These are the new policies proposed to USI Congress 2017 for adoption.  Where ‘strategies’ are referred to, these are linked in the document.

 

Table of Contents

Gaeilge

IL1       Support for Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland

Proposed by NUIGSU

Congress notes
The opportunity for an Irish language Act to be implemented in the North of Ireland.

Congress further notes
The positive impact having an Irish Language Act has had in the South of Ireland since it was passed in 2003.

Congress believes
That the Irish language should be supported legally by the government in the North as it is in the South. An Irish Language Act would increase funding for Gaelscoileanna, funding which would ensure the growth of the Irish language and would encourage learning Irish amongst the young people. Irish is a living language and should be treated as such.

Congress therefore mandates
That the USI President and An Leas-Uachtarán don Gaeilge to support any advancements made by the relative groups (notably An Dream Dearg) towards having an Irish Language Act in the North.

 

IL2       Irish Language Act

Molta ag an Leas Uachtarán don Ghaeilge

 

Aithníonn an Comhdháil

Na failí atá déanta ag an bhfeidhmeannas ó thuaidh i leith an tAcht Teanga a gealladh sa bhliain 2006 mar chuid de Chomhaontú Chill Rìmhinn i gceangailt B.

 

Cáineann an Chomhdáil

Na failí atá déanta ag an bhFeidhmeanas ó Thuaidh agus na céimeanna atá glactha ag roinnt dá mbaill seasamh a thógaint in aghaidh an teanga in ainneoin go bhfuil siad ag dul i gcoinne an méad atá ó mhóramh an phobail.

 

Sainordaíonn an Chomhdáil

Don Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge mar aon leis an gcuid eile den Bhord Oifigigh feachtasaíocht a dhéanamh ó Thuaidh le haghaidh Acht Teanga agus le dul i ngleic leis na failí atá déanta ag an bhFeidhmeanas i leith an tAcht Teanga a gealladh sa bhliain 2006 mar chuid de Chomhaontú Chill Rìmhinn i gceangailt B. Mar aon le comhoibriú le grupaí eile ar nós Conradh na Gaeilge agus an Dream Dearg leis an sprioc seo a bhaint amach.

Congress notes:

That the Executive did not fulfil the commitments made in Annex B of the St Andrews Agreements in 2006.

Congress condemns

That the commitments for a Language Act were not fulfilled and the steps taken by certain members of the executive to actively work against any furthering of the language, against the wishes of the majority of the population.

Congress mandates

The LU don Ghaeilge and Officer Board campaign for a language act in Northern Ireland working with groups like Conradh na Gaeilge and an Dream Dearg to ensure that the populations Language rights do not continue to be violated. Also to ensure that all of the commitments made  regarding the Irish Language in the St Andrews Agreement in 2006 are filled.

 

 

National Affairs

 

 

NA1     Amendment to Article 40.3.2 of Bunreacht na hEireann

This motion will require a 2/3rds majority to pass

Proposed by DCUSU

 

Congress notes

the effect of article 40.3.2 of Bunreacht na hEireann in the case of The Housing (Private Rented Dwellings) Bill referred under Article 26 to the Supreme Court that forbad the state from introducing rent controls.

Congress believes

that this article has had a negative and erroneous effect on public policy with regard to the right to safe and affordable housing in Ireland.

Congress therefore mandates as policy the position that

Article 40.3.2 of Bunreacht na hEireann should be amended in order to allow for a fairer and more equitable regulation of the rental market by the Oireachtas.

 

NA2 The Impact of Brexit both North and South

This motion will require a simple majority (50%+1) to pass.

Proposed by Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union

 

Congress recognises:
  • That on 23rd June 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the membership of the European Union.
  • That 56% of the electorate in Northern Ireland voted to Remain in that referendum.
  • That young people and students in particular voted overwhelmingly to Remain within the EU on 23rd June 2016, in Northern Ireland, and across the UK.
  • That, as a result, there exists a democratic deficit between the north of Ireland and other regions.
  • That due to this democratic deficit, there exists a possibility that the rights of students, and the values of the students’ movement in Northern Ireland, may be diminished, neglected or ignored during Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU.
  • That there will also be a number of worrying ramifications for the Republic of Ireland.
  • That there has already been a fall in the number of international students, particularly EU students, applying to study in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Congress is concerned that:
  • That withdrawal from the EU will have profound political, economic and social effects on our society, and on opportunities for students.
  • That hugely successful initiatives for student mobility such as the Erasmus+ scheme may be severely curtailed.
  • That the number of students who are from Northern Ireland and want to study in the Republic of Ireland, or vice versa, will reduce as a result of withdrawing from the EU.
  • That access to healthcare via the European Health Insurance Card will be under threat.
  • That the number of people from the Island of Ireland who want to access reproductive healthcare in Great Britain will now face additional barriers due to withdrawing from the EU.
  • That EU nationals, including students and academics, living in the UK may be used as ‘negotiating capital’ in Brexit negotiations and their ‘right to remain’ will be threatened.
  • That civic society in Northern Ireland, and the needs and interests of our society and citizens will be neglected during Brexit negotiations.
  • That issues of border control and immigration in Britain will have a profound impact on the Irish border, with freedom of movement curtailed, and trade on the island hampered.
Congress mandates:
  • The USI Officer Board to actively campaign to ensure that the rights and values of the student movement are not diminished or ignored, and are reflected and promoted, during Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU, and during any negotiation between Governments in London and Dublin.
  • These rights, opportunities and values include, but are not limited to:
    • Access to EU funding and participation in EU teaching, learning, travel and research programs.
    • Freedom of movement through Europe, especially for students and academics
    • Protection of Equality Legislation and the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement in Northern Ireland.
    • The ‘right to remain’ for EU nationals living in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK.
    • Retaining the Erasmus+ Scheme
    • Access to European Healthcare
    • Retention of the Common Travel Area, and the right to unhindered free movement, across the island of Ireland
    • The USI Officer Board to engage with NUS-USI, NUSUK, ESU, and with civic society, in order to develop clear and informed policy stances on the implications of Brexit.

 

NA3     Gambling Control Bill 2013

This motion will require a simple majority (50%+1) to pass

Proposed by Dublin Regional Committee

Congress notes:

That USI has a stance to campaign to educate its members on the prevalence of problem gambling for students.

Congress also notes:

That Ireland has one of the loosest regulations on gambling in Europe while the Gambling Control Bill 2013 hasn’t been acted on since it was first drafted.

Congress believes:

That with increase awareness of gambling and improvements in technology, that this bill must be passed to ensure that students and future generations are protected from gambling addiction.

Congress Mandates:

That the VP Welfare work with organisations such as Problem Gambling Ireland & the Rutland Centre to lobby the Minister for Justice, relevant Junior Ministers and Oireachtas members on introducing the Gambling Control Bill.

NA4     Car Insurance Campaign

This motion will require a simple majority (50%+1) to pass

Proposed by: USI Campaigns Committee

 

Congress Notes With Concern:

 

The cost of car insurance claims has increased by 44% from 2012 to 2015 while insurance costs have soared by more than 70% since June 2013.

 

Congress Acknowledges:

 

The increase of fees, rent, cost of college materials, transport and other costs on students have made attending third-level a financial difficulty.

 

Congress Further Acknowledges:

 

The Cost of Insurance Committee, Chairpersoned by Minister of State Eoghan Murphy TD, has published its report containing 33 recommendations comprising 71 actions with recommendations that implementation needs to be swift in order for these recommendations to be felt for consumers.

 

Congress Mandates:

 

The USI Vice President for Campaigns and USI Officer Board to ensure that disputes, negotiations and political lobbying is inclusive of the student perspective.

Congress Further Mandates:

 

The USI Vice President for Campaigns to join the external campaign led by taxi drivers, road hauliers, older people groups and sympathetic political parties to take action on car insurance increases.

 

 

 

Academic Affairs

 

AA1      Borrowing model of IOTs

Proposed by GMITSU

Congress notes

There is a huge crisis in relation to the current financial state of many IOTs across the country. IOTs are not allowed to borrow money in the such ways Universities can. According to recent reports in the media, currently there are six Institutes of Technology in a vulnerable state.

Congress further notes

This causes huge issues for IOTs regarding progress and helping to advance their status the same way Universities can. This can also come into effect as IOTs cannot borrow money to help with the accommodation crisis, and they cannot borrow money to build.

Congress therefore mandates

The USI President as a member of the HEA board to highlight with the HEA and lobby the government for IOTs to access additional funding the same way Universities can access it.

 

AA2      Fees Sanctions

Proposed by IT Blanchardstown Students’ Union

 

Congress Notes:
That many students are unable to pay their fees by the deadline put in place by each Third Level Institute.
Congress Further Notes:
That there is no best practice guidelines in place to deal with the issue of late fee payment of students.

