Motions which change the operations of USI are here.

15 UO1 Comparative Research

 

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.

 

15 UO2 Part time officer training

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.

 

15 UO3 Students’ union staff training

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.

 

 

15 UO6 Regional Events to National Campaigns

 

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.

 

 

 

15 UO7 USI Election Process

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

 

15 UO8 Supporting Student Media

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.

 

15 UO9 Promotional Packs

 

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 .

 

 

15 UO10 DUBLIN STUDENT BALL

 

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.

 

15 UO11 Legislation working group

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 to take instruction from national council.

 

 

 

15 UO12 Student summit

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.

 

 

15 UO13 Mature student supports

 

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.

 

15 UO13 International Students participation:

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

 

15 UO16 Campaigning for student nurses

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.

 

15 UO17 Supporting a coalition of staff and students in third level

 

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.

 

15 UO18 Student manifesto ahead of the next general election

 

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.

 

15 UO19 Casework Recording Best Practice Policy

 

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.   

in key aspects of union operations.

 

15 UO21 National Council Decentralisation

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.

 

15 UO22 STRATEGIC PLANNING

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.

 

15 UO23 Regional Issues

 

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

9C CARRIED RED SCRIPT TO BE REMOVED

 

15 UO28 3rd Party Providers

 

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.

 

15 UO29 Campaign to encourage participation in full time Students’ Union elections

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.

 

15 UO 30 USI Transparency and Engagement:

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.

 

15 UO 31 Utilising Student Expertise within the Union

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.

15 UO 32 National Charity

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 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 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.

 

15 UO 33 1916 Commemoration


Congress Notes:

The importance of the 1916 commemorations to the people of Ireland, and in particular, young

people.

Congress further notes:

That the celebrations ought to be a celebration of our shared heritage

Congress Mandates:

Officerboard to work with various stakeholders, to ensure that the members of the union are

represented in any commemorations, due to take place. And to aid any MO’s as regard to any local

events planned to take place.

 

15 UO34 EXTERNAL REVIEW OF USI


Congress Notes

That higher education institutions, public sector departments and all bodies in receipt of public monies are legally required to undertake external reviewing process at regular intervals.


Congress Further Notes:

The importance of feedback, criticisms and suggestions to an organisation from a diversity of both internal and external perspectives, with particular respect to accountability, clarity of mission and institutional growth.


Congress Both Acknowledges and Values:

The huge variation within USI in perspectives, opinions and issues among different MOs, depending on region, size of MO and culture within the particular institution.


Congress Therefore Mandates:

USI to undertake an External Review process in the academic year 2015/16 which collects, analyses and acts upon feedback to be garnered from every MO.


Congress Further Mandates:

That this External Review be conducted by a panel of experts, with appropriate diversity and balance of expertise and viewpoint, whose membership is to be approved at the first National Council of the 2015/16 term.


Congress Also Mandates:

The establishment of a Working Group to enact the recommendations of this Review, upon conclusion of the Review process and pending these recommendations’ approval by National Council.

15 UO35 CHAMPIONING STRONG UNIONS


Congress Affirms:

The role of USI in empowering and enabling individual unions to better themselves, and the importance of this role in ensuring the longevity and growth of the student movement.

 

Congress Acknowledges:

The similarity of problems faced by many individual unions, the unique strengths and weaknesses displayed by every member organisation in USI and the opportunities for growth presented by collaboration and learning between MOs.


Congress Notes:

The principles of collaboration, individual union empowerment and best practice underlying the Student Union Evaluation Initiative carried out by the National Union of Students in the UK.


Congress Therefore Mandates:

The USI President, in the academic year 2015/16 to investigate the feasibility of establishing a Quality Mark for member organisations in specific key aspects of their activities, including but not limited to democratic structures, governance, campaigns and institutional memory.


Congress Mandates
:

The USI President to convene a Task Force on this project for the first time at SUT 2015, with deliverables formulated and reported upon at a subsequent National Council before Christmas 2015.

 

14 UO 1         WORKING GROUP ORGANISATION

Congress appreciates:

The diversity of sabbatical officer positions and responsibilities that exists among MOs.

Congress believes:

That National Council acts as a valuable forum for sabbatical officers to share best practice on local activities and campaigns, however

Congress regrets:

That the current arrangement for working groups of National Council is ineffective in facilitating dialogue between the appropriate officers. Areas of responsibility such as elections and democratic activity, class rep recruitment, entertainments, and student survey engagement are the responsibility of a number of different officers who do not necessarily share the same broad role description and as such do not regularly have the opportunity to formally engage on those topics in a USI context.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President to conduct a survey to determine to which of its officers member organisations assign common students’ union sabbatical officer responsibilities. The findings shall be presented to the last national council of this academic year and updated on an annual basis.

Congress also mandates:

The President to facilitate the holding of ad hoc working groups at any ordinary meeting of National Council. Proposals may be submitted by member organisations no less than two weeks in advance of any meeting, must have the support of at least two additional MOs, and shall detail the proposed chairperson and agenda.

 

14 UO 2         STUDENT UNION TRAINING

Congress observes:

Student Union Training has a huge impact on the performance of member organisations.

Congress applauds:

That the current structures of Student Union Training allows for satisfactory training.

Congress recognises:

The value in information/experiential sharing among the sabbatical cohort.

Congress believes:

That improvements can be made in Student Union Training by having speaker driven workshops.

 Congress mandates:

That no speaker at Student Union Training should speak for more than 60% of the session time.

 

14 UO 3         CENTRALISATION OF NATIONAL COUNCIL

Congress notes:

The importance of National Council throughout the year. It allows for the discussion of important issues such both in national council and working groups.

Congress further notes:

The difficulty faced by many member organisations, especially outside of Dublin, in travelling to and attending some national councils.

Congress is concerned:

That this has led to a certain level of absenteeism at national council and it puts extra pressure both on the officers as individuals and the finances of the Unions to travel to these locations.

Congress observes:

That many officers may be too tired to contribute in a meaningful way to working groups and that officers are away from their MO’s for full days due to traveling to congress.

Congress appreciates:

That some national councils are special e.g. SUT & Congress National councils and will require travel.

Congress therefore mandates:

The USI to centralise ordinary national councils to be held in the same location each time. Preferably a neutral (non-college) location so as not to put excessive strain on any MO in terms of commitment to national council. This is to be completed by the end of august 2014.

14 UO 4         GENDER INCLUSIVITY IN SURVEYS AND FORMS

Congress regrets:

That a recent USI survey asked participants to declare their gender as male or female.

Congress believes:

That accidents/incidents such as these are alienating to Trans* or Gender Questioning students who may wish to participate in a USI survey

Congress therefore mandates:

That in all future forms, if gender is not necessary for the outcome aims of the form, then it should not be included.

