Page 1

One year on

Do student activists need to become more radical?

Jack Leahy on last year’s campaign p3

FEE and Dan O’Neill pages 7 & 10

The University Times

RTÉ’s Joe Duffy, TCDSU President 1979

What do we want from third level education? Professor Ferdinand von Prondzinsky p12

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THIRD LEVEL IN IRELAND www.universitytimes.ie

Meeting the Minister Rory O’Donovan interviews Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn


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The University Times Third Level in Ireland | Tuesday, November 15 2011

SOUNDBITES

Facing down the inevitable Before this year’s general election, the national newspapers informed us that Ireland had lost its economic sovereignty. It was, and is, a serious claim to make and it wasn’t comprehendable to many Irish people. The Irish Times’s editorial “Was it for this?” seemed hyperbolic in its effort to compel us to feel shame for what we’d done with the legacy of Connolly, Collins and de Valera. We’d just experienced the most prosperous fifteen years in the republic’s history, yet here we were being told that our independce was secured for nought - squandered by our greed and consumerism. It’s clear now that the headlines were not exaggerating, that we are entirely beholden to the terms and conditions set by those who control the nation’s cash flow. Rory O’Donovan’s interview with Ruairí Quinn illustrates how stark the situation is from a third level point of view. The upcoming budget will be harsh, and the Minister has no choice but to make it so. The solvency of this country depends on the government meeting targets set down by the ECB. While it’s encouraging that the Minister is no longer ruling out the introduction of a loan scheme, it seems that this will not offset the increases he has to make to the student contribution as he does his part to make up the shortfall in public finances. We’ll have to adjust, Quinn says. A Labour politician since the early 1970s, Quinn doesn’t say this lightly. Ideologically opposed to the student contribution but with hands bound by his superiors in Brussels, Quinn now cuts an apologetic figure. In his appearance on “Prime Time” last Thursday, Quinn nodded along with almost everything USI President Gary Redmond said as Redmond cut the legs from under him. Even if this was just a habit developed to appear agreeable on television, Quinn’s retorts were lightweight at best. “Circumstances have changed... We’re no longer in control of

our finances... People will have to adjust.” In some respects, one is tempted to sympathise with Quinn. He has taken over the State’s third largest department at a time of unprecedented financial strife while saddled with the aforementioned ideolgical leanings which would normally lead him to indulge in ill-advised spending sprees. Simply put, the aims of the Labour Party are not well suited to the course of action being prescribed by the ECB. However, Quinn knew the financial reality when he signed the pledge not to increase the student contribution or cut the grant. He now claims that this pledge was signed on the assumption that Labour would lead the government. But Fine Gael made the same promises as Labour in their election manifesto. One only has to look to pages 37 and 38 to see that Fine Gael pledged “not [to] increase the student registration fee further.” Moreover, they said that “As the student contribution model begins to return funds to the third level sector, we will phase out the student registration fee as an upfront charge.” Yet here we are. Facing into a bleak winter and a budget that will likely herald a more significant increase in fees than we have seen thus far. An increase that could finally break the will of those who were on the margins. Those who, until now, had borne each increase by taking on a job or commuting from home or drastically cutting down on weekly expenditure. This budget might be the difference for them. They’re facing down the inevitable. Ronan Costello, Editor

Michael Collins, the first Minister for Finance, had more room for manoeuvre than Michael Noonan has today. And it’ll be like that until 2015. Ruairí Quinn on Ireland’s economic sovereignty.

There is no such thing as ‘free’ higher education. Someone always has to pay for it, and the question is who that should be and how that will shape our universities and colleges. Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski on fees.

It is time for tough decisions, but intelligent tough decisions not kneejerk responses like penalising 17 and 18-year olds who aspire to educate themselves. IFUT’s Mike Jennings on the decisions being made.

CONTENTS

Page 3 USI hoping for large turnout, despite student criticism Leanna Byrne reports on the expectations for the Nov 16th march Page 4-5 Marching to the same tune Jack Leahy on the “Education not Emigration” campaign and how this year’s campaign compares thus far Page 6 Tracing the brief history of free fees Tomás Sullivan traces the rise of the fee from 1996 until present day Page 7 Radical action needed to turn back the tide FEE’s Nicky O’Donnell on the methods of Free Education for Everyone