Congress Further Notes:
That in an attempt to encourage to students to pay their fees, they can be locked out of online resources including moodle and emails.

Congress Further Notes:
That this is resulting in students becoming very distressed, as the sanctions put in place are having a direct negative impact on each of the students academics, as students are unable to access upload continues assessments or sit online exams.

Congress Mandates
The Students Union President to lobby the HEA to set up a Sub group to examine best practice guidelines in relation to sanctions for late fee payment.]

AA3      Refugee Access to Education

Proposed by IT Blanchardstown Students’ Union

Congress Notes:
That there is a refugee crisis occurring globally, with refuges seeking residency particularly in countries within the European Union

Congress Further notes:
That many of these refugees are seeking Third Level Education in Ireland.

Congress Further notes:
That to seek financial support through SUSI to attend College one must be a resident in Ireland for 3 out of 5 years.

Congress believes
That Education is crucial in integration to the communities and the development of the individual.

Congress further Believes
That it is unjust that refugees have this barrier put before them, in preventing them from accessing financial support from The Irish Government.

Congress Mandates
The VP for Equality and Citizenship and VP AA to campaign and lobby the department of Education and Skills and the Minister for Education to change legislation for grant access to apply to cases of refugees.

 

AA4 Shared Feedback Standards

Proposed by Academic Affairs Committee and Waterford Institute of Technology SU

 

Congress Notes:

Current assessment and feedback structures vary across all institutions. This results in highly varied teaching standards. Students are suffering as a result.

 

Congress Also Notes:

The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning have chosen “Assessment Of/For/As Learning ” as their most recent enhancement theme. It places a special focus on assessment in Irish higher education.

 

Congress Further Notes:

ISSE data collected since its initiation, which indicates  that first year students experience a low level of interaction with lecturing staff.

 

Congress Mandates:

VP AA to engage with the Department of Education, QQI and HEA to introduce shared standards for feedback on assessed work across all third level institutions that improves the students’ experience and develops quality of assessment across the country.

 

AA5      Class Rep Best Practice

Proposed by Academic Affairs Committee

 

Congress Notes:

Class reps are the backbone of a Students’ Union in terms of providing a student voice on institutional activities.

 

Congress Further Notes:

The role of Class Rep , their elections and their implementation operates differently in each individual Member Organisation.

 

Congress Mandates:
The VP Academic Affairs to coordinate a piece of research that establishes best practice across all third level HEIs in terms of electing, training and empowering Class Reps to perform their roles on a local level, bearing in mind the challenges posed by institution type and size.

 

AA6      Class Rep Accreditation

Proposed by Academic Affairs Committee

 

Congress Believes:

Class Representatives form the backbone of SU and institutional activities in terms of providing a representative student voice within an institution.

 

Congress Notes:

The role of class representatives is increasingly being recognised by the HEA and QQI, through national initiatives such as the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP).

 

Congress Further Notes:

Class Representatives involvement is crucial to the success of such programmes.

 

Congress Recognises:

Student time is becoming increasingly scarce due to the nature of semesterisation, and that therefore it is not always possible for them to fully and actively engage with programmes such as the NStEP, and the other functions associated with the role of a class representative.

 

Congress Therefore Mandates:

The USI VP Academic Affairs to work with the HEA and QQI to look into the feasibility of rolling out accreditation for the position of class representative, similarly to how standard modules are accredited.

 

 

AA7      Student Participation in Governance

Proposed by Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union

 

Congress:

Repeals 15 AAQA 8 and 14 AAQA 6

 

Congress notes:

That student participation in the academic governance of their institution is integral to ensuring that the perspective of the learner is embedded and reflected in decision-making.

Congress further notes:

Tertiary-level education is becoming increasingly marketised and competition-driven, with HEI Management engaged in strategic work around recruitment, marketing, and internationalisation. Students are increasingly denied a role in academic governance, creating a democratic deficit in our institutions.

Congress believes that:

Students and student representatives are partners in their education, and should have a key role to play in governance throughout structures in their institutions.

Congress recognises:

–              The experiences of MOs in student participation and institutional democracy is varied.

–              The work to date with NStEP on institutional analysis and academic representation.

–              The work to date with the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning on partnership.

Congress mandates the President and the VP Academic Affairs:

–              To carry out diagnostic work with MOs to get a broader picture of institutional democracy and student representation in governance structures.

–              To create resources around best practice examples of democratisation and decentralisation of institutional governance structures.

–              To work with individual MOs, as appropriate, to support efforts to improve student participation in academic governance.

 

AA8      The effects of IR issues

Proposed by WATERFORD INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS’ UNION

 

Congress notes:

That students may be used as a mechanism during industrial relations disputes within institutions.

 

Congress believes:

That the holding of exam results and student supports, particularly VLE, should not be used in disputes.

 

Congress notes:

The possibility of a national student charter.

 

Congress therefore mandates:

The VP for AA to investigate if it is feasible to include that exam results and that student supports including VLE, would not be affected by IR issues in any national student charter and in national policy.

 

AA9      Multi-campus support

Proposed by GMITSU

 

Congress notes

There are many colleges with multi-campuses. Multiple campuses are important in delivering education to regional communities.

Congress further notes

That in setting up multi-campuses there was additional funding provided. That funding has since stopped, giving no help to colleges to support the running of the many satailte campuses. This has resulted many colleges facing satellite campus closures, and high financial difficulty.

Congress therefore mandates

USI President and VP AA to put pressure on TDs and the HEA to support the fact that multi-campus’ need more support to sustain a comfortable financial state and security for the survival of these vital campuses within regional communities.

 

 

AA10    National Student Charter

Proposed by Presidents’ Committee

 

Congress notes

That there is currently no national Student Charter.

 

Congress further notes

That in institutions that have a Student Charter, it forms the backbone of the relationship the students’ union has with their institution and management.

 

Congress applauds

The work USI did in relation to students engagement and students as partners in higher education institutions, and believes that a National Student Charter is the next logical step for the work on student engagement to take.

 

Congress mandates

The USI President to lobby the Minister for Education and the HEA to form a Committee with the aim of developing a National Student Charter.

 

AA11    Motion on residency criteria for returning emigrants

Proposed by VP for Academic Affairs

 

Congress notes

That students who have not lived in Ireland or another EU member state for 3 of the last 5 years do not qualify for EU tuition fee levels or the student maintenance grant, regardless of their nationality and/or citizenship.

 

Congress regrets

That this policy has particularly affected the many young people who emigrated from Ireland during the economic crisis. Those who wish to return to Ireland to pursue higher education at both undergraduate and postgraduate level face significantly higher non-EU fee levels as a result of their residency in a non-EU state. In practice, this serves as an incentive to defer or reconsider repatriation.

Congress also regrets

That for a huge number of emigrants, emigration has not been a “lifestyle choice”. Hundreds of thousands of people have emigrated from Ireland over the past 10 years and many of whom did so under the obligation of a scarcity of opportunity.

Congress accordingly asserts

That it is unjust to penalise those Irish citizens who were forced by external circumstances to seek opportunities abroad. Moreover, the current policy is inconsistent with government strategy to incentivise the repatriation of those same emigrants.

Congress believes

That returning emigrants should be subject to less strict conditions of residency in order to quality for EU fee levels and student supports

Congress therefore mandates

Officer board to liaise with the Department of Education and the Higher Education Authority to pursue the implementation of less strict conditions of residency for these people.

 

 

Welfare

 

WEL1   SilverCloud Counselling

Proposed by NUIGSU

Congress notes
The correlation between counselling support and student retention.

Congress also notes
The high demand and insufficient resources of on-campus counselling services.

Congress further notes
The successful and positive feedback of SilverCloud Counselling.

Congress mandates
The Vice President for Welfare to undergo a feasibility study as whether SilverCloud Counselling could be made available to all Universities and Institutes of technology as an additional support service to students.

 

WEL2   Legislative change to protect students living in Digs style accommodation

Proposed by GMITSU

 

 

Congress recognises

That appropriate accommodation in Ireland for the student population is extremely low.

Congress further recognises

That digs style accommodation has become the accommodation that student now rely on more due to this fact. It has become increasingly alarming that students who rent Digs Accommodation do not have the same right as renting from a private house/ landlord.

Congress therefore mandates

The Vice President for welfare to set up a committee to lobby the government for protection of a tenants rights to be carried out for digs accommodation

 

WEL3   Mental Health Explanation Campaign

Proposed by GMITSU

 

Congress notes

There is a difference between mental illness and mental health

Congress further notes

The differences are not explained correctly in society. This causes massive confusion for anyone suffering with their mental health. It also does not explain the difference between positive and negative emotions people may face.

