UO14 Environmental awareness

Proposed by: the VP Equality and Citizenship

Congress notes

That issues concerning the environment are of importance to students.

Congress further notes

That USI sends out Freshers Packs to every MO at the beginning of the academic year.

Congress mandates

VP Equality and Citizenship to ensure there is information in the Freshers Pack around energy saving, recycling, and sustainable living as a student.

UO15 Campaigning for student nurses

Proposed by: Campaigns Working Group

Congress welcomes:

Cooperation between USI and relevant trade unions on the remuneration and treatment of student nurses.

Congress notes with concern:

The considerable problems experienced by student nurses alongside the issue of the grossly unfair trainee wage imposed on them, such as an exploitative graduate programme, increased hours and reduced salaries for a small number of graduate places.

Congress mandates:

The VP Campaigns and VP Academic Affairs & Quality Assurance to strive to work with the relevant trade unions and to mobilise students around a new, broader campaign that would be inclusive of the poor treatment of student nurses as a whole.

Congress also mandates:

The same officers to ensure that USI is working to ensure that disputes, negotiations and political lobbying in this area is inclusive of the student perspective.

 

UO16 Supporting a coalition of staff and students in third level

Proposed by: Campaigns Working Group

 

Congress notes:

That many of the goals of the USI and trade unions representing the academic community are one and the same. Furthermore, that USI has been seeking to build consensus around the student movement’s core belief in higher education as a public good.

Congress also notes:

That there is student solidarity for the impact of Employment Control Framework and casualised labour on lecturers and other essential staff on campus, to go along with a large amount of staff solidarity for the plight of student finances and the impact of austerity on the youth.

Congress acknowledges:

The campaigning and lobbying successes of similar coalitions in other countries such as the recent abolition of tuition fees in Germany.

Congress calls on:

Student and staff representatives across the country to make every effort to work alongside one another and to present a strong coalition that champions higher education as a public good and addresses issues of higher education funding and regulation.

Congress mandates:

The President to endeavour to have a terms of reference and accord brought to National Council for agreement in July and to report back as appropriate.

 

UO17 Student manifesto ahead of the next general election

Proposed by: Campaigns Working Group

 

Congress notes:

That there will be a General Election no later than April 2016.

Congress affirms:

That USI must seek to make solutions to core student issues part of the next Programme for Government.

Congress notes:

The process by which NUS and NUS-USI’s ‘#GenerationVote’ campaign sought to a) highlight the upcoming elections and the importance of students voting and b) gather student feedback on what a student general election manifesto should include.

Congress mandates:

The VP Campaigns to arrange for an Irish student manifesto ahead of the next general elections, as part of the wider national campaign. The rollout of this should be a priority for the Campaigns Working Group and Campaigns Sub-Committee.

UO18 Casework Recording Best Practice Policy

Proposed by: the VP BMW

 

Congress Notes:

The vital need for a “Casework Recording Best Practice Policy” for MO’s. Taking into extreme consideration data protection legislation and HEI data protection policies.

Congress Further Notes:
The invaluable information provided by casework recording for data analysis in each academic year and the dire need for MO’s to have a guideline to data recording and safe keeping.

Congress also notes:
The benefit of liaising with support services in each HEI so that we may gain a greater insight into the issues students face each academic year.

Congress mandates:
The VP for Welfare to produce a Best Practice Guideline/policy for MO’s regarding the recording of issues faced by students. Taking into extreme consideration data protection legislation and HEI data protection policies.

Congress further mandates:
The VP welfare to investigate the feasibility for MO’s to liaise with support services in each HEI to gather necessary data to analyse key student issues in each academic year.

UO19 Comparative Research

Proposed by: Presidents’ WG

 

Congress recognises

There are certain areas of similarity between MO organisations in relation to facilities, student issues and other practices.

Congress further recognises

There are often challenges associated with addressing these issues, without comparative research to illustrate best practice in other Higher Education Institutions.