Congress further mandates:

If gender is required for identification purposes regarding a particular student, the form should be sensitive to how it approaches this question. Where possible, the form should offer the structure: ‘gender: _______’ – letting the person fill it in as they like. Where a blank is not possible due to the need for statistical analysis, forms should offer Male, Female, or please specify: ______ or failing that and as a last result, Male, Female, Other. It is important to note that this format will not adequately or confidentially render statistics on the Trans* or Gender Questioning student population, but rather will provide those students with options which more adequately and accurately reflect their gender experience.

Congress notes:

The approval of National Council of this policy paper and the work done by the three organisations on this area to date.

Congress welcomes:

The collaboration between USI, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Irish Second-Level Union on this area which impacts the memberships of all three unions. This is based on the realisation that the youth jobs crisis can only be resolved by joined-up thinking across second-level, third-level and the labour market.

Congress adopts:

The ‘Locked Out?- Investing In A Future For Youth’ Policy Paper.

Congress mandates:

USI Officer Board to lobby and campaign with ICTU and ISSU for the implementation of the recommendations contained in the policy paper.

 

14 UO 5         STUDENT FINANCE BRIEF

Congress notes:

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

Congress believes:

That financial student supports are more appropriately assigned to the brief of the VP Welfare.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President as of the 2014/15 academic year, to assign responsibility for financial student support casework and representation to the VP Welfare.

 

 

14 UO 6         ONLINE VOTING FOR ELECTIONS

Congress notes:

The debate around direct elections for USI Officer Board which has been ongoing for many years.

Congress believes:

That a move towards this system would promote greater involvement and engagement by the general student body in USI Elections. It would also lend itself to better communication and promotion of USI Election candidates and key issues. The online video profiles and debates organised for this year’s Officer Board Elections already represents a shift towards increased online campaigning.

Congress mandates:

The President to work with USI staff and Elections Committee to put in place an optional online voting platform for MO’s for all USI elections.

Congress further mandates:

The President to ensure that all MO’s who choose to utilise this system for elections will see their voting allocation transferred directly to the candidate with the most votes cast online in their college, requiring no secret ballot vote at Annual Congress.

 

14 UO 8         SIPTU-USI AGREEMENT

Congress welcomes:

The development of the SIPTU-USI Agreement, approved by the Executives of both Unions.

Congress recognises:

The significant benefits to students, particularly those in part-time employment, arising from the terms of the Agreement, and the tangible added value to USI membership it brings about.

Congress believes:

USI and SIPTU have a considerable amount of shared concerns and issues, and should work and campaign together on these areas where possible.

Congress approves:

The SIPTU-USI Agreement.

Congress mandates:

The USI President to oversee the terms of the Agreement, and work to ensure their implementation.

 

14 UO 10      STUDENTS’ UNION FUNDING

Congress welcomes:

The work of the Presidents’ Working Group on a comparative study of the funding of Students’ Unions which was carried out this year.

Congress notes:

The importance of this data in highlighting the under-funding of individual Students’ Unions both on a national level, and also for internal lobbying purposes.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President to further develop the funding survey in order to collate additional relevant data which will enable the study to have greater comparability and granularity.

Congress further mandates:

The Regional Vice-Presidents to assist member Students’ Unions in collecting the required information in their colleges and completing the survey.

14 UO 11      USI APPROACH TO EVENTS OFFICERS

Congress notes:

As part of motion ‘UO9 – USI Engagement with Events and Marketing’, passed in 2013, Events Officers across the country were reaching out to Officer Board for more support, training and opportunities to network.

Congress affirms:

That Events Officers, both full and part-time, play a pivotal role in the student experience, and that in order to maximise engagement in Union activity, USI needs to consider them in the same light as other Sabbatical Officers.

 Congress further notes:

That Events Officers operate within extremely tight time constraints, just like other Sabbatical Officers and that challenges pertaining to the booking of acts, interacting with the student market etc. now require the attention of the National Union.

Congress mandates:

The President to consult with Events officers nationwide and to have a full training and support plan for Events Officers prepared for presentation to National Council in June.

Congress mandates:

That the effectiveness of this plan be compiled in a report by the President for the November meeting of National Council.

 

14 UO 12      CHAMPIONING STRONG STUDENTS’ UNIONS

Congress notes:

The current state of flux of the Irish Higher Education landscape and the increasing, wide range of challenges facing local Students’ Unions as a result.

Congress affirms:

That in order for the Irish student movement to progress, USI needs to champion strong Students’ Unions that are seen as key stakeholders within colleges, and that are more relevant to grassroots members.

Congress mandates:

Officer Board to proactively make themselves available to MO’s for governance support, such as: assistance with integration into Quality Assurance structures; increasing representation on key decision making bodies and setting a high standard of constitutionality and democracy.

Congress further mandates:

That Officer Board produce a preliminary report on good practice for Students’ Union governance in advance of the National Council meeting in August.

 

14 UO 13      SUSI TRAINING

Congress notes:

That SUSI has improved its processing system this year but yet still some students are still finding it difficult, to understand some of the documentation required for their grant to be accessed. Unlike the VEC, SUSI grant students do not have a point of contact to sit down with in their local area and discuss their grant issues.

Congress mandates:

The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance to arrange with SUSI to provide training for all sabbatical officers in the summer months and to provide them with a sample pack with dealing and addressing common issues.

This information and training will assist in providing students with a support system if they have any queries in regard to their grant application.

 

14 UO 14      INCREASED SUPPORT FOR PART-TIME OFFICERS

Congress notes:

That annual events to effectively train and prepare Part-Time Officers are absolutely essential for the student movement, as these officers are often closer to the ground and interacting with students.

 

Congress further notes:

That both national and regional approaches to Part-Time Officer training have had varying degrees of success in terms of content and attendance.

Congress further notes:

That in the run up to Budget 2015, an effective National Campaign is heavily reliant on Part- Time Officers.

Congress mandates:

Officer Board to put in place a rigorous and holistic plan for Part-Time Officer training, with specific focus to be given to the National Campaign. This must be implemented prior to Part Time Officers by September 1st.

Congress also mandates:

That all Regional Officers provide further opportunities once a semester, for Part-Time Officers to network and up-skill.

 

14 UO 15      USI ‘FUTURE FOCUS’ CAMPAIGN

Congress applauds:

The fulfilment of previous Congress policy 11/ ED7 and 12/ NA12 through the organisation of this year’s USI ‘Future Focus’ campaign on jobs, employability and enterprise.

Congress notes:

The three strands of the campaign- The creation and launch of the Jobs.USI.ie website, the employability campus roadshow, and the Student Summit on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Congress welcomes:

The partnership created with HAYS Recruitment and Enterprise Ireland to support the development and running of this campaign.

Congress mandates:

The President and the Vice-President for Campaigns to enhance and implement the Future Focus campaign on an annual basis. This will include updating the Jobs.USI.ie website and graduate jobs platform, organising the employability roadshow.

14 UO 16      JOB BRIDGE

Congress notes:

The difficulty with the job bridge scheme.