Congress therefore mandates

The Vice President for welfare to create a new campaign in conjunction with the relevant organisations, solely around explaining the difference between mental health and mental illness. This campaign, would study the various areas of under the heading Mental Health, both positive and negative.

 

WEL4   Rental Restrictions for HEI Owned Campus Accommodations’

Proposed by DCUSU

Congress notes

the impact the housing and rental crises is having on students participating in higher education.

Congress further notes

that a number of HEI’s own and operate on-campus accommodation services for their respective students, through companies established and owned by the HEI’s.

Congress further notes

that student renters using these accommodation services have not benefited from rental restriction measures introduced between 2014-2016 under varying amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2016, mainly due to the type of rental agreements these services utilise.

Congress believes that

it is important that such accommodation is accessible for all types of students participating in higher education and that HEI’s should not be allowed use the rental crises to plunder the pockets of student renters.

Congress therefore mandates

The USI President to seek the HEA to issue guidelines to see that similar rental restriction measures are introduced for HEI owned student accommodation.

 

WEL5   Consent classes

Proposed by Welfare Committee

Congress notes:

The importance of educating our members around sexual health particularly around consent.

 

Congress further notes:

That USI has worked closely with organisations like DRCC, Smart Consent and ICOS in raising awareness around consent, domestic violence and sexual assault through campaigns, training and lobbying efforts.

Congress applauds:

The work that USI has done in relation to the above in pioneering and spearheading national campaigns and the dialogue around consent and sexual health.

Congress believes:

That USI should assist local Officers in creating policies locally in their Institutions to implement consent workshops in order to educate their members and continue the dialogue surrounding consent.

Congress mandates:

The VP for Equality and Citizenship and VP for Welfare to conduct research and design, with the assistance of external expert bodies, a national student-focused consent workshop based on recommendations from the 2016 Trinity consent workshops.

 

Congress further mandates:

The VP for Equality and Citizenship and VP for Welfare carry out ‘train the trainer’ consent courses for Officers in order to educate them on implementing inclusive consent courses for their students.

 

 

WEL6   Gambling Control Bill 2013

Proposed by Welfare Committee and Dublin Area Regional Committee

 

Congress notes:

That USI has a stance to campaign to educate its members on the prevalence of problem gambling for students.

 

Congress also notes:

That Ireland has one of the loosest regulations on gambling in Europe while the Gambling Control Bill 2013 hasn’t been acted on since it was first drafted.

 

Congress believes:

That with increase awareness of gambling and improvements in technology, that this bill must be passed to ensure that students and future generations are protected from gambling addiction.

 

Congress Mandates:

That the VP Welfare work with organisations such as Problem Gambling Ireland & the Rutland Centre to lobby the Minister for Justice, relevant Junior Ministers and Oireachtas members on introducing the Gambling Control Bill.

 

WEL7   Training for Officers dealing with students with mental illness or disability

Proposed by Welfare Committee

 

Congress Notes:

That MOS should be trained in basic awareness in how to deal with difficult situation if they arose and how to refer them on and how to refer the students to the proper services

Congress Believe:

That MOS are not equipped with the basic skill on how to deal and refer people who might have a mental illness, a Disability or a medical condition.

Congress Further Believes:

That if MOS are equipped with the basic skill it will help the student receive help from the right services as quick as possible.

Congress Mandates:

The Vice President for Welfare to organise training for MOs in the basic skills for dealing with a student with a mental illness, a Disability or a Medical Condition if a difficult situation arose and which are the proper services to which to refer students.

WEL8   Accommodation Strategy

Proposed by the VP for Welfare

 

Congress Notes:

That the accommodation strategy was passed in Congress 2016.

Congress also Notes:

That the accommodation strategy must be edited due to legislative changes.

Congress Mandates:

The adoption of the USI accommodation strategy with the included edits.

 

WEL9   Public Health ( Alcohol ) Bill

Proposed by the VP for Welfare

 

Congress notes:

That USI officially dis-assiocated from Drinkaware.ie in November 2013

Congress also notes:

That the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is currently being discussed in the Dáil and is currently being lobbied against by the drinks industry which is successfully stalling the introduction of the Bill in full.

Congress Believes:

That the Public Health ( Alcohol ) Bill must be introduced in its current full form to protect future generations and save lives.

Congress Mandates:

The USI President with assistance of the VP Welfare to lobby the government to support and  introduce the bill.

 

WEL 10            USI Health Promoting Strategy:

Proposed by the VP Welfare

Congress notes:

11/WEL 4 mandating the creation of a strategy document in the main areas of work for the VP Welfare.

Congress applauds:

The creation of the USI Health Promoting Strategy which encompasses the following strategies:

  •      Mental Health Strategy
  •      Sexual Health Strategy
  •      Physical Health Strategy
  •      Healthy Eating Strategy
  •      Body Confidence Strategy
  •      Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy
  •      Drugs Harm Reduction Strategy
  •      Smoking Cessation Strategy
  •      Gambling Awareness Strategy

 

Congress recognises:

The importance of having a streamlined strategy

Congress therefore incorporates the following motions into the Strategy, which has been published accordingly:

Health:

16/wel 14

16/wel 13

16/wel 12

16 wel11

16 wel 1

  •      15/Wel 13
  •      14/wel 4
  •      14/wel 5
  •      14/wel 6
  •      14/wel 8
  •      14/wel 16
  •      13/wel 1
  •      13/wel 2
  •      12/wel 7
  •      13/wel 11
  •      13/wel 13
  •      12/wel 7
  •      11/wel 5

Sexual Health:

  •      15/wel 9
  •      14/wel 11
  •      13/wel 3
  •      12/wel 3
  •      11/wel6
  •      11/wel 7
  •      10/wel 7
  •      9/wel 1
  •      9/wel 9
Congress mandates

The VP Welfare to follow the above-created USI Health Promoting Strategy with a review every 3 years.

WEL11 Student Accommodation Strategy

Proposed by the VP Welfare

Withdrawn.

 

WEL12 Health Promotion Strategy

Proposed by the VP Welfare

Withdrawn.

 

WEL13             Student Survey on Perceptions of Consent

Proposed by Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union

 

Congress notes

that a ‘Say Something’ Survey was carried out in 2013, to research the instances of unwanted sexual contact and levels of reporting, but not the perception and culture of consent and sexual misconduct.

Congress also notes

that in the last 3+ years since the survey was carried out, the topic of consent and sexual misconduct within Educational institutions has become a larger topic of conversation for more institutions than ever.

Congress believes

that to truly tackle the issue of sexual misconduct, culture and social norms must be changed.

Congress believes

that this survey, if repeated at a later date, will allow USI, MO’s and the wider community to evaluate campaigns, policies and strategies that they may have implemented and evaluate whether these have worked in changing social perceptions and norms.

Congress believes

that this research will better shape campaigns on the topic of consent and allow for MO’s to lobby institutions (if required) on the Implementation of consent classes, policies and strategies.

Congress mandates

the VP Welfare and the VP Equality and Citizenship to investigate the feasibility of such a survey.

 

WEL14             Age Threshold for Cervical Cancer Checks

Proposed by IT Tralee Students’ Union

 

Congress Notes

 

The Cervical Check Ireland provides free Smear tests to women over 25 years of age.

Congress Notes With Concern:

The lack of services available to students under the age of 25 with concerns and the time it takes to get appropriate treatment.

Congress Therefore Mandates:

The VP Welfare to lobby the appropriate bodies to campaign on lowering the initial age of smear screenings.

Congress Also Mandates:

The VP Welfare to provide un-biased information on the HPV Vaccine and its availability.

Congress Therefore Repeals:

10 WEL 6      CERVICAL CANCER

 

WEL15             Self Care

Proposed by IT Tralee Students’ Union

 

Congress notes:

That self-care is an important aspect of sabbatical officers’ day to day work. Self-care grants officers the opportunity to effectively deal with the variety of student issues they deal with on a continuous basis.

 

Congress notes with concern:

That self-care has not been prioritised nor developed for sabbatical officers. Self-care training needs to be more effective so that sabbatical officers can deal with their work and allow them assist students knowing they are sufficiently trained.

 

Congress mandates:

The VP for Welfare to provide training to Sabbatical Officers so they can effectively use self-care and/or reflection to more effectively deal with issues that may affect their own health.

 

Congress also mandates:

VP for each region to provide Self Care training in their own areas for access purposes and also to allow colleges avail of this critical training.