Page 8-9 No avoiding the pain anymore Features Editor Rory O’Donovan interviews Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn Page 10 Student activists need to start new debate Former USI Deputy President Dan O’Neill says that student activists need to change how they campaign if any progress is to be made The road to hell is paved with free fees SU-badgerer Max Sullivan makes the case for fees Page 11 Dark times for Trinity in rankings Trinity Economics Professor, John O’Hagan, discusses Trinity’s slide down the university rankings

Page 12 What do we want from third level education? Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynsky writes about the necessity for a clear vision of what third level education should provide Page 13 It’s time to find the money IFUT’s Mike Jennings, representing university teachers in Ireland, says that the sector has gone underfunded for long enough

Page 14-15 The foreign perspective Deputy Editor Rónán Burtenshaw reports on the student protests that have gripped Latin America and how Australian students have dealt with education reforms

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USI hoping for large turnout, despite student criticism »» Unions expecting thousands of students to march from Parnell Sq »» No information coming from the government on plans for budget Leanna Byrne News Editor

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HE UNION OF Students in Ireland (USI) have called on students across the country to take part in the National Protest on November 16th to show their support for the “Stop the Fees, Save the Grant” campaign which aims to protect access to third level education. The protest is set to assemble at Parnell Square and from there students will march to Government Buildings. A number of speakers will speak outside after the march. In addition, students have been asked to bring their tents for a sleep-out on Marlborough Street to draw more attention to the fight against college fees. However, plans for the the sleep-out have been unclear because of a delay in the campaign due to a lack of response from the government until now. The sleep-out will be staged as a separate part of the protest. USI will also be ensuring that student representatives play their part and make sure students maintain a “clean image” during the protest. In an interview with The University Times Student Union President Ryan Bartlett claimed difficulties that arose during the “Education, Not Emigration” march were because plans were not enforced by certain representatives. “Hopefully no issues with alcohol or anything will come about because people will have made a conscious decision to come, so they won’t let down the rest of the students. The plans for last year were fine, but we had to look at the people who were supposed to be enforcing the plan.” The national protest is the next step in USI’s bid to draw attention to the question of student fees. Last year’s campaign forced TDs to oppose

“all cuts to the Higher Level Maintenance Grant”. This year, following intense media speculation surrounding possible further increase to college fees and additional cuts to grants, USI contacted all government TDs, but none were willing to commit to their previous promises. In response, USI rapidly divised the “Stop the Fees, Save the Grant” campaign and urged students to contact their local TDs. “What we’ve been talking about is letting TDs know what effects this increase would have,” said Bartlett. “There needs to be more attention drawn back to it. What the reality students are now facing is an upfront registration fee and how much that’s going to be. With the march, we hope that the government will pay attention and go back and maybe do more research so they can really understand the changes.” The Student Union President was hopeful that there would be a good turnout of Trinity students even though the information that TCDSU and USI have been able to gather has been limited. “We’ve been trying to find as much information for students across the country. When a Trinity student goes, it’s because they have knowledge of it and they’ve made a conscious decision as to why they’re going. Hopefully we’ll be able to get that information out as quickly as possible. It’s coming out, but slowly.” Nevertheless, there are students that have opposed the march. Fionnán Howard, M.Sc Mathematics, has recently created the event “Stop wasting time USI, propose a workable fees system” to highlight that many students are not in agreement with USI’s stance on fees. “Personally, I fear that by refusing to even consider any guise of students fees, the USI is selling out the students as

A sign and an “Education not Emigration” t-shirt hanging from a building on O’Connell Street for the November 3rd march last year. well as misrepresenting what many students really think,” explained Howard. “By doing this they are rejecting literally an infinite amount of possibilities with regard to changing how the government funds third level education. Unfortunately their voice is the only one being

heard by the government and when push comes to shove in the December budget, I fear that they will be ignored because they refuse to negotiate. Given that student fees are to be addressed in the upcoming budget, I think the most productive and logical solution lies somewhere

in between and I’m severely disappointed that they won’t acknowledge that and act accordingly; in the best interests of students.” Despite objections to the march, Bartlett still urges Trinity students to attend. Although he agreed that USI do need to come up with a

solution to college fees, he emphasised that this march was to make the government listen and to negotiate with students rather than leaving them in the dark.