 

Congress further notes:

That the exploitative nature of the scheme has allowed a number of employers to prey on some of the more vulnerable members of society who are looking for work.

Congress condemns:

The fact that many of the intern ships offered bring little or no added value to the participant in terms of career opportunities.

Congress recognises:

That some individuals have benefited from the scheme, but in an overall context it has not been good.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President of the USI to investigate whether it would be better to abolish or reform the program and, after consulting with national council, to campaign on the findings of the investigations.

 

14 UO 17      COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Congress notes:

The positive successes of the USI’s first community engagement initiatives that took place in summer 2013 and Christmas 2013.

Congress recognises:

That these projects need to develop in order to show the positive contribution students can have to society.

Congress applauds:

The good work carried out by Member Organisations with their local communities to date.

Congress recognises:

That in order to continue the good work and highlight the students’ movement, it is vital that these initiatives continue.

Congress mandates:

USI Officerboard to carry out three different regional events in the summer and Christmas period with the local community in a Member Organisation.

 

 

 

14 UO 18      SUPPORTING FURTHER EDUCATION COLLEGES

Congress notes:

That there are a number of further education colleges in the south that have no student union representation on a local or national level.

Congress further notes:

That a lack of local representation may act as a barrier to membership of the national union.

Congress further notes:

The inclusion of FE colleges from the Northern Region.

Congress recognises:

The efforts of USI to include all third level students in its organisation.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President of USI along with the VP AAQA and the Regional officers to establish the plausibility of establish student representation amongst FE colleges currently without representation with a view to them joining the national Union at a later stage. The deadline for this is the 30th of June 2015.

 

14 UO 19      OFFICER BOARD COMMUNICATION

Congress notes with concern:

That members of Officer Board have been deemed detached from students in member organisations in recent discussions by local students.

Congress recognises:

The importance of Officer Board designating a majority of time to representing students on a national level.

Congress values:

The contribution that members of Officer Board can make on a local level to local campaigns and to the efficacy of local officers.

Congress praises:

The contribution of area officers to their local MOs and the experience and expertise that they offer to local officers.

Congress believes:

That further contributions from each (non-area specific) member of Officer Board to local MOs will supplement and augment campaigns, events and initiatives in the areas of welfare, education, equality and citizenship, the Irish language and national campaigns.

Congress therefore mandates:

That the president, and VP for Welfare, VP for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance, VP for Campaigns, VP for Equality and Citizenship and the VP for the Irish language will organise a personal meeting, by phone, or preferably in person, with each local officer pertaining to their remit, before the end of October, and submit a report on the completion of such meetings to national council.

 

14 UO 21      USI/ICTU/ISSU ‘LOCKED OUT? INVESTING IN A FUTURE FOR YOUTH’ POLICY PAPER

Congress notes:

The approval of National Council for this policy paper and the work done by the three organisations on this area to date.

Congress welcomes:

The collaboration between USI, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Irish Second-Level Union on this area which impacts the memberships of all three unions. This is based on the realisation that the youth jobs crisis can only be resolved by joined-up thinking across second-level, third-level and the labour market.

Congress adopts:

The ‘Locked Out’ – Investing In A Future For Youth’ Policy Paper.

Congress mandates:

USI Officer Board to lobby and campaign with ICTU and ISSU for the implementation of the recommendations contained in the policy paper.

14 UO 22      USI PROMOTIONAL PACKS

Congress notes:

That USI “Freshers Bags 2013” were a success in its first year and were widely used by member organisations and furthering the brand and awareness of the USI with incoming students.

Congress notes:

That this scheme needs to be continued for September 2014.

Congress accepts:

That the timescale for sourcing, designing and delivering packs was short and this needs to be rectified for future endeavours.

 

Congress mandates:
That the USI President, utilising any other relevant resources to actively pursue the completion of promotional bags for September 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 UO 1         ON-CAMPUS TRAINING & ENGAGEMENT

Congress recognises:

The importance of engaging with class representatives and part-time officers across the country in order to broaden USI’s scope with its membership.

Congress notes:

That despite the high quality of speakers and modules at recent Part-Time Officer Training and Activist Academy events held centrally by USI, and well-regarded feedback from those who did attend, the disappointing attendances at these events in recent years.

Congress mandates:

The VP for Campaigns and all Regional VP’s to organise and deliver ongoing training modules, events, seminars, and debates focused at class reps and part-time officers to be held regionally and on campus in MO’s throughout the year.

 

13 UO 2         MOTION OF SOLIDIFY TRANSPARENCY FOR MEMBERS OF USI

Congress notes:

The importance of transparency to the principles of the organisation

Congress mandates:

The President to set up a ‘transparency’ section of the USI website and ensure timely updates.

Congress further mandates:

The section to contain all National Council Agenda and Minutes and the minutes of USI Committees where relevant and possible. This would not include the minutes of Finance Committee.

Congress further mandates:

The President to ensure the provision of a monthly PDF update including concise progress updates from USI officers for distribution to USI members via individual MOs.

These updates may appear alongside videos as previously mandated (12/ UO 14).

 

13 UO 3         MOTION TO ESTABLISH SECTORAL AND REGIONAL                            WORKING GROUPS AT NATIONAL COUNCIL

Congress notes:

The benefit of close communication to MOs on issues which specifically relate to an individual sector.

 

Congress also notes:

Imminent discussions regarding regional clustering and the need for closer communications between MOs regarding these developments.

The usefulness of discussions between MOs that opposed the Universities (Amendment) Act.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President to arrange for the establishment of sectoral or regional Working Groups at National Council as required. These working groups would elect a Chair and Secretary at their first meeting.

 

13 UO 4         MOTION ON DATA PROTECTION POLICY FOR USI OFFICEBOARD AND ALL MEMBER ORGISATIONS

Congress notes:

The delicate and sensitive nature of the information USI Officers and MO Officers receive and are in possession of on a daily basis including but not limited to casework details, documents held in confidence and documents of a commercially sensitive nature.

Congress further notes:

The need for proper guidelines so that Union officers act in accordance with various statutory obligations.

Congress therefore mandates:

The USI President, in consultation with other USI Officers, to manage the development of a template USI ‘Data Protection Policy’ which can be adopted by all MOs.

Congress further mandates:

The USI President to issue the MOs the guidelines on the registration process with the Data Protection Commissioner and how best to relate the work of an SU to the same.

 

13 UO 5         NATIONAL CHARITY

Congress notes:

The existence of the 2012/2013 USI National Charity as Acquired Brain Injury which was chosen at the second National Council of the academic year.

Congress believes:

It is important for USI and Member Organisations to support a charity each year and give back to the wider community.

 

Congress mandates:

 

The Vice President for Welfare to coordinate all efforts in fundraising and raising awareness for the chosen charity, nationally and with Member Organisations.