 

WEL16             Student Assistant Fund & SUSI Recipients

Proposed by Equality & Citizenship Committee

 

Congress notes:

The purpose of the Student Assistance Fund is to provide support to fulltime students who may be experiencing extreme financial difficulties, have experienced a major change of circumstances or are experiencing extreme personal hardship

Congress further notes:

In some third level institutions in Ireland the Student Assistance Fund application process is closed to those who are in receipt of SUSI.

Congress mandates:

VP Equality & Citizenship to work towards the Student Assistance Fund being accessible to all students regardless of whether they are in receipt of SUSI or not across Institutes in Ireland.

WEL17             Key Welfare Campaigns Directory

Proposed by the Southern Area Regional Committee

 

Congress Notes

 

The previous campaign directories designed and distributed by previous officers to aid MO’s in planning key Welfare Campaigns throughout the year.

Congress also Notes

 

The time and coordination it takes to organise campaigns which can sometimes be daunting if they are new to their role.

Congress Applauds

 

The work done previously by welfare officers in this area.

Congress therefore mandates

 

The VP Welfare and VP Campaigns to collate a campaign directory to be distributed to welfare officers with poster and event ideas in the style of previous years.

This is to be completed for the 2nd national council of the SU year

WEL18             PrEP Availability in Ireland

Proposed by the Equality and Citizenship Committee

 

Congress Notes:

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an important tool in reducing the rate of HIV infections and that PrEP is not currently available in Ireland. PrEP, is a safe and highly effective way for HIV-negative people to prevent HIV.

 

Congress also notes:

PrEP is recommended as a prevention option for people at substantial risk of HIV by the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and UNAIDS.

 

Congress further notes:

HIV diagnoses are increasing in Ireland, but PrEP offers a way to prevent new transmissions. Condoms have been our main HIV prevention method for 30 years. While they have been very successful, they have not been enough to stop HIV alone. In 2016 the number of new HIV diagnoses in Ireland was the highest ever recorded. New options like PrEP won’t replace condoms and other risk-reduction approaches, but will be additional tools to help meet the wide range of needs in the real world.

 

Congress mandates:

The VP Equality and Citzenship campaign for the acessible introduction of PrEP in Ireland, and work with advocacy organisations already working in the area, eg. ACT UP Dublin.

 

Congress also mandates:

The VP Welfare to lobby the HSE and to seek availability of PrEP in Ireland as part of the National Sexual Health Strategy moving forward.

 

 

WEL19             Combating Cyberbullying in Third Level

Proposed by VP Southern Region

Congress Notes

The detrimental effect cyberbullying and online abuse can have on a person and their everyday lives.

Congress Notes with Concern

The increasing amount of time we spend living our lives online, and how easily students may be attacked online anonymously or otherwise and to have information shared about them without their permission.

Congress Also Notes with Concern

The rising number of incidents in relation to revenge porn online and the lack of regulation around the issue.

Congress therefore mandates

USI to adopt a new updated version of the USI Cyberbullying policy which reflects current social media trends.

Congress therefore also mandates

The current USI Cyberbullying policy to be repealed in place of the new Cyberbullying policy.

 

WEL20             Road Safety

Proposed by VP Southern Region

 

Congress Notes

 

Previous collaborations with the Road Safety Authority to create awareness of safe driving on our roads.

Congress Notes with Concern

 

the rate of fatal accidents among young drivers, and the dangers of driving witnessed in the Southern Region.

Congress Also Notes

 

The importance of raising awareness of road safety to students of which many rely on to get to and from college.

Congress Therefore Mandates

 

The VP Welfare to look into collaborating with organisations such as the Road Safety Authority in promoting Road Safety to students.

 

WEL21             Student Bereavement Support

Proposed by VP Southern Region

Congress Notes

As a result of the autonomous nature of policy making each HEI will have a different approach with how to deal with bereavement.

Congress  therefore Observes

The creation of bereavement policies within each HEI.

Congress Welcomes

The structure that they provide on how each institute handles the death of a student or the death of a student’s guardian/friend.

Congress Notes

That the Students’ Union is often a source of comfort, familiarity and support to students who have suffered a bereavement.

Congress Believes

It would be beneficial for all MOs to have a uniformed bereavement policy to assist the Students’ Union with a bereavement of a student or a student’s next-of-kin.

Congress therefore Mandates

The VP for Welfare to find out the best practice of MOs regarding their individual bereavement policies and come up with a uniformed policy for MOs to use in the case of a bereavement.

Congress also Mandates

The VP for Welfare to also provide self care information for officers who have to deal with bereavement within their line of work.

Congress therefore Repeals

14 Wel 8 to be replaced by Student Bereavement Supports.

 

WEL22             Dealing with students in distress

Proposed by the Border, Midlands and Western Regional Committee

Congress Notes:

Student’s mental health issues are prevalent from the beginning of a Sabbatical officer’s term

Congress Believes:

Although basic Mental Health Training is offered at SUT, Sabbatical Officers need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to assist students during times of distress from the start of the welfare officers elected term.

Congress Mandates:

The USI Vice President for Welfare to organise comprehensive and practical training at SUT to ensure Sabbatical Officers are capable of dealing with students in distress from the early stages of the officer’s term.

Congress Repeals:

16 WEL 19

 

 

 

WEL23 Social Inclusion Campaign

Proposed by WATERFORD INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS’ UNION

 

Congress notes:

Isolation and loneliness are two issues that affect many students across all institutions in Ireland.

Congress acknowledges:

AITSU ‘Mind Your Mates’ campaign and WATERFORD INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS’ UNION ‘Be Their Buddy’ campaign as being a successful social inclusion initiative in their campuses respectively.

Congress mandates:

VP Welfare to run a social inclusion campaign where students are encouraged to support each other at the most basic level of interaction.

Within this campaign, information on appropriate referral services is to be included so students are aware of pathways if an issue is disclosed.

 

WEL24             Increase the Legal Age of Gambling to 21

Proposed by NUIGSU

Congress recognizes
Both the negative financial implications of gambling and also its addictive nature.

Congress notes
The large cohort of students who receive grants and financial aid.

Congress further notes
The link between financial pressures and retention rates within colleges.

Congress therefore mandates
The President and the Vice President for Welfare to lobby that the legal age of gambling is raised to 21 in Ireland, as a means of protecting young people from the negative financial implications of gambling.

 

WEL25             Additional Opportunities Available to Post Second Level

Proposed by NUIGSU

Congress notes
The pressure placed on Second Level students to gain entry into University and Institutes of Technology.

Congress further notes
The level of drop-out rates amongst first year students at Third Level.

Congress believes
A lack of career guidance and pressure to have to achieve Third Level contribute to these drop-out rates.

Congress mandates
The Vice President for Campaigns to liaise with the Second Level Students’ Unions and relevant bodies to run a campaign to emphasize the valuable opportunities available from postponing Third Level education, by means of sampling the world these institutes try to prepare people for.

 

WEL26             Personal Safety Campaign during Freshers’ Week

Proposed by Dublin Institute of Technology SU

Congress notes:

Every September vast amount of students enter college for the first time, and find it difficult to transition from secondary to third level educational life.

 

Congress further notes:

That many students travel or commute/move to dif/bigger counties/cities and are not familiar with the surroundings of their new college.

 

Congress notes with concern:

Students are most vulnerable during freshers week, as they are exposed to new independence and environments, such as nightlife etc.

 

Congress notes with great concern:

That there is a lack of active promotion around personal safety for students.

 

Congress therefore mandates:

USI Welfare Officer, to research and develop a personal safety campaign, during freshers’ weeks’, that can be implemented into all universities and IOT’s across the country.

 

 

WEL27             Drug Testing Kits: Awareness and Promotion
Proposed by Dublin Institute of Technology SU

Congress notes:
Many third level students partake in recreational drug use.

Congress further notes:
That students are not exposed to the necessary information or tools/apparatus needed to make informed choices about drug usage.

Congress notes with concern:
That lack of information/ apparatus around drug safety and fear mongering with students is resulting in misinformation and putting students at risk. This is why the promotion and education of drug testing kits is beneficial to all students across the country

Congress mandates:
VP Welfare, to circulate information around drug testing kits and look into the feasibility of selling them or making them available via the students union.

Congress further mandates;
VP welfare to provide a workshop to other su welfare officers about how to use the drug testing kits. So they can go back to their colleges and implement the educational message around safe drug use and using drug testing kits.
 

WEL 28            Stim Room for ASD students

Proposed by Dublin Institute of Technology SU

 

Congress notes:

That some students find it hard to concentrate and integrate into the student body during lectures and exams due to environmental sensitivity, such as florescent lighting, overcrowding, heat temperature and distracting sounds.

 

Congress further notes:

That students internationally with conditions such as ASD (autism spectrum disorder) have benefited from stim rooms, which is a low cost resource that can be easily implemented into universities and institutes across the country.