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Marching to the same tune Another year, another march. Last year’s march was lauded as a success, both for the numbers that attended and the effect it was claimed to have had. Here, Jack Leahy analyses the “Education not Emigration” campaign of 2010

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N RECENT YEARS of financial discomfort, the debate over third level fees has become part of Ireland annual pre-budget discourse. Should we opt for a graduate tax? How do we maintain access to education while ensuring our universities are adequately resourced? To what extent does the current fees system perform the social equalisation it purports? This time last year, The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) was sure of its answers to all of the above and more: government proposals to increase the registration fee to €3000 would mean that students would have no other option than to drop out of College. The lack of a graduate employment system in Ireland would see soaring emigration rates continue to increase, and the inefficient and insufficient grant system would be even less capable of providing for less well-off students than it already was. It was under these broadened heading that USI, in consultation with the Students’ Unions of all Irish universities, launched its ‘Education not Emigration’ campaign, the major demonstration of which was to be a march from the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square to Government Buildings on November 3rd. In the lead-up to the march, USI mobilised students to action by asking them to consider how many of their friends and classmates could not afford to attend College next year

should the registration fee double. They warned students that if they did not make their voice heard, the government would regard them as ‘soft targets’ for cuts. They called upon the government to ‘[set] in motion actions that will reignite the smart economy’. At this stage, officers of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) were still operating under a mandate to ‘oppose the reintroduction of fees under any guise’. Mandates are issued by representatives at Council by means of a vote on a

gain momentum with the launch of www.tellyourtd.ie, a facility through of which students were encouraged to make use to write to their local TD and threaten to cast their votes elsewhere should their elected representative support an increase in the student contribution. Email and telephone details for all 166 TDs were made available by students’ unions so that students could make their voice heard as much as possible. With the logistics of the polemic centrepiece in place, TCDSU set about informing representatives of the finer details of the campaign and encourag ing mass participation in the national protest. As an alternative to the protest, Junior Sophister English student and University Times sub-editor Max Sullivan promoted a ‘National go to College Day’ via Facebook, playing on student concerns about the legitimacy of missing class to participate but also in criticism of the way in which the campaign was run. Further criticisms were articulated on the eve of the march; in her editorial in the November 2nd issue of Trinity News, Editor Aoife Crowley slammed the sensationalist nature of the campaign, pointing to numerous examples of hyperbole and poor communication on the part of USI. She asked whether the organisation ‘want us to march against emigration, or for the aim they have stated’, and concluded that while the

Old ideas and been-there buzz phrases are being shamelessly recycled motion and are valid for a period of two years following the end of the academic year in which they were issued. This meant that there was no question as to TCDSU’s participation in the campaign and, as the students’ union of leading university in the country, it took on a key role in the national campaign and the protest march. USI President Gary Redmond and then Deputy President Cónan Ó Broin were invited to class rep training to speak to TCDSU officers and representatives, and in what one officer described as a ‘doomsday speech’, they laid bare the cold hard facts that were to form the basis of campaign rhetoric. The campaign began to

A Above: Students at the Department of Finance sit-in, which was broken up by Gardaí and led to violent altercations outside the Department buildings. Below: Trinity students gather in Front Square before joining up with the other participating third level institutions.


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A student is knocked to the ground in the fracas that developed outside the Department of Finance. crux of the pursuit was noble, students could not afford ‘to be represented by an organisation that allows [them] to be ignored’ by sensationalist press releases and propensity for overstatement. On the day of the protest, however, the detractors were proven to be very much in the minority as an estimated 40,000 students descended upon the Garden of Remembrance to demonstrate against any further increase in the student contribution. Dublin City Centre was awash with yellow, red, and a steadfast anti-fee sentiment whose underlying passion was not to be tempered by the miserable conditions. The march itself was a largely peaceful and well-organised event tainted by images in the national media of a small number of rogue marchers clashing with police and the occupation of the Department of Finance by 50

protesters. Two men in their 20s were arrested for criminal damage and a breach of the peace amid condemnations and disassociations from USI President Redmond and accusations of Garda violence from the Socialist Workers Student Party. It was at this point that, much to the ire of many students, the USI campaign seemed to come to a halt. w w w.educationnotemigration.ie, operated by USI, was last updated the week before the march took place, and the staunch and unwavering declarations seemed to come to a grinding halt as soon as students washed off the face paint and returned to class. A small group of Trinity students not directly associated with USI addressed lectures in the following week to urge students to continue the fight against fees, but further efforts were soon abandoned when it became clear that the

collective desire to supplement USI-led campaigning did not exist among the student body. As is usually the case in student politics, detractors existed in large numbers. Many were confused as to the direct correlation between funding in third level education and emigration and the veracity of the dichotomy presented to them, and others lambasted the hyperbole of USI press releases and rhetoric. These were by no means illegitimate worries, but the finite measure of the success of a campaign is to be found in the ultimate decisions made in consideration of its agenda. In that respect, USI have reason to reflect positively upon their pre-Budget campaign. With the Fianna FáilGreens government acutely aware of its encroaching mortality, there can be no doubt that the physical