Congress further mandates:

The Vice President for Welfare to compile a briefing document for Member Organisations on the National Charity, which would include details on how to propose a charity, when the voting will take place and how the voting will happen. This is to be distributed at Students’ Union Training, annually from July 2013.

13 UO 6         INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY OF USI

Congress notes:

The high turnover of officers on the Officer Board of the Union of Students in Ireland each year.

Congress further notes:

That much of the knowledge, skills and experience accrued by officers over the period of their officership leaves with officers at the end of their term to the detriment.

Congress acknowledges:

The turnover of students in higher and further education means that frequent turnover of officers is inevitable but the loss of their knowledge, skills and experience is detrimental.

Congress mandates:

The President to form and chair a group to investigate methods of improving the institutional memory. This group would consist of the President, the General Manager of the Union, the Chair of Steering Committee, two representatives of National Council, an independent expert in the development of institutional memory and any other person(s) as the President deems necessary from time to time.

Congress further mandates:

The President, as Chairperson of the group, to produce a strategy on improving the institutional memory within three months of the group’s first meeting and for the first meeting to take place not later than July 31st 2013.

Congress mandates:

The President, as Chairperson of the group, to include in the report findings and recommendations on, but not limited to:

(i) Staffing

  1. ii) Effective knowledge transfer between outgoing and incoming officers

(iii) Acquisition of necessary skills for officers

(iv) Creation of a database on previous campaigns and policy documents

Congress further mandates:

The President to include the progress of the group and implement the report’s recommendations as a standing item at each National Council until National Council is satisfied that the recommendations of the report have been implemented.

 

13 UO 7         COMMUNICATION WITH STUDENTS

Congress notes:

That the Union traditionally communicates to students through the union’s Member Organisations.

Congress further notes:

That many Members Organisations do not have direct access to their students via conventional communication channels such as e-mail and telephone.

Congress acknowledges:

That many students are unaware of the work the Union does for them on an ongoing basis and that such lack of awareness may lead to discontent among students about the work of the Union.

Congress further notes:

That the ability of the Union and Member Organisations to communicate directly with students via traditional communication channels is necessary to ensure that students are fully aware of issues facing them and to assure students that progress is being made by the Union and Member Organisations on these issues.

Congress therefore mandates:

The VP Campaigns and Regional Vice Presidents to investigate the communication methods of each Member Organisation in order to collate best practice from each Member Organisation in order to assist each Member Organisation to improve their communication methods where necessary.

Congress further mandates:

The VP Campaigns, in conjunction with the Regional Vice Presidents, to agree a

Memorandum of Understanding with each Member Organisation on communicating important information with their students.

Congress further mandates:

The VP Campaigns to work with Union staff to create effective, alternative means of communicating to students in Member Organisations and to include progress in this regard as a standing item in their National Council Report.

13 UO 8         CAMPAIGNS SUB GROUP REGULATIONS

Congress recognises:

That the Campaigns Sub Group has been extremely beneficial in the organisation and implementation of the National Campaign.

Congress further notes:

The importance of the direction and the running of the National Campaign on an annual basis and the input from Member Organisations across the country who were elected onto the sub group.

Congress acknowledges:

That in order for the campaigns sub group to reach it’s full potential, guidelines need to be put in place for the election process, frequency of meetings and the removal of a member of the campaigns sub group.

Congress mandates:

The President and VP for Campaigns to set the list of guidelines surrounding the election process by the last week of July. The timeline for the election, the number of Member Organisation officers from each region, schedule of meetings, dismissal of an officer due to poor attendance and the outline of the objectives of the group.

Congress further mandates:

The President and VP for Campaigns to hold the election for the campaigns sub group at the second national council of the year.

 

13 UO9          USI ENGAGEMENT WITH EVENTS & MARKETING

Congress acknowledges:

That many Students’ Unions undertake events and marketing functions in many ways, such as running nights out and seeking discounts and complimentary goods and services or their members.

Congress also acknowledges:

The need to establish a value on what the collective body of students is and observe the working calendars of the students and commercial markets to ensure that there is ample time to seize opportunities.

Congress notes with concern:

The lack of an adequate support structure for Sabbatical Officers with this type of brief.

Congress mandates:

The President to investigate the best way for USI to provide such a support structure and to report back to National Council in September 2013.

Congress also mandates:

The President to ensure that USI gain an understanding of the student market and the potential that exists for Students’ Unions and their members to benefit from it.

 

13 UO 10      USI PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT WEBPAGE

Congress notes with concern:

The difficulties currently facing students in finding part-time employment in order to supplement their income whilst in college, given the present economic climate.

Congress recognises:

That many Students’ Unions already have a direct link or contact to providers of once-off, short-term or part-time work, through college Inductions and Open Days, SU activities such as Student Patrol, on-campus services ran by SU’s, promotional staff vacancies in local pubs and clubs, on campus promotions, etc.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President to arrange for the creation of a part-time employment webpage through the main USI website, which Students’ Unions can use to advertise available part-time work to potential and current students in financial need. This is to be completed before September 2013.

Congress further mandates:

All Regional VP’s to work with local MO’s and local businesses in their region on an ongoing basis to source suitable part-time employment opportunities for inclusion on the webpage.

 

13 UO 11      USI CAMPUS CROSSOVER TOUR

Congress recognises:

The importance of providing extensive training to sabbatical officers across the country, and the vital role which USI plays and should continue to play in providing this to MO’s.

Congress notes:

The challenges faced by many incoming sabbatical officers in MO’s in adjusting to their new roles, particularly where a lack of direct crossover has been provided by their predecessor.

Congress mandates:

USI Officerboard to offer comprehensive one-to-one crossover training to MO’s. This should be carried out in the most efficient means possible in terms of cost and resources as determined by the USI President, by the relevant members of USI Officerboard. This is to be completed before August 2013.

 

13 UO 12      AFFILIATE AND NON-AFFILIATE FEEDBACK

Congress recognises:

The central importance to USI as a national organisation to work to ensure the satisfaction of current affiliate MO’s and also towards the affiliation of currently non-member Students’ Unions.

Congress also recognises:

That providing value for money to our membership, now more than ever, continues to be the central concern of current affiliates and non-affiliates alike, and plays a central part in any referendum campaigns engaged in by USI.

Congress mandates:

The USI President to include ‘The Value of USI Membership’ as a rolling agenda item at all future Officerboard and Finance Committee meetings.

Congress further mandates:

All Regional VP’s to engage on an ongoing basis with both affiliate and non-affiliate Students’ Unions in their region as to their ideas and proposals regarding potential benefits and current negatives to the value of USI membership, and for these items to be brought to the attention of the USI President.

 

13 UO 13      PART TIME OFFICER TRAINING

Congress notes:

The increasing diversity of part time roles in Students’ Unions, Clubs and Societies and the importance of training for individuals taking up leadership roles within these organisations. The opportunity for many Part Time Officers to share ideas and initiatives with others fulfilling similar roles is extremely limited.