 

Congress mandates:

VP Equality & Citizenship to run a pilot project with a university or IOT of their choice, with a diverse student body for example students from DEAR schemes etc. for investigate the feasibility of implementing this across all colleges in the country.

 

 

 

Accounting and Finance

 

AF1      USI Financial Transparency

Proposed by the VP for the Border, Midlands and Western Region

Congress believes

That having clear and accessible transparency for the Union of Students in Ireland will strengthen the organisation and also allow students engage more functionally and effectively.

Congress Believes:

That members have a right to have easy access to such documents.

Congress therefore mandates:

The USI President to ensure that financial accounts are uploaded to the USI Website no more than 5 working days after being approved by Congress each year.

Congress Deletes:

15 AF1

 

 

Union Organisation


UO1     Students in Distress training for Education Officers
Proposed by NUIGSU

Congress notes
The large amount of casework that both Welfare and Education Officers endure.

Congress also notes
That often Education Officers have to cater to students in distress, despite not having the relevant training.

Congress therefore mandates
The Vice President for Welfare to ensure sufficient training is provided to Education Officers as a means of catering to students in distress.

 

UO1     Comms   specific training

Proposed by TCDSU

 

Congress Notes
that the Communications training at USI events is limited and often very introductory.

Congress mandates
USI Officerboard to hire trainers for specific communications training to be given to relevant officers at SUT or over the summer period.

 

UO2     USI on campus

Proposed by TCDSU

Congress notes

that students should have the opportunity to see more of what USI is doing for them.

Congress further notes:

that this helps MO engagement when they can see that their officers are working on national issues with USI.

Congress mandates

that USI distributes information (via poster campaigns, social media and shoutouts) to every campus once a term with MOs to give them a national update and tell them which projects they have been doing with that MO during the year.

 

UO3     Secretary for standing committees and action points

Proposed by TCDSU

Congress Notes

that fluent discussion can come from standing committees of National Council.

Congress mandates

USI Officerboard to ensure that as part of standing orders for Committees, a secretary should be elected to take minutes and action points are created from these minutes, which track the work of these committees in an effective manner.

UO4     Election Training

Proposed by GMITSU

Congress acknowledges

That each Students’ Union would hold elections to elect their full-time sabbatical officers.

Congress further acknowledges

That it can be difficult to get the correct information and know exactly how to run a successful campaign. It is important that students who put themselves in an election that they feel they know how to run an election.

Congress therefore mandates

USI Officerboard to run a training event, which offers advice on how to run a successful election campaign. This may include the correct messaging, manifesto writing, speech training, debate training, managing a team, getting the right campaign manager, and so on.

UO5     Approaching Further Education Colleges at a Regional level

Proposed by Carlow College Students’ Union

Congress Notes

Further Education Colleges can join USI once they have the correct structures for student government in place.

Congress believes

USI can reach out to FE’s and help them create these structures for student government.

Congress therefore mandates

Regional Officers approach 2 FE’s in their region per term.

 

UO6 Protection of Students’ Union Autonomy

Proposed by DCUSU

Congress notes with the concern

the attack on students’ union’s autonomy by HEI’s over the past year.

 

Congress believes

that students’ unions must be autonomous in order to represent the best interests of their membership and that attacks to undermine them are harmful to the respective student bodies and to the shared-governance model of HEI’s as enshrined in the Universities Act 1997 and the Institute of Technology Act 2006

 

Congress therefore mandates

the President, in consultation with National Council, to lobby for an amendment to the aforementioned Acts that ensures that HEI Executives and or Governing Bodies cannot use their powers to undermine the autonomy of students’ unions.

 

UO7     USI Entertainments   Agency

Proposed by IT Tralee Students’ Union

 

Congress Recognises:

 

The opportunity for USI to develop an Entertainment   agency. This agency would aim to provide MO’s with access to book acts, collaborate on events, cost share on acts/events and provide cost saving options for merchandise and event marketing options.

Congress Mandates:

The USI President to develop an Entertainments   agency.

UO8     Regional planning days

Proposed by the Dublin Regional Committee

 

Congress Notes:

That the work of the Regional Officers is paramount in supporting and communicating the goals and objectives of the Union of Students in Ireland.

Congress Believes:

That to continue successes of USI and to continue great communication, that USI should co-ordinate Regional planning days to allow USI be more connected to the problems,issues and spirit of MOs.

Congress mandates:

The Regional Officers to coordinate regional planning days with the Region to set the priorities of the year for USI but also for Member Organisations.

 

 

 

UO9     Trans* Training for Officers

Proposed by the Institute of Art, Design and Technology Students’ Union

 

Congress notes:

Officers may be unaware of the inequalities faced by trans* students whom they represent. It is often the case that officers are unsure how to best support their trans* students.

 

Congress further notes:

Educating officers can often fall to students who identify within the trans* community which can be a strain on them.

Congress applauds:

The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship recent efforts to open Pink Training to higher numbers of Students’ Union officers as allies and mentors.

Congress therefore mandates:

The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship to organise trans* awareness training in partnership with relevant professional advocacy groups (for eg TENI and BelongTo) for SU sabbatical officers to be provided before September of each year.

 

UO10   Employability & Personal Skills Development

Proposed by the Southern Area Regional Committee

Congress believes:

That upskilling is important alongside students’ degrees to improve employability upon graduation, in securing part-time work to fund their education and to develop their own personal skills.

Congress notes:

The Upskill Week run by WATERFORD INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS’ UNION which was then followed by similar campaigns & workshops in ITTSU and NUIGSU.

Congress also notes:

The on-going upskilling opportunities that institutions and SUs offer throughout the year. This includes first aid training, bar training, barista training, Safe talk training, CV workshops, Volunteering opportunities, Interview skills, restorative practices, self defence etc.

Congress therefore mandates:

Regional officers to create a list of resources and contacts for MOs undertaking the campaign or running workshops.

 

 

UO11   USI Policy book transparency

Proposed by the VP for the Border, Midlands and Western Region

Congress Believes:

The USI Policy Book is essential in directing the work of USI and Officerboard.

Congress notes with concern:

That it is not always clear what motions have been completed.

Congress therefore mandates:

The USI President to ensure an up to date Policy Book is made available online with a clear indication of mandates complete, mandates ongoing and mandates not complete.

Congress also mandates:

Members of Officerboard to give updates on mandates complete in their officer reports to National Council.

UO12   Utilising National Council

Proposed by the Border, Midlands and Western Regional Committee

Congress Notes:

The importance of National Council in steering the work of USI and deciding interim policy.

Congress Believes:

That National Council is best utilised with contributions from every Member Organisation.

Congress Mandates:

The USI president to organise training at SUT for Sabbatical Officers on how to interact with National Council.

 

UO13   Student Engagement with TDs

Proposed by the Border, Midlands and Western Regional Committee

Congress notes:

Both the importance and the current shortfall in a desired level of student engagement with TDs.

Congress Mandates:

The Regional Officers and Vice President for Campaigns to organise in conjunction with relevant MOs a Questions & Answers forum where students can question TDs on topics nominated by the local MO.

UO14   The Governance Code

Proposed by: The USI Vice President for Campaigns

 

Congress Notes:

 

The Governance Code is a resource to assist community, voluntary and charity (CVC) organisations develop their overall capacity in terms of how they run their organisation and places a greater emphasis on values, accountability, transparency, probity, maintaining control, leadership and the diversity of opinions and skills.

 

Congress Further Notes:

The increasing need for better governance within organisations for the purpose of board function and for funding opportunities and development of the Union.

 

Congress Applauds:

USI committing to compliance with the Governance Code and registering as being ‘On The Journey’ in efforts to become accountable, transparent and better governed.

 

Congress Mandates:

The USI President, as CEO of the Union, to commit to complying with the Governance Code and to report to the membership of National Council on the progress of this journey at every National Council.

 

UO15   Marketing Skills Training

Proposed by Entertainment Committee

 

Congress Notes:

 

The need for officers in National Council to have skills to be capable of using design, knowledge of design, branding, marketing and other communications strategic planning.

 

Congress Further Notes:

 

The facilities available to provide software and spaces for formalised training and the skills available from students who could provide this type of training.

 

Congress Mandates:

 

The Chairperson of the Entertainments   Committee to hold training on design, branding and digital media before September every year.

 

UO16   USI and Member Organisations Entertainments Collaboration

Proposed by Entertainment   Committee

 

Congress notes:

That the Entertainments   Committee is under-utilised as a forum for USI and MO’s to collaborate on events such as Freshers Week, RAG Week etc.