mobilisation of 40,000 students and the threat of tens of thousands more to vote against the ruling parties was a decisive factor in the minds of two political organisations staring into the abyss of electoral wipe-out. The bottom line is that the numbers who pinned their own colours to the red and yellow of Education not Emigration do not belong to a campaign whose sentiment did not have serious clout among students in Ireland. The verdict delivered on December 8th 2010, an increase of €500 per student to €2000 in registration fees, was not a defeat for the antiincrease ethos of the campaign, but rather a victory in the sense that Gary Redmond and co. knew that a fee of €3000 per student was a real possibility when the campaign began. Indeed, in an interview with University Times news editor Leanna

Byrne this year, Redmond asserted that ‘Education not Emigration’ was the sole deciding factor in ensuring that the registration fee was not 50% higher. This year, everything is different. Bailout-issuing International Monetary Fund influence on Irish fiscal policy compromises the sovereignty of the upcoming budget, and there is the growing worry that the Fine Gael-Labour coalition will transfer national blame for a crippling budget to the intangible figure of the international monetary authority and, by association, the previous government. The same electoral angst that haunted Brian Cowen’s cabinet will not be an immediate concern of Enda Kenny and Eamonn Gilmore. The figure under discussion for the registration fee is now €5000, which would make an increase to €3000 a desirable option in

deceptive relative terms. A not inconsiderable number of students have softened from a position of anti-fees to support for a fee-paying system that maintains access for the country’s poorest. Perhaps the only thing that hasn’t changed is the campaign. When USI came to class rep training this year, there was a sense among representatives that old ideas and been-there buzz-phrases are being shamelessly recycled to oppose a new danger that requires a new impetus and a new urgency. wWill the same numbers be moved to write to their TDs and hit the streets on November 16th? Perhaps a more pressing question is whether or not the same numbers would even be enough to halt a significant rise in third-level fees.


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The University Times Third Level in Ireland | Tuesday, November 15 2011

Tracing the brief history of free fees Tomas Sullivan Deputy Features Editor

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HE REPLACEMENT OF thousands of pounds of tuition fees with a paltry ‘student services’ fee of around €190 took effect in 1996. The labour party was as influential as it has ever been, with the exception of this year, having just shafted their coalition partners Fianna Fail, and established the rainbow coalition. Niamh Breathnach, the Labour education minister compared it to the introduction of free primary and secondary education by Donagh O’Malley in 1967, citing how attendance at second level rose by over 80,000 in that instance. She said fees were the most straightforward solution towards creating equality of access to universities, stating, ‘Abolishing fees will have a tremendous psychological impact. Education will be seen as a right, not a privilege’. The USI were ‘thrilled’ at the news. But even then the writing was on the wall. Our then Provost said universities were underfunded and abolition would ‘increase competition for non-existant places’. At the same time teachers voiced outrage at an increase of the state grant for each primary school child of just £2 to £40 and an increase in

second level of £7 per pupil. With little investment being made in increasing places or helping all citizens reach the standards of university entry, the only possibility of access to university being opened up was the trusty old ‘psychological impact’. This simply never materialised. On top of this, in 1997 Fianna Fail predictably took back power, and they had an indifferent and sometimes hostile attitude to this annoying new policy, introduced in their absence. But free tuition fees was now a ‘right’ and student opposition led to the compromise which has dissatisfied both the government and students to date: ‘fees by the back door’, the ever rising registration fee. In 1997 the fee became £250. The defence given was ‘student services’. This grew slowly and was €391 by 2001. That same year the Clancy report, commissioned by the HEA, showed disadvantaged students were still underrepresented. The economy also grew unhealthy, meaning cuts were marginally more acceptable than before. Minister Noel Dempsey raised the fee by 70% for the year 2002-2003, without consulting students as the HEA suggested. On top of this he criticised Labour on the failure of free fees to achieve their

Labour Councillor Niamh Breathnach, above, introduced free fees as Minister for Education in 1996. stated purpose and argued that the money saved could be invested in second level education. In Feburary 2003 between 8,000 and 10,000 students marched on the Dail, ‘free fees’ were not scrapped, and the registration fee only rose to €750 the next year. Protests continued in 2004. The Department of Education was occupied for a short period by students in August, and Limerick

students staged a march in October. The economy improved substantially. University funding still wasn’t a priority in the 2005 budget. But the times were good again and the registration fee would remain dormant for the next few years, until the next recession hit. In 08/09, my own freshman year, it was €900. Batt O’Keffe was the object of student venom at that time. There was a huge march on the Dail,