Congress believes:

There are many core training topics which would be of value to all student officer roles including public speaking, time and resource management, campaign planning and event management and great value in providing networking opportunities for the sharing of ideas and experience.

Congress mandates the Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs & Quality Assurance, Equality & Citizenship, Campaigns and the Irish Language:

To determine the most suitable time and location for a Part Time Officer Training Event in consultation with National Council and to co-ordinate a two day training event before October 31st each year. This mandate shall expire after three years.

 

 

13 UO 14      AFFILIATIONS AGAINST AUSTERITY

Congress mandates:

Officerboard to set up a committee whose function it is to establish ties and affiliations with other groups in our society who oppose austerity.

 

13 UO 15      ENGAGING WITH THE ABORTION RIGHTS CAMPAIGN

Congress notes:

The recent escalation in the level of debate regarding the issue of abortion rights in Ireland.

Congress welcomes:

The establishment of the Abortion Rights Campaign, launched on the 19th of January 2013.

Congress supports:

The expressed aims of the Abortion Rights Campaign. Firstly, campaigning for the immediate introduction of legislation for the right to safe, legal abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, including from suicide. Secondly, campaigning for the repeal of the 8th amendment of the Irish Constitution, allowing for legislation to be made to allow for accessible abortion rights for women in Ireland.

Congress mandates:

The Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship and the rest of Officer Board to engage actively with the Abortion Rights Campaign.

 

13 UO 16      STUDENTGRANT & ACCOMMODATION RESOURCE PACKS

Congress notes:

The value of informing students and their parents about applying for grants and finding accommodation before the academic year begins.

Congress observes:

The poor attendance at many of the Grant and Accommodation information events hosted across the country in recent years.

Congress believes:

Member Organisations can run successful information events if provided with the necessary materials and given the opportunity to host them at their own convenience with support from USI Officerboard and the relevant agencies.

 

 

Congress mandates:

The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance and the Vice President for Welfare to complete a comprehensive Grant and Accommodation resource pack for Member Organisations with all of the information and materials needed to run such events.

 

13 UO 17      USI SUPPORT FOR TURN OFF THE RED LIGHT CAMPAIGN

Congress does not perceive:

Prostitution as a ‘service’. Sex with another human being cannot be reduced to a service. The act of ‘purchase’ in prostitution is an act of buying access to, and control over, another person’s body for a certain duration of time and for a certain amount of money.

Congress notes that:

The Turn off the Red Light (TORL) campaign in Ireland is run by an alliance of 56 networks, umbrellas, unions and non-governmental bodies, who represent among themselves 1.6 million supporters for the TORL cause.

Congress believes:

It is the sex buyer who fuels the profits of the criminals who organize the sex trade in Ireland and perpetuates the exploitation of vulnerable women and girls, as well as men.  Criminalising the purchase of sex makes punters take responsibility for their actions and sends out a clear message that it is not acceptable for people to be treated as commodities, to be bought and sold for sexual use.

Congress recognises that:

9 out of 10 prostitutes wish to exit the industry but feel unable to do so (Farley et al, 2003). Prostitution has a devastating impact on both physical and mental wellbeing for those prostituted. It erodes self-esteem, self-confidence, can cause depression and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. It can result in infertility, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and many other physical consequences. Those in prostitution face beatings, rape, sexual assault and degrading treatment. They are usually individuals who are isolated from potential supports.

Congress also recognises that:

In Sweden there has been legislation to criminalise the sex buyer while decriminalizing those prostituted (as vulnerable parties) since 1999. 70% of Swedes support this law on the basis that prostitution is exploitative and incompatible with equality. Street prostitution in Sweden has halved since the introduction of the ban. The Swedes have seen a change in attitude to the purchase of sexual services; strong support for the ban on purchasing sexual services  (70%-80%). Furthermore, the ban has proved to be an effective deterrent to sex purchasers as surveys show decrease from 13.6% in 1996 to 7.9% in 2008.

 

Congress fully supports:

The Turn off the Red Light campaign in Ireland that is working towards criminalisation of the purchaser of sex in Ireland.

Congress mandates:

The Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship to work with the Turn off the Red Light campaign to further the goals of the campaign.

 

13 UO 18      STUDENT FINANCES

Congress applauds:

The incredible work undertaken by MO Officers to assist students affected by the serious issues with the roll out of the centralised grant awarding authority ‘Student Universal Support Ireland’ (SUSI).

Congress notes with concern:

The increasing financial hardship being experienced by students and vast amount of information needed to guide students through grant and finance applications.

Congress therefore mandates:

The Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs & Quality Assurance and Welfare to coordinate a full day of training for MO Officers on student financial assistance and funding including financial support available to postgraduate students. This mandate should be completed before August 31st each year and shall expire after three years.

 

13 UO 19      STUDENT ENGAGEMENT WITH QUALITY ASSURANCE

Congress notes:

That student engagement is vital in effective quality assurance and enhancement procedures.

Congress notes with concern:

That many students do not value current evaluation surveys and procedures leading to poor participation levels. Many student representatives are not aware of the quality assurance practices in place in their institution and their outcomes.

Congress therefore mandates:

The Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance to include training on student involvement in quality assurance at Student Union Training and to compose a template module for class rep training events for MOs including information on the National Student Survey. This mandate should be complete BY September 30th.

 

12 UO 1         CODES OF CONDUCT

Congress recognizes:

That there can often be disagreement and conflict within Students’ Unions, and that there should ideally be a system in place to deal with such situations.

Congress notes:

That the behavior of elected Students’ Union officers can be seen to reflect the behavior of the student body of that college as a whole.

Congress mandates:

The USI Officerboard to compile a proposed Code of Conduct for both the USI Officerboard and the Member Organisations, which the Member Organisations would have the option of adopting within their own organisation.  This Code should be completed and presented to National Council by 31st December 2012.

 

12 UO 2         PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL SENT OUT TO MO’S

Congress notes:

Throughout the year a number of campaigns will require promotional material to be sent out to MO’s.

Congress recognises:

In the past there have been a significant proportion of materials wasted unnecessarily.

Congress mandates the Vice President for Campaigns:

To review in the first three months of their term the amount of materials each MO will need per campaign and ensure they adhere to this during the year.

 

12 UO 4         STUDENTS’ UNIONS MERGER WORKING GROUP

Congress notes:

The recent publication by the HEA of a series of papers that outline the future landscape of Higher Education.

Congress further notes:

That a number of HEIs are at advanced stages of mergers and that many other HEIs will shortly begin the application process for designation as a Technological University.

Congress recognizes:

That designation as a technological university requires HEIs to have formed one single legal entity prior to the proposed technological university entering the final stage of the process. This single legal entity would have obvious ramifications for the students’ unions in HEIs who are considering a merger.

Congress mandates:

That the President and the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance present a proposal to the first National Council of the academic year 2012/2013 for the establishment of a working group to prepare guidelines for students’ union mergers and to facilitate students’ union undergoing this process.