Congress further recognises:

The difficulty MO’s can have when organising events and negotiating with entertainment companies to book acts, negotiate fees and riders and organise theme night events. Entertainment companies can take advantage of MO’s in early negotiations  non-negotiable fees into etc.

Congress recognises:

The potential for greater collaboration between USI and MO’s to book acts collectively which can reduce total event costs.

Congress Mandates:

The Chairperson of Entertainments   Committee to present a draft a list of MO events and campaigns before SUT+.

Congress further mandates:

The Chairperson of Entertainments   Committee to develop and share costings for acts, event hire agencies and merchandise etc for their events on/off campus for the Committee

 

UO17   Ents Committee Reform

Proposed by Entertainments  Committee

 

Congress Notes:

 

That the Ents   Committee has experienced low turnout.

 

Congress Mandates:

 

That the Chairperson of the Ents   Group conducts a survey of former and current marketing and ents officers, including officers who may have a brief including Ents  , to see what they would like the Ents   Committee to be.

 

Congress Further Mandates:

 

The Chairperson of the Ents   Group to compile the results of this survey into a terms of reference document, to be passed by National Council in June.

 

UO18   Early Education and Carers Campaign

Proposed by: USI Campaigns Committee

 

Congress Notes:

 

Early years workers and providers are dedicated and passionate about delivering a quality service that focuses on the needs of children and realising their full potential. Workers are paid too little and are struggling to make ends meet. The cost of Early Years services in Ireland are among the highest in Europe, an average of over €750 per child per month. However most early years educators are earning less than the living wage.

 

Congress Applauds:

 

The ‘Big Start’ campaign led by SIPTU and the efforts to build a coalition of organisations and groups on the issue and the involvement of USI in this coalition.

 

Congress Acknowledges:

 

A lack of State investment where Ireland spends only 25% of the European average investment in early years services. Lack of empirical evidence to show that early education and carers students and graduates are looking for recognition of the sector and a living wage and if other issues exist.

 

Congress Mandates:

 

The USI Vice President for Campaigns and USI Officer Board to work with the relevant trade unions, and other organisations, to assess the issues that may exist and to further mobilise students on a campaign on the issues of: pay, work, and recognition of the sector.

 

Congress Also Mandates:

 

The USI Vice President for Campaigns and USI Officer Board to ensure that disputes, negotiations and political lobbying is inclusive of the student perspective.

 

 

UO19   Policies and Submissions Made Widely Available

Proposed by: USI Campaigns Committee

 

Congress Notes:

 

The work done by USI Officerboard in creating policy, reports, strategies and submissions on behlaf of students

 

Congress Acknowledges:

 

That these policies, reports, stratgies and submisisons could be used by the media, researchers, students’ unions and other stakeholders in their own policies and submissions.

 

Congress Mandates:

That the USI President should ensure that policies, reports, strategies and submissions which are not subject to confidentiality are made available on the USI website in an easily accessible manner.

 

 

UO20   Entertainment  Committees at National Council

Proposed by IT Carlow SU

 

Congress notes

There are many entertainment officers in Students’ Unions and officers who take responsibility for entertainment in their MO around the country

 

Congress notes with concern

That there is not always a suitable forum for entertainment officers and other officers who take responsibility for entertainments to discuss experiences and gain support from other entertainment officers.

 

Congress therefore mandates

The USI Preident to ensure that a meeting of the Entertainments committee takes place at minimum at every second National Council.

 

UO21   Independent Students’ Unions

Proposed by Presidents’ Committee

Congress notes with concern

The creeping intrusion on students’ union democracy and independence occurring around the country.

 

Congress believes

The backbone of the student movement is for students’ unions to be allowed to democratically self-govern, and to be free from interference by outside bodies.

 

Congress further notes with concern

The attempts to censor some students’ unions, and encroach on their freedom of association.

 

Congress mandates

The President to have the Independent Students’ Union campaign as a priority campaign for the year, and to form a Committee, made up of the President and members of national council, and any external bodies that National Council see fit. This Committee is to report back to each National Council.

 

Congress further mandates

The President to undertake an annual dossier of the current situation within individual students’ unions, so as to keep a national record of developments and changes as they occur. This dossier is to occur no later than September 30th to allow for adequate time to analyse and respond to issues as they arise. The information provided within the dossier is to be kept confidential, and is only to be used as part of the Independent Students’ Union campaign.

 

Congress further mandates

The President to seek legal counsel in relation to proposing changes to Irish legislation to protect students’ union independence, and to report findings and recommendations back to both National Council and the Independent Students’ Union Committee.

UO22   Presidents’ Training  Day

Proposed by Presidents’ Committee

 

Congress repeals

UO 25

 

Congress Notes

Many students’ union presidents do not have in-depth managerial, financial or HR training prior to entering into their role.

 

Congress further notes

That SUT and SUT+ are already jam-packed with modules, and that there isn’t enough time to provide adequate training in a number of areas relevant to the role of the president of an SU. These areas include, but are not limited to, HR, management, budgeting and finances.

 

Congress recognises

The USI Training Policy, and the methodology within it of assessing the needs of a group before providing training, and seeks to uphold this policy when ascertaining the additional training to be provided under the remit of this mandate.

 

Congress mandates

In line with the USI Training Policy, the USI President to undertake facilitate a daylong training day- “Pres Day”- where training will be provided in essential managerial areas as needed through assessing the needs of the SU presidents. This Day is to occur no later than August 30th in any given year.

 

UO23 TU Bill Merging of Student Unions

Proposed by Dublin Institute of Technology Students’ Union

Congress Notes:

The introduction of the TU Bill in Ireland may cause the need for individual SUs to merge into one larger students’ union.

Congress further notes:

That this is an opportunity for the USI to play a pivotal role in the creation of a new type of Students’ Union.

Congress mandates:

The President of USI to work with merging Students’ unions, to assist them with the formation of a Technological University Students’ Union.

Congress further mandates:

The President of USI to give monthly updates to USI National Council on the progress regarding the merging of Technological University Student’ Unions.

This motion shall be completed by September 2017.

 

 

International Affairs

 

IA1       Protection of J1 Visa Program

This motion will require a simple majority (50%+1) to pass

Proposed by DCUSU

 

 

Congress notes with deep concern

the policy effects of the selection of Donald Trump by the Electoral College of the United States to be their 45th President.

 

Congress in particular notes

that Mr. Trump had indicated that he would seek to repeal the J-1 Visa programme and the impact this would have on Irish students who seek to participate in the program.

 

Congress believes

that this program has been beneficial for positive relations between the United States and Ireland and a deeper sharing of the historical relationship between Ireland and the United States.

 

Congress therefore mandates

the President to lobby the Irish Government to make the preservation and continuation of this program a diplomatic priority in their engagement with the United States.

 

 

 

Constitutional Amendments

 

CA1      Creating a Vice President for Postgraduate Affairs

Proposed by DCUSU

 

 

  • Introduction of “The Vice-President for Postgraduate Affairs” to Article 1.
  • Introduction to Article 5 of the following: “
    • The Vice-President for Postgraduate Affairs

 

  • The Vice-President for Postgraduate Affairs (hereinafter to be referred to as the VP/Postgraduate Affairs) shall have special responsibility for the Union’s work on academic policy and quality assurance for students at level nine and upwards on the National Qualifications
  • The VP/Postgraduate Affairs shall be responsible for policy and research on postgraduate

issues and shall assist the VP/Campaigns in relation to campaigns on Postgraduate issues.

  • The VP/Postgraduate Affairs shall sit on the Academic Affairs & Quality Assurance Committee and shall assist in supporting member organisations with regard to postgraduate ”

 

  • Amendment to Article 5.4.1 to read:

“5.4.1 The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance (hereinafter referred to as the VP/Academic) shall have special responsibility for the Union’s work on academic policy and quality assurance at levels five to eight on the National Qualifications Framework, including, full- time and part-time students in Further Education and Higher Education, students on Labour Market Activisation Programmes and Apprenticeships. They shall act as an advocate for the Union’s education policy on a national and international level and shall assist the VP/Campaigns in relation to campaigns on education matters.”

 

  • Removal of Article 4.3.

 

 

CA2 Reassignment of responsibility for publications to President of USI

Proposed by: VP for Equality and Citizenship

 

Remove 5.6.3
Add New 5.3.9:

The President shall be responsible for overseeing the production of Union publications.

 

CA3      Amendment to create candidate membership

Proposed by VP for Academic Affairs

 

Delete Article 2 and replace with:

“Article 2: Membership

2.1 The Union is a confederation of Students’ Unions, referred to as Member Organisations.

 

2.2 All Students’ Unions are eligible to be accepted as Member Organisations provided that:

 

2.2.1 Their constitution has been approved by National Council.

 

2.2.2 They have applied and been accepted as a Member Organisation according to the application procedure as defined in Schedule A and who pay affiliation fees as decided by National Council.