Congress believes

That the area of conducting and presenting research between MOs is a lengthy, challenging process requires fine-tuning to be most effective

Congress further believes

Comparative Research will be conducted and presented more efficient manner if this task is assigned to a designated member of Officer Board

Congress therefore mandates

That the President assigns the area of Comparative Research to a member of Officer Board, who shall coordinate Comparitive Research on behalf of USI and MO’s regarding best practice in key aspects of union operations.

 

UO20 National Council Decentralisation

Proposed by: Presidents’ WG

Congress notes

that National Council was concerned at the level of disaffection felt by some MO’s in regards to the centralisation of national council, and believed that this issue could have a negative effect constituting an emergency on the overall membership of USI.

Congress recognises

that the model of centralisation proposed at last year’s congress was meant to solve issues around MO’s travel time to and from remote areas.

Congress realises

that although a good idea, the practicalities and cost of hosting USI national councils in hotels in a truly centralised location is not a feasible option.

Congress notes

that the previous model of national council hosting was unfair to some colleges some of the time, whereas the new centralised structure was unfair to some colleges all of the time.

Congress acknowledges

that although we cannot return to the previous system, we must have an adequate solution that serves the interests of all members.

Congress Mandates

The President to ask MO’s to apply to host each individual National Council, with fair operation, ensuring that a full cycle of the four regions must be concluded before an MO from a previous host region may reapply.

Congress further mandates

that these applications to host must be circulated by the USI President to all MO Presidents. The USI President should then facilitate a binding vote on the applications.

 

UO21 STRATEGIC PLANNING

Proposed by: Presidents’ WG

Congress Notes:

The fundamental importance of multiannual institutional memory in establishing clarity of mission and executing long-term goals in organisations such as Students’ Unions with rapid turnover of both officers and individual members.

Congress Affirms:

The role of USI as a leader of the student movement both by example and through empowerment of member organisations.

Congress Therefore Mandates:

The President of USI to spearhead the composition of a multiannual Strategic Plan establishing the core purpose, long-term vision and subsequent deliverables of USI that is based upon feedback, suggestions and data garnered from individual students, sabbatical and part-time officers in MOs as well as current and past USI officers.

Congress Further Mandates:

The President of USI to devise a clear, high-quality strategic planning framework to facilitate the establishment of this practice in MOs where it does not exist and its improvement in MOs where it is already in place.

 

UO22 Regional Issues

Proposed by: UCCSU

 

Congress Notes:

That there is too few opportunities to discuss Regional Issues at National Council besides within a Working Group.

Congress Believes:

That regions can feel isolated due to USI being centered in Dublin, and regional Issues are not dealt with in time

Congress Further Believes:

That Regional Councils will promote and engage MOs further and be less costly for MOs.

Congress Mandates

The Southern Regional Officer to host quarterly regional councils within the region with the aim of submitting a report to council.

 

 

UO23 Part Time Officer Training

 

Proposed by: UCCSU

Congress Notes:

That often Part time training is held during times and locations which are inconvenient for Part time Officers due to Lectures and busy timetables within Term time.

Congress Believes :

That Part time training is essential for MOs and the National Movement.

Congress Further Believes:

That Part timers should be able to have equal access to training and resources.

Congress Mandates:

That the USI AAQA Officer and Regional Officers  host part-time training for part-time officers to be held within 2 weeks of the first semester when timetables are less hectic for part-timers or at a earlier date during the Summer.

 

UO24 The Provision of alternatives to the ASIST course.
Proposed by: DKITSU
Congress notes with regret:
The high number of suicides each year amongst young people in Ireland.

Congress also notes:
The difficulties faced by some MO’s to organise the ASIST course for a large number of student volunteers in one academic year. Taking into account the availability of the ASIST course facilitators.

Congress further notes:
The absolute necessity of the facilitation of training to equip students with the skills to intervene in a possible suicide if it arises.

Congress believes:
The more people who feel confident and willing to explore possible signs of suicide risk and provide support and help, the more lives could be saved.

Congress mandates:
The VP for Welfare to investigate the feasibility of promoting alternative “skills training to intervene in a possible suicide” facilitators for students in the case that there may be difficulties in organising more ASIST trainings on campus or locally for a high level of students.