The membership of this working group may include, but is not limited to, members of officer board, representatives of member organisations and external persons with relevant expertise.

The work of the working group shall take into consideration international best practice in this area.

 

12 UO 5         SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME

Congress notes:

Employers are seeking graduates with skills and experience gained outside of the classroom. The National Strategy for Higher Education states repeatedly that generic and transferable skills are essential for our future workforce and must be developed by the student alongside their academic learning.

 Congress also notes:

The skills available in the collective student body are vast and impressive. USI undertakes and runs a huge number of campaigns covering a wide variety of topics each year which requires research and preparation. USI Officers are expected to keep up to date with legislation affecting students.

Congress further notes:

That successful summer internship programmes have been run in local MO’s in July and August 2011. This programme elevated the workload of the sabbatical officers, allowed the students involved to gain valuable insights into the running of an organisation and development of essential generic skills and the cost to run the programme was very low. Work included website development, national policy reviews, campaign planning and class representative system review.

Congress mandates:

The President to co-ordinate a summer internship programme to be completed by September 30th 2012 in consultation with MO’s who have successful run programmes.

 

12 UO 6         QUALITY REVIEW OF USI

Congress notes:

The strategic and quality review mandate (10/UO 1) for the President is a valuable exercise in evaluating the position, strategic direction and fitness for purpose of USI

Congress believes:

Quality reviews should include a self-assessment report as well as a peer review exercise.

Congress further notes:

Such a review should focus on the both the strategic and operational structures of USI.

Congress mandates:

A quality Review of USI to include a self-assessment report and peer review group visit to be completed by March 31st 2013 and presented to Congress 2013. The peer review group is to include but not be limited to;

  • One former Officer Board Member
  • One Officer from an NUS UK CM
  • One student (non-sabbatical) from an affiliated Union
  • One Sabbatical Officer from an affiliated Union
  • One student from a non-affiliated college

 

 

12 UO 7         FURTHER EDUCATION STUDENT REPRESENTATION

Congress notes:

That the provisions in the proposed Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill 2011 would create a single agency from the functions previously assigned to HETAC, FETAC, NQAI and IUQB. This consolidation impacts on student representation as USI should be recognised as the sole national student representative body for students at all levels and in each sector of further and higher education.

Congress notes:

That work has progressing by recent Education Officers and Area Officer in the field of Further Education Student Representation, but that this Union currently is ill-equipped to deal with the significant demands that this places on the Union.

Congress asserts and acknowledges:

Its moral obligation to provide the means for students in Further Education to represent themselves to their own institutions, to national agencies, and to this Union to the same extent

as students in higher education.

Congress therefore mandates:

The VP for AA & QA to organise the creation of a Further Education Student Representative Sub-group of USI, made up of officers of Students’ Unions, Representative Committees and Guilds in colleges of further education nationally. This Sub-group will be responsible for the promotion of, affiliation of, training, development and liaison between the Union and students in Further Education.

Congress further mandates:

The Education Officer and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance Elect to develop a five year implementation strategy for USI’s FE sub-group, leading towards a fully autonomous FE campaign within USI, if appropriate at the end of that five year period.

Congress acknowledges:

Its own dearth of experience or expertise in this field, and

Congress additionally mandates:

The President to allocate staff resources, as resources permit, to professionally manage this strategy, implement its recommendations and deliver its aims until such a time as the Union may elect a person to perform this role.

 

12 UO 8         USI PUBLICATION

Congress notes:

That USI has longstanding difficulties communicating directly with its members.

Congress further notes:

The difficulties caused by this lack of communication in terms of accountability and getting students involved in campaigns.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President and the Officerboard to create a regular, professional standard publication, to inform students about the activities of the Union and events in the Higher Education Sector, to be distributed in time for Freshers Weeks in MOs, and to continue publication of issues until the end of the first semester when a cost/benefit analysis shall take place.

 

12 UO 9                     PROMOTING THE USI

Congress notes:

The good work done by the Officer Board of the Union of Students in Ireland in promoting student rights and views and in advancing the student movement across the country.

 

Congress notes with concern:

That many ordinary members of Union of Students in Ireland are unaware of much of the work done by their national union and in many cases are unaware of whom their national elected representatives are

Congress notes:

That the Union of Students in Ireland attends and addresses all Class Representative

Trainings in each of the Member Organisations, however this represents a small cohort of our members

Congress mandates: 

The Vice President for Campaigns, the Vice President for the Border, Midlands and Western Region and the Vice President for the Southern Region to run a comprehensive USI awareness campaign for ordinary students incorporating Town Hall Meetings detailing the structures, purpose and functions of the USI and including information on the members of Officer Board for the next three years.

Congress further mandates:

The Officer Board to produce a short monthly report for the next three years which shall detail the current achievements, objectives and the month ahead in the Union of Students in Ireland to uploaded on a monthly basis to the USI website and links will be available from the various forms of social media used by the USI and circulated to all Member Organisations for optional inclusion on their website or in their union publications.

 

12 UO 10      PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE USI

Congress notes:

The importance of producing promotional goods to promote the USI in each Member Organisation.

Congress further notes:

The importance of producing these goods in a timely fashion to coincide with Freshers Weeks across the country.

Congress mandates:

The Vice President for Campaigns, the Vice President for the Border, Midlands and Western Region and the Vice President for the Southern Region to produce such goods by the end of July for the next 3 years.

 

 

12 UO 11      ACCESS & INCLUSIVITY

Congress notes:

That this year USI has made a conscious effort to create an inclusive working environment to all Officers.

Congress further notes:

How important it is to be at the forefront of an access and inclusivity for all officers.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President to ensure that USI continues to ensure that it achieves appropriate and reasonable accommodations for all.

 

12 UO 12      MATURE STUDENTS CONFERENCE

 

Congress notes:

The increase in the number of mature students returning to 3rd level education, and welcomes the national mature student conference held this year.

Congress further notes:

The national mature student conference will have less of an impact on mature students if it is held near the end of semester 2.

Congress therefore mandates:

The VP Equality and Citizenship Officer to hold the mature student conference in Semester 1.

 

12 UO 13      VIDEO DEBATES

Congress notes:

The increased level of interest amongst our grass root members in USI and the election process for new Officerboard candidates.

Congress further notes:

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union hold a very open and public Election Process that is well documented and welcomes interaction from all members along with a debate between candidates held.

Congress therefore mandates:

USI Elections Subcommittee to organise video debates between Officerboard candidates at least 2 weeks prior to the Election at Annual Congress.

12 UO 14      COMMUNICATION WITH MEMBERSHIP

Congress notes:

The lack of direct communication USI and its officers have with its members.

Congress believes:

That students will feel a greater part of USI and that they are receiving sufficient benefit from their membership fee if USI Officerboard regularly communicate with and inform the general student body of the work they are doing.