 

2.2.3 They have accepted the Union Constitution and agree to facilitate the implementation of policy as decided at Congress, keeping in mind the confederal nature of the Union.

 

2.2.4 They have accepted in writing that they may not disaffiliate without providing twelve months written notice to National Council. During the notice period the Member Organisation shall continue to be a Member with all the rights and duties pertaining thereto.

 

2.2.5 Upon affiliation, a Member Organisation shall enter into a legally binding contract confirming their acceptance of provision 2.2.4 of the constitution.

 

2.3 Individual students are said to be ordinary members of the Union and have such rights as are outlined in this Constitution and its schedules by virtue of being a member of an organisation accepted in accordance with Article 2. The elected officers of the Union’s Officerboard are ordinary members of the Union for the duration of their term of office and have such rights and duties in addition as are laid down by this Constitution and its Schedules.

 

2.4: Students’ Unions are eligible to be accepted as Candidate Member Organisations provided that:

 

2.4.1 The organisation does not fulfil the criteria to be accepted as a Member Organisation at the time of application but;

 

2.4.1.1 The organisation writes to the USI President to commit to a defined programme of capacity building, jointly managed by USI officer board, with the objective of meeting the criteria for acceptance as a membership organisation as defined in Schedule A;

 

2.4.1.2 The organisation accepts the Union Constitution and agrees to uphold its values;

 

2.4.2 Candidate Member Organisation status shall be granted for a maximum period of two years, upon the expiration of which National Council may decide to extend the status for one more year.
2.4.2.1 Candidate Membership Organisation status shall confer observer status as defined in Schedule A.”

 

CA4      Role of The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship

Proposed by VP for Equality &  Citizenship

 

Replace 5.7.1 with:

 

“5.7.1 The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship (hereinafter referred to as the VP/Equality) shall have responsibility for the implementation and development of all Union policy in relation to issues of discrimination on the grounds specified in S.75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the grounds of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004.”

CA5      Ordinary members at National Council

Proposed by the Constitutional Review Ad Hoc Committee

Amend 4.2.1 to read:

“4.2.1 National Council is composed of the members of the Officerboard and one delegate from each Member Organisation who shall have the voting rights of that Member Organisation. All elected officers, and ordinary members, from each Member Organisation shall have a right to attend National Council. Speaking rights at National Council shall be in accordance with the Standing Orders of National Council as provided for in Schedule E.”

CA6      Vice Presidents for the Regions

Proposed by the Constitutional Review Ad Hoc Committee

 

Insert 5.8.5 and 5.9.5

“The VP/[BMW or Southern] shall be responsible for the implementation of Union campaigns within their region”

CA7      Removal of position of Vice President for Campaigns

Proposed by the Constitutional Review Ad Hoc Committee

Remove 5.1.4 and 5.6.

 

CA8      Role of observers in Congress

Amend C3.1 from

“Each Member Organisation shall be entitled to send a maximum of two observers to Congress. Observers shall have speaking but not voting rights except where a delegate from the same Member Organisation transfers their voting card to an accredited Observer. No person may exercise more than one delegate vote at one time”

to

“Each Member Organisation shall be entitled to send a maximum of two observers to Congress. Observers shall not have speaking rights or voting rights except where a delegate from the same Member Organisation transfers their voting card to an accredited Observer. No person may exercise more than one delegate vote at one time”

 

CA9      Associate Organisations

Proposed by the Constitutional Review Ad Hoc Committee

 

Insert 8.3

The Union may establish a formal working relationship with external organisations. Such relationships shall require the approval of 2/3 of the membership of National Council. At least 7 days notice of any such motion must be provided to the members of National Council. Such organisations shall be referred to as Associate Organisations of the Union. Associate Organisations shall be invited by the President to attend Congress as observers.

 

CA10    Establish The Union Development Committee

Proposed by: The USI Vice President for Campaigns

 

Union Development Committee

amend 7.1.2:

 

7.1.2 The Committees shall be:

 

7.1.2.1 The Presidents Committee

7.1.2.2 The Academic Affairs Committee

7.1.2.3 The Welfare Committee

7.1.2.4 The Campaigns Committee

7.1.2.5 The Equality and Citizenship Committee

7.1.2.6 The Entertainments Committee

7.1.2.7 The Southern Regional Committee

7.1.2.8 The Border, Midland & Western Regional Committee

7.1.2.9 The Dublin Regional Committee

7.1.2.10 The Irish Language Committee

7.1.2.11 The Union Development Committee

 

amend 7.1.4

The Presidents Committee, the Academic Affairs Committee, the Welfare Committee and the Equality and Citizenship Committee, the Irish Language Committee, the Regional Committees, and the Union Development Committee, shall be forums to inform and advise relevant members of the Officerboard, to formulate, review and implement policy and to share expertise and experience.

 

add 7.1.6

The Union Development Committee shall be a forum for its members to discuss the development of the Union, and the development of member organisations, and share ideas in relation to achieving the goals of the Union.

 

CA11    Attendance at Congress by election candidates

 

Proposed by: The USI Vice President for Campaigns

 

Attendance at Congress by election candidates

Add to Schedule C:

Any candidates for elections to be held at Congress shall have Candidate status if they are not acting as a delegate or observer for their Member Organisation and shall not be counted as such for the purposes of C3.1. This status shall be the equivalent of observer status, and shall not confer speaking rights.

 

CA12    Creating a Vice President for the Dublin Region

Proposed by Dublin Institute of Technology Students’ Union

 

Article 4: Governance and Policy Setting Structures of USI

4.1.5

Add in

Vice President of the Dublin Region

 

Amend to read

The Annual Congress shall elect all members of the Officerboard excluding the NUS-USI President. Any ordinary member of the Union is entitled to contest any elected position at Congress. All registered delegates are entitled to vote in each election at Congress except in the case of the elections for the regional Vice Presidents. The electorate for the positions of Vice President for the Dublin Region, Vice President for the Border, Midlands and Western Region and Vice President for the Southern Region shall be the registered delegates from Member Organisations located wholly or mainly in that Officer’s region, as defined by Schedule G and the relevant Vice President.

 

Article 5: The Officerboard

Add in

5.1.10 The Vice President for the Dublin Region

 

AND INSERT AFTER ARTICLE 5.9 A NEW ARTICLE 5.10 AND RENUMBER ACCORDINGLY

 

5.10 The Vice President for the Dublin Region

5.10.1 The Vice President for the Dublin Region, (hereinafter referred to as the VP/Dublin) shall be responsible for Union development and liaison in their region. They shall also be responsible for the overall direction of the work of their region in conjunction with and reporting to the Officerboard.

5.10.2. The VP/Dublin shall communicate the message of the Union to ordinary members, Member Organisations, external organisations and the general public through various means including, but not exclusively, social media, traditional media, meetings, conference events, campaigns and training events.

5.10.3 The VP/Dublin shall communicate regional and Member Organisation’s issues to the Officerboard.

5.10.4 The VP/Dublin shall work with all Colleges in the Dublin Region to develop their Unions focusing on Unions who have been suspended or where a College does not have a functional Union, to assist the students of that College to establish one.

 

Article 7: Committees and Advisory Panels

Amend Article 7.1.3 to read:

 

7.1.3 The Committees shall be chaired by the corresponding Officer on the Officerboard save for the Dublin Regional Committee and the Entertainments Committee where the President shall nominate a member of the Officerboard to chair the Committee. Each Committee shall elect another member of the Committee to act as Deputy Chairperson and another member to act as Secretary. The Secretary shall be responsible for taking and circulating minutes of each meeting. The Chairperson shall be responsible for putting together the agenda for each meeting.

 

Remove

“Dublin Regional Committee and” and “Each Committee shall elect another member of the Committee to act as Deputy Chairperson and another member to act as Secretary. The Secretary shall be responsible for taking and circulating minutes of each meeting.”

 

Add in

Each Committee will agree Standing Orders for the committee meetings no later than the second National Council of the year.

 

Amend to read

7.1.3 The Committees shall be chaired by the corresponding Officer on the Officerboard save for the Entertainments Committee where the President shall nominate a member of the Officerboard to chair the Committee. Each Committee will agree Standing Orders for the committee meetings no later than the first National Council of the year. The Chairperson shall be responsible for putting together the agenda for each meeting.