July Registration fee: €396 to

€670

FEES TIMELINE Free fees

Registration Fee =

£250

(almost 70%) Minister Noel Dempsey introduces this sudden increase

Fianna Fail returns to power.

with Eamon Gilmore cheering us on from a platform in Merrion Square. But an election was years away and the fee rose by €600 to €1500 for 09/10, even if it did not rise during 10/11. Last year was relatively successful for the USI. A 100% increase in the registration fee was avoided. Minister Ruairi Quinn signed a pledge before the election to not introduce any new fees. But history tells us that

Hunt report on education highlights huge underfunding in universities and recommends fees. 2010: Student contribution raised to

95/96 Registration fee is around

Labour ends coalition with Fianna Fail and negotiates a new coalition with Fine Gael.

97 01 €190

JANUARY Three USI officers occupy the department of Education, complaining about lack of consultation, overcrowding in universities and the maintenance grant system.

02 Clancy report commissioned by HEA says there is still underrepresentation of lower income families.

€2000

Plan to double registration fee not followed through after march of 10,000 students and ‘I am a vote’ campaign. 2009: Registration fee: €900 to

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the registration fee will continue to rise. The underlying causes have only grown: lack of university funding, lack of equality in our secondary and primary education, and the resulting narrow portion of society represented in our universities, despite the illustrious aims of ‘free fees’.

03

04

8,000 students people march on the Dail in opposition to fees.

€750

Registration fee rises to but ‘free fees’ remain in place.

€1500

09/10

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August: Students occupy Department of Education and Science October: Student protests in Limerick November: funding crisis leads to TCD, UCD and UCC heads to start restructuring academic departments

Future Labour education minister signs a pledge with USI to not introduce fees.

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Above: Ivana Bacik as President of TCDSU. Bacik, now a Senator, was arrested and appeared in court because she distributed literature on how to obtain an abortion. Left: The FEE led sit-in at the Dept of Finance last year.

Radical action needed to turn back the tide Free Education for Everone (FEE) present a realistic alternative to USI, writes Nicky O’Donnell

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EE IS A grassroots student activist group that has been campaigning against the neo-liberalisation of education for a number of years. From its beginnings in UCD, FEE has expanded to include other Dublin colleges including Trinity and Maynooth, but has also reached out as far as NUI Galway, IT Tralee and Queens University, Belfast. As the name suggests, we do not believe that students should be paying fees in any form for their education up to and including third level. Instead, this should be funded through a fair and progressive central taxation system which Ireland does not currently have. Grant payments and student supports also need to be increased to reflect the cost of living and ensure mature students are able to remain in or return to third level. We are opposed to the commercialisation of education in any form, particularly when it comes to the €80 million in subsidies the government gives to private schools each year, the exploitation of international students with exorbitant fees, and the privatisation of our campuses such as canteens and printing facilities. Just to illustrate one of many reasons why a complete scrappage of 3rd level fees is the minimum students should be calling for; this week the government paid 700 million Euro to anonymous unsecured bondholders. Th is would cover 3rd level fees for every student in the country liable for the registration charge for more than three years. From FEE’s perspective, the logical solution to the problem of public funding is to tax the rich and big business more. Instead, the government is forcing students and people on the lowest incomes to pay for a crisis created by bankers, speculative property developers and rich elites who continue to profit.

Just 1% of the Irish population now own 34% of the country’s wealth. Last year the 300 richest Irish individuals earned €6.7 Billion Euro and we even saw an increase of 5% in the number of millionaires and billionaires living in Ireland. Clearly, the gap between rich and poor is widening. We understand that achieving free education in this country is an incredibly difficult task and one thing is certain: the government will not be lobbied into submission. Lobbying has been the USI’s primary focus over the last five years where we’ve seen fees rise by 121% and the grant torn to shreds. Furthermore, the union effectively sold out by supporting a “freeze” of the current level of €2,000 fees in their latest lobby document. For this reason, their newest slogan “Stop Fees” is deliberately ambiguous, as it doesn’t necessarily mean calling for the existing student contribution to be abolished. It has been suggested by the USI that FEE is nothing more than a direct action group. Th is is nonsense. Yes, we agree with direct action, occupations and blockades, but we have very different perspectives in relation to what students should be demanding from the government. If those perspectives were adopted by the Union, we would stand a far greater chance of preventing this death-bya-thousand-cuts which the establishment is intent on forcing upon students. Instead, the USI leadership have presented “solutions” that would be worthy of any apologist from the parties implementing the cuts effecting their own members. While the USI continues to ignore FEE’s concerns all they have been able to achieve are backward steps. In a recent radio debate with Gary Redmond, I outlined an alternative to the USI lobbying policy: the mass movement of students for strike action and why it would be more effective. Redmond sat paralysed