Therefore congress mandates:

That the President, Vice Presidents and Area Officers make and publish online videos detailing their work. These videos shall be published at least once per month.

 

12 UO 15      ESTABLISHMENT OF A USI WORKING GROUP FOR MEMBER ORGANISATION ADMINISTRATORS

Congress notes:

That USI provides many opportunities for Students’ Unions to learn from one another, and share experiences, leading to a stronger student movement nationally.

Congress further notes:

That staff provide invaluable support and continuity to Students’ Unions throughout the country, often with a breadth of knowledge, which stretches over many years.

Congress notes with regret:

That at present, there is no USI forum by which staff of Students’ Unions can share information and experiences, for the benefit of Students’ Unions and the student body.

Congress mandates:

The President to establish a working group of USI, which shall have membership consisting of the staff of each Member Organisation. The working group shall be chaired by a member of USI staff and shall regulate its own affairs, but shall operate within the policies and procedures of USI.

 

12 UO 16      ONLINE PROMOTION & WEB DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

Congress notes:

The importance of an effective online presence in today’s world of social media and daily internet users.

 

 

Congress regrets:

The attempts thus far made by USI to take advantage of the internet have been far from effective most notably the poor website layout and Facebook followers.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President and VP Campaigns to compose an online promotion and web development strategy by October 1st 2012 and report to Congress 2013 on the implementation progress.

 

12 UO 17      CROSSOVER TRAINING

Congress notes:

The crossover period for incoming and outgoing officers is a significant training for the preparation for incoming officers.

Congress further notes:

USI have a national council in June, which has the potential to facilitate appropriate training for outgoing officer in how best they can prepare their own crossover with the incoming officer.

Congress recognizes:

The importance of UOS as it provides important preparation for incoming officers and allows them to grow in confidents in their new role.

Congress mandates:

USI President and Officerboard to develop a crossover programme at the last national council every year to best prepare outgoing officers in delivering their own crossover.

This motion shall apply for 3 years.

 

12 UO 19      LGBT SOCIETIES

Congress notes: 

That the LGBT societies are the main source of contact and support for LGBT students.

Congress also notes:

The great work done by USI in providing Pink Training which supports the LGBT community.

Congress believes;

That this training is a great advert for USI reaching out to students across the country.

Congress also believes:

That all LGBT students (and indeed many non LGBT students) could benefit from attending Pink Training.

Congress therefore mandates:

The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship to make contact with all LGBT societies about Pink Training at least 4 weeks prior to the date for the event, and offer non-affiliate rates directly to the society where relevant.

 

12 UO 20      EQUALITY CAMPAIGN LAUNCH & HANDBOOK

Congress welcomes:

The creation of the new role of the Equality and Citizenship Officer.

Congress believes;

That the creation of this new role will provide USI with the opportunity to reshape and rebrand the USI Equality campaign.

Congress believes:

It is vitally important to raise awareness of the Equality campaign within USI and among the organisations and community groups that the Equality and Citizenship Officer will be liaising and working with.

Congress mandates:

The Equality and Citizenship Officer to organise an official re-launch event for the USI Equality campaign this autumn no later than November 1st.

Congress mandates:

The Equality and Citizenship Officer to fulfil the previous mandate of creating an Equality Handbook (09/UO 29) and to have this handbook ready to distribute at this launch.

Congress mandates:

The Equality and Citizenship Officer to ensure that representatives from all relevant organisations are invited to attend this launch.

 

12 UO 21      SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

Congress notes:

The significant increase in the use of social media globally and as an organisation USI has lagged behind in using social media as a communications tool with its members.

Congress commends:

The on-going work by Officerboard and the social media working group in the creation of a social media strategy that will bridge the gap between where the organisation is and where it should be, to be working to the best of its ability.

Congress mandates:

The incoming officer boards over the next three years to implement the social media strategy when they start their positions with each member of Officerboard interacting on a daily basis with the USI social media outlets. This would include but not exclusively the VP of regional developments and the VP of campaigns keeping the news on each forum current with pictures of all relevant events that take place.

 

12 UO 22      ÓGRA CONFERENCE

Congress notes:

The diverse range of political parties that exist in Ireland and acknowledges that many of these parties have Ógra branches operating in our members organisations.

Congress acknowledges:

That such a diverse organisation as USI represents members with a wide variety of political opinions and beliefs.

Congress mandates:

The President or Vice President Campaign of USI to attend all Ógra Conferences for the next three years when invited to do so for the next three years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 UO 1         MONEY MANAGEMENT TRAINING

Congress notes:

That student poverty and student financial difficulty has been more prevalent in the last 2 years than in previous years.

Congress further notes:

The complexity of financial difficulties can make it difficult for local welfare officers to provide accurate, useful information without proper training.

Congress mandates the Welfare Officer:

To provide money management training to the welfare officers at UOS or at an alternative date before the beginning of the Academic term.

 

11 UO 2         CONSTITUENT ORGANISATION CONSULTATION

Congress notes:

The federal composition of USI.

Congress further notes:

That each constituent organisation is independent and autonomous.

Congress therefore mandates Officer Board:

To liaise and seek permission of individual Cos when asked publicly about local institutional issues.

 

11 UO 3         LOBBY OF THE OIREACHTAS/PRE BUDGET SUBMISSION

Congress notes:

That USI puts forward Lobby of the Oireachtas and Pre-Budget Submission documents every year.

Congress further notes:

The importance of these two documents to the national union and national campaign.

Congress mandates the President:

To establish a taskforce at the first national council to advise the President on issues for inclusion for these documents.

 

11 UO 4         FINANCE GUIDE

Congress notes:

The increase in financial difficulties among students which are likely to be faced by Welfare Officers over the coming years due to the economic downturn and recent austerity Budgets.

Congress further notes:

The challenges and complications facing CO’s in dealing with the many issues surrounding student finance.

Congress therefore mandates the Education and Welfare Officer:

To produce a finance guide for local CO’s which details the grants system, assistance funding, welfare entitlements and other relevant information.

11 UO 5         MEMBERSHIP WORKING GROUP

Congress notes:

That with the election of a new Government USI have 3 years to the next Local Elections and possibly 5 years to the next General Election, and thus a longer period before voter pressure can force pro-student concessions from political parties seeking election.

Congress believes:

That this period should be used for reviewing how USI engage and interact with its membership, with the view to creating a strong unified and informed student body that identifies itself with their national union as much as with their local CO.

Congress mandates USI Officer Board:

To create a Membership Working Group reporting to National Council, which would be allowed to co-opt people outside of the USI membership that may be of strategic importance in carrying out its work.

 

11 UO 6         TRAINING FOR PROTEST STEWARDS

Congress notes:

That USI have organised two large student protests over the past three years.

Congress further notes:

That 42,000 students marched on the Education not Emigration March, which exceeded expected numbers by almost 20,000.