 

UO25 Motion to change the SUSI representative

Proposed by: GMITSU

Congress Notes

That the responsibility for all financial student support casework and representation is assigned to the VP Welfare

Congress believes

That issues regarding SUSI are frequently brought up at education working group

Congress therefore mandates

That the VP AAQA acts as USI’s representative to SUSI and on issues relating to financial student supports


UO26 Casework Records

Proposed by: GMITSU

 

Congress notes

That Students’ Unions deal with a large amount of casework and different times of year see increases in different enquiries.

Congress Further Notes

That campaigns deliver maximum impact when delivered at the appropriate time.

Congress Mandates

The President to source data recording software that would allow SU officers to record anonymous data on the types of casework there are dealing with on a local and national level.

Congress Further Mandates

USI Officer Board to use this anonymous data to time campaigns for when and where they will be most effective and to share the data with relevant Students’ Unions.

UO27 3rd Party Providers

Proposed by: QUBSU

 

Congress notes:

The 11 Member Unions of NUS-USI from Further Education and Higher Education Institutions in the North.

Congress further notes:

That by virtue of the Tri-Lateral agreement that these members are also members of USI

Congress believes that:

While the majority of MOs and Officer Board are based in The South, no member should be disadvantaged because of the jurisdiction in which they are based.

Congress mandates:

USI Officer Board to ensure that wherever 3rd Party Services, Materials or Contact Information is provided to any MO that does not operate both North and  South of the Boarder that a viable alternative is provided for whichever part of the island that the organisation does not operate in.
UO28 Campaign to encourage participation in full time Students’ Union elections
Proposed by GMIT Students’ Union

Congress notes
The difficulty in getting students to engage with full time SU elections

Congress Further notes
The work already being done by MOs trying to increase participation

Congress applauds
The work being done with the ‘Women for Election’ campaign

Congress mandates
The VP for Campaigns to work with MOs in running a ‘ready-made’ campaign to encourage overall participation nationally but also be able be interpreted locally for individual MOs in full time elections and to equip them with the skills necessary to do so but also, to provide the support, aid and advice to MOs in preparing their own local election campaigns.

 

UO 29 USI Transparency and Engagement:

Proposed by Ents & Marketing working group

Congress notes:

The work of Officerboard goes mostly unnoticed by the wider student population.

Congress applauds:

Efforts made by Officerboard to increase transparency in its work over the past two years.

Congress mandates:

Officerboard to implement a weekly round-up of the work carried out during that week, which is to include policy and Manifesto updates, be distributed to Officers, and their Class Representatives.

UO 30 Utilising Student Expertise within the Union

Proposed by Ents & Marketing working group

Congress notes:

As an organisation representing over 356,000 students, USI has much considerable specialised work outsourced to external contractors, for example design and translations, ect.

Congress further notes:

That Ireland has one of the highest youth unemployment figures in the EU.

 

Congress Mandates:

Officerboard to seek to have this specialised work, particularly design and translation work, where practicable, contracted to members of the union to undertake.

UO 31 National Charity

Proposed by Ents & Marketing working group

Congress notes

The importance of USI and Member Organisations engaging with charities each year by contributing, and giving back to the wider community.

 

Congress commends

The efforts made by students to raise money, volunteer and raise awareness by means of RAG appeals and other campaigns.

 

Congress also notes

That the charity selection process for RAG appeals varies across Member Organisations.

Congress further notes

That due to USI being an overall body with no exclusive members separate to those within Member Organisations it can be difficult to raise money for the National Charity as the onus is left on the full time USI officers.

Congress mandates

That the Vice President for Welfare identify a number of charity themes to be presented with example charities at Congress each year to be voted on by congress with the intention that Member Organisations encourage their student body to nominate charities which fit within this theme so that an overall total can easily be compiled of monies raised across the country.

Congress further mandates

The Vice President for Welfare, to compile a briefing document for Member Organisations on best practices to propose a RAG charity in their own Unions which would include details on; how to propose a charity, how the voting will happen and who gets to vote so as to achieve as fair and transparent result each year. This is to be distributed not latter than the second National Council of the year.