 

CA13    Removing unpaid status and part-time status of the Vice President for the Irish Language

Proposed by LU don Ghaeilge

Replace

 

“5.12.1 No member of the Officerboard may serve a cumulative total of more than three years on the Officerboard. With the exception of the VP/Irish, who shall be unpaid, the other members of Officerboard shall be paid a salary decided by Finance Committee. Their term shall be from the 1st July until the following 30th of June.”

 

with

 

“5.12.1 No member of the Officerboard may serve a cumulative total of more than three years of the Officerboard. Members of Officerboard shall be paid a stipend decided by Finance Committee. Their term shall be the 1st July in the year of their election until the following 30th of June.”

 

5.10 An leas Uachtarán don Ghaeilge:
Replace:

5.10.1 An Leas Uachtarán don Ghaeilge (hereinafter referred to as the LU/Gaeilge) shall be responsible for carrying out, in the capacity of a part-time officer Union policy on the Irish language. They shall act as an advocate for the Union’s Irish policy on a national level, encourage the use of Irish within the Union, and represents the Union’s membership on various external bodies as agreed by Nation Council.

 

With :

5.10.1 An Leas Uachtarán don Ghaeilge (hereinafter referred to as the LU/Gaeilge) shall be responsible for carrying out Union policy on the Irish language. They shall act as an advocate for the Union’s Irish policy on a national level, encourage the use of Irish within the Union, and represents the Union’s membership on various external bodies as agreed by Nation Council.

i.e. Remove:

“in the capacity of a part-time officer”

 

CA14 Finance Committee Representation

Proposed by Democratic Review ad hoc Committee

 

Amend 9.1.4.3 to read:

 

9.1.4.3 Four members, who must be members of the National Council at the time of their election, but not members of the Officerboard and are directly elected by the National Council. The first two members shall be elected at the last meeting of the academic year and shall hold office for following twelve months. The second two members shall be elected at the first National Council of the academic year and shall hold office for the following twelve months. These members may be dismissed by a two thirds plus one vote of National Council, provided that at least one month’s notice of such motion is given. In the event of a vacancy of either of these members it must be filled at the following National Council.

 

CA15 Separating Steering Committee and Elections Committee; forming an Elections Commission

Proposed by Democratic Review ad hoc Committee

 

Amend 6.1.1 to read:

6.1.1 Elections for Steering Committee shall be held every two years and shall be organised and supervised by the President. Each candidate must be proposed by a Member Organisation or the President.

 

Insert: 6.1.1.2

 

Electoral Commission

The Officerboard elections, and any by-elections, shall be supervised by the Electoral Commission. This Electoral Commission shall be composed of two external members, one member of Steering Committee (as nominated by Steering Committee) and two members of National Council. Elections for the Electoral Commission shall be held every year and shall be organised and supervised by the President. Each candidate must be proposed by a Member Organisation or the President.

They shall be elected no later than the second National Council of the academic year. The Terms of Reference for the Commission shall be found in Schedule X, and shall be approved by no later than the third National Council of the year. If a member of National Council decides to seek nominations to run for a position on USI Officerboard, they will immediately cease to be a member of the Commission.

 

CA16    Defending SU Autonomy as a Core Principles of USI

Proposed by Democratic Review ad hoc Committee

Add in Article 3.7

USI shall defend the right of students’ unions to be autonomous, democratic, student led organisations, independent of all external authorities, with decision making being made at the level closest to students as possible, and where formulation of policy by the students ordinarily occurs by the democratic procedures as laid out by their constitution.

 

CA16    Defending SU Autonomy as a Core Principles of USI

Proposed by Democratic Review ad hoc Committee

 

Add in Article 3.8

USI believes that everyone deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, and in so far as possible, endeavours to be a living wage employer.

 

CA17    Chairpersons

Proposed by Democratic Review ad hoc Committee

 

Amend 4.2.9 to read:

 

4.2.9. National Council shall have a Chairperson and a Deputy  Chairperson. Elections for these positions shall be held at National Council every two years and shall be organised and supervised by the President. Each candidate must be proposed by a Member Organisation or the President and shall not be current members of the Union but shall have attended a previous Congress and shall have been a member of the Union. The  Chairperson and Deputy  Chairperson of National Council shall be ex officio full voting members of Steering Committee and may not also fill the position of  Chairperson or Deputy  Chairperson of Steering Committee, Finance Committee or the Electoral Commission.

Amendment to the Schedules of the Constitution

CA18    Adding a Student finance expert to the Welfare advisory panel

Proposed by Southern Area Regional Committee

 

In Schedule H, replace H3.6 with:

H3.6 A person with expertise in Student Finance

To Schedule H, add:

H3.7 Such other persons as the VP/Welfare may feel are necessary.

 

 

 

Equality

 

EQ1     Equality Grounds

Proposed by the VP Equality & Citizenship

 

Congress notes:

That the VP Equality & Citizenship works on behalf of students in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Congress mandates:

The VP Equality & Citizenship to review the equality legislation in both legal jurisdictions in their work on behalf of students across the island.

 

 

EQ2     Integration of displaced persons into education

Proposed by VP Academic Affairs & VP Equality & Citizenship

 

Congress recognises

The ongoing refugee crisis, in which over 20 million people have been displaced due to war, terrorism, and other conflicts.

 

Congress asserts

That education is an emancipator and affords people the tools with which to become independent and self-determinant.

 

Congress calls on

The Irish government to partake in the resettlement and relocation of displaced persons (such as refugees and asylum seekers) in numbers appropriate to the scale of the crisis.

 

Congress calls on

The education sector in Ireland to proactively support the integration of such displaced persons.

 

Congress calls on

The Minister for Education to extend “domestic” fee status to such displaced persons resettled in Ireland who wish to pursue their studies. This status should also extend to eligibility for the student maintenance grant and other student supports.

 

Congress calls on

Institutions of third-level education to follow the lead of Dublin City University and pursue “University of Sanctuary” designation.

Congress therefore mandates

The officer board to campaign for the integration of such displaced persons into education in Ireland with particular focus on access, student supports, retention, recognition of prior learning and cultural integration, the latter including the provision of English language lessons.

 

Congress also mandates

The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship to provide for student leaders, particularly elected officers, to become “No Hate Speech” ambassadors.

 

EQ3                 Expansion of ‘2in2u’ Campaign

Jointly proposed by the VP Equality & Citizenship & WIT Students’ Union

 

Congress recognises:
The organisation Women’s Aid runs a successful ‘2in2u’ dating abuse campaign which is supported by the Union of Students in Ireland.  This campaign helps young women to spot the ‘danger signs’ of dating abuse and provides information to combat online stalking and digital abuse, as well as signposting support services.
Congress notes:
The campaign, whilst being very beneficial, has limitations in regards to the types of relationships and genders it focuses on.

 

Congress recognises:

That several national organisations are doing work in the area of domestic violence, sexual harrassment, violence, and emotional abuse, and the USI should build partnerships with them in order to ensure students are part of their target audiences moving forward.
Congress mandates:
That VP Equality & Citizenship and VP Welfare to work with Women’s Aid to expand their 2in2u campaign to become more inclusive of all genders and relationships. If this is not feasible, then a similar campaign and materials should be developed to compliment the 2in2u campaign which is more inclusive of gender and sexuality.

 

Congress further mandates:

The VP Equality & Citizenship to develop a partnership with the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) in their project work nationally to end sexual violence and harassment at third level.

 

EQ4                 Access to Orkambi, the Cystic Fibrosis medication

This motion requires a simple majority (50%+1) to pass

Proposed by WATERFORD INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS’ UNION

 

Congress Notes:

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic illness that is acting as a barrier to education for students who suffer from it. Students with CF need regular IV drips where they must be admitted to hospital for long periods of time. These lengthy visits to hospital affect students’ college attendance.

Congress further notes:

Orkambi, a revolutionary drug, corrects the mutated genes in 45% of patients with cystic fibrosis.  It has the potential to improve the living conditions and the educational experience for these students.

Congress Mandates:

VP Welfare and VP Equality & Citizenship to lobby the Government to make Orkambi available in Ireland for those who require it.

 

 

Citizenship

 

CZN 1   Environmental Sustainability

Proposed by Equality and Citizenship Committee

Congress notes:

The importance of the goal of environmental sustainability – to conserve natural resources and to develop alternate sources of power while reducing pollution and harm to the environment.

Congress notes:

The great work undertaken on divestment campaigns by student groups, notably Fossil Free TCD and Fossil Free QUB, who worked on environmental sustainability campaigns and succeeded in their efforts.

Congress also notes:

The Green campaigns run by WATERFORD INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS’ UNION, MSU and other MOs over the last couple of years.

Congress therefore mandates:

The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship and the Vice President for Campaigns to undertake a student focused environmental sustainability campaign to work towards promoting sustainability and energy conservation behaviour and knowledge.