Congress notes with concern:

That the students chosen as stewards by some colleges lacked the training and cohesion to deal with those kind of numbers.

Congress therefore Mandates Officer Board:

USI to consult with an events management company to draft a stewarding policy suitable for all major protests and events, to be presented to National Council before August 2011.

Congress Further mandates Officer Board:

To ensure that this policy includes recommendations with regard to the dissemination of this training to all stewards.

 

11 UO 7         STEERING MEMBERS

Congress notes:

That Steering committee are very dedicated to the organisation and to its successful running. In order to ensure that there are active steering members there needs to be a proactive approach from Officer Board to encourage and foster networks with past expertise from the organisation so that institutional memory is still accessible to the organisation.

Congress mandates the deputy president:

To actively pursue new steering members in times of steering election and that they actively promote a network with ex USI officers.

 

11 UO 8         FRESHERS’ PACKS

Congress notes:

That Students’ Unions across the country distribute packs of sample products under the name “Freshers’ Packs” to their incoming members as a gesture of welcome and as a positive first impression of the benefits of membership of their local Union.

Congress notes with concern:

The quality of product distributed by suppliers in recent years has been falling steadily, and the contents of many of the packs have included unsuitable material for students’ unions.

Congress further notes:

The ongoing challenge of USI in articulating its purpose and existence to grass-roots members before major national campaigns.

Congress therefore mandates the President and Officerboard:

To investigate the possibility of sourcing the materials, supplying and distributing “Freshers’ Packs” to COs by September 2011 for consideration at the first National Council of the 2011 / 2012 academic year.

 

 

11 UO 9         PAYMENT OF AFFILIATION FEES

Congress notes:

That USI has numerous affiliated colleges.

Congress further notes:

That there are a minority of colleges who choose not to pay the USI affiliation fee.

Congress mandates Officer Board:

To investigate the plausibility of sanctions, including but not exclusive to, suspension or expulsion of those colleges from USI.

 

 

10 UO 10      AREA OFFICER ROLE

Congress recognizes:

The difficulty for both COs and Area Officers in defining the role of the Area Officer and utilizing it to its full potential.

Congress believes:

That in order for the role to be successful, the onus should be on both the Officer themselves and on COs. However, this is difficult as there are no definite guidelines as to what an Area Officer‟s role is.

The following should be the minimum expected from an Area Officer:

  • A minimum of one visit to each CO in between National Councils.
  • A minimum of one week‟s notice to COs about this visit (unless CO requests Area Officer in a shorter period of time).
  • Union of Students in Ireland Annual Congress 2010 Comhdhail Bhliaintuil Aontas na Mac Leinn in Eirinn 2010 – 30 – – 30 –
  • To organise a number of bonding events throughout the year. This should be approved by all COs and ensure that all are available to attend. And if all COs cannot attend, that those not available are happy the event takes place without them.
  • To assist COs whenever requested in the run up to or during campaigns.
  • To organise a number of regional councils during the year – the calendar of these should be agreed on at the first Regional Council of the year.
  • That when requested, the Area Officer will attend Class Councils to update class reps on what USI has been doing and what the future plans of the USI are. COs are asked to invite the Area Officers to at least two Class Councils in the year.
  • To speak to the media on behalf of the region and act as the main spokesperson on issues effecting students of their relevant area.
  • To provide a detailed weekly report on their activities, both to COs and the President and Deputy President.
  • To assist the Deputy President in organizing any protests or rallies, which COs have requested.
  • To keep Officers based in HQ informed of the issues and activities happening in their area.
  • To give an adequate cross over consisting of any further advice gained from holding office to their successor outlining issues which may be ongoing in certain COs, the main issues they face as an officer that year and how best to interact with their COs.

 

Congress therefore mandates:

The Area Officer to outline their role to their COs at the first regional council of the year.

 

10 UO 19      MANIFESTO UPDATES

Congress notes:

Important issues highlighted in the manifestos of elected members of officer board can be neglected as the year progresses.

Congress also notes:

The importance USI members place on the strength of the leadership of USI officer board and much of their confidence in an individual stems from the issues they pledge to attack/defend/promote in their manifestos.

Congress mandates:

Each member of officer board to outline the progress they have made on their manifesto issues at national council twice annually.

 

10 UO 21      CAMPAIGN HISTORY

Congress notes:

USI has a long and proud tradition when it comes to running effective campaigns which gather media attention and brings our issues to national attention.

Congress also notes:

We rely on anecdotal memory of what photo stunts/campaign strategies have been used in the past. Often the issues are the same for example, fees, equal rights etc.

Congress mandates:

The Deputy President to compile a database of previous campaigns under relevant headings. By doing this, we are building on our knowledge of what USI has achieved to date. Also, we can learn from what media campaigns have worked in the past and why.

 

10 UO 26      UNION ORGANISATION

Congress notes:

That it is essential that each constituent organisation of USI can hold USI Officer Board to account.

Congress further notes:

That the current system of accountability is not adequate in ensuring that each member of

Officer Board is meeting their mandates.

Congress believes:

That in the same way that Higher Education Institutes should offer a quality assurance scheme to its students; USI should provide its own quality assurance scheme as part of this effort for greater accountability.

Congress mandates:

Officer Board to establish a system of accountability, as detailed below, as part of an effort to improve accountability and quality assurance across the organisation.

Once elected, each member of Officer Board should present the first sitting of National Council with a plan of work for the year ahead, complete with key milestones and targets and displayed on a Gantt Chart, as is the industry standard for project management. This plan of work should reflect the policies laid down in the USI Policy Manual together with the tasks implied in the officer‟s job description and these should be prioritised accordingly.

The National Council have the option to accept the proposed plan of work , or reject it in which case the officer must return to the next National Council with a new proposal.

Progress on each item against the original plan of work must then be made known to all Constituent Organisations by means of a newsletter from each member of Officer Board on a fortnightly basis.

Failure to meet these targets, within 20 percent of the overall time allocation of each item, should then result in the Officer being held to account at the next sitting of National Council, The Officer will be fully entitled to due process in line with Article 5.8 of the USI Constitution and the law of the land.

Article 5.8 USI Constitution

The right of the students, through their Constituent Organisation, to call to account and instruct those charge with office, within the Union, to discipline and ultimately dismiss those who fail to carry out their responsibilities.

 

 

 

 

09 UO 11      PART TIME OFFICER NETWORKS

Congress notes:

That issues which come under the remit of the part-time officers are highly important in the operation and relevance of the Union.

Congress acknowledges:

That any campaign is at its strongest when coherent and presenting a unified message, and that the sharing of ideas and methods between CO’s leads to a mutual improvement of campaigns throughout the country.

Congress thus mandates:

The Officers to compile a list of their respectively similar Officers in CO’s throughout the country, as well as national and international institutions and agencies who operate in their respective areas of interest, and to establish forums for Officers in all CO’s to network and share their opinions and experiences for their mutual betterment.