“Liveline” presenter Joe Duffy was President of TCDSU in 1979. He was arrested and thrown in Mountjoy jail for two weeks after occupying a government building.

without an answer, and in almost forty minutes of radio failed to present a differing strategy to defeat fees. It should be very obvious at this point, that as long as we obediently continue to attend classes and protest outside of college hours, the government are free to ignore our demands. If a trade union fighting against attacks on working conditions asked their members to clock in from 9-5 and then protest outside of working hours, what pressure would their employers come under? The obvious answer is: none whatsoever, but this is what the USI are suggesting will be effective. Last year the union claimed that lobbying of the Green Party was effective in preventing fees rising to €3,000, but fees still increased by 33% and the grant was dramatically reduced. We cannot continue to claim backwards steps as moral victories and a government that is locked into a program of cuts handed down to it from the EU/ IMF/ECB troika cannot simply be negotiated with. In the next budget another increase in the fi nancial burden placed on students is inevitable whether it be a fee increase, a reduction in the Back to Education Allowance or some other austerity measure that will impact on student welfare. All FEE can do in the mean time is engage with students, patiently argue for our alternatives and hope to win over a majority of support. Until students understand the scale of the problem and more importantly, the scale of the response needed to defeat fees and grant cuts, then we are doomed to follow the UK in seeing the reintroduction of full third level fees.


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No avoiding the For years now students have been fighting against a rise in fees and cuts to the grant. It looks like the fight might finally be lost, because Europe said so. Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn speaks to Rory O’Donovan

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S I SAT down to discuss third-level funding with the Minister for Education I asked for ‘tea, two sugars, no fees’ and all of us in the room shared a knowing chuckle. Or in reality, I walked in, shook the Minister’s hand and was offered a seat; straight to business then, I thought, no chuckles. I was ushered into Ruairi Quinn’s office in the not unspectacular grounds of the department of education and science. Outside, in the impressive square all was in a mid-morning state of tranquillity, but in the Ministry office, the air was thick with deliberation. The time for making budgetary decisions is fast approaching. Minister Quinn is not new to the budgetary process. Ironically enough, he was Minister for Finance in 1996 when the free-fees system was endorsed and introduced under a coalition government that Labour formed part of. He has made important decisions before, often difficult ones. None will have been as difficult though as the decisions Quinn faces now. Enforced cuts spanning every department, a huge deficit and funding crises – none more so than in third-level education – mean Quinn in particular has some vital sums to do before December. How this man decides to balance the books, I mused as I got comfortable and produced my notes from my bag, will have a momentous impact on the lives of every student or burgeoning student in this country, for many it could mean the end of their education. How does the Minister feel about being called a Liar? I

asked. I referred to the USI’s latest campaign that saw full page advertisements taken out in two prominent national newspapers. They printed a picture of Quinn alongside the pledge he signed in February, a pledge he has since reneged. The headline was quite simply ‘LIARS’. ‘The word lie is one that I would dispute,’ he responded. Whilst at first he went on to outline that the pledge was signed ‘in the context of the Labour party being in a dominant position in the next government’, his further comments, expressing that, in reality, he and others had ‘no choice but to accept the framework of the agreement that was negotiated with the IMF’ were far more telling. One might have gripe with Quinn’s decisions, but no-one can disagree that the ‘change in landscape’ he depicts has – and will continue to have – a fundamental impact on decisions in every department. ‘We have to reduce expenditure. I have to reduce expenditure in the education system by 9% which amounts to taking out, in real money terms, something in the order of 3.6billion, possibly 3.8billion.’ These figures are frightening. Billions of euro currently being utilised in our education system are to be cut in the upcoming budget, at a time when population numbers in the education sector are growing. Cuts will be made, that is for sure. One thing that remains uncertain though is where the force of these cuts will be felt the hardest, with many predicting that the third-level sector of education will be amongst the hardest hit, with much of the financial burden falling

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn speaking to features editor Rory O’Donovan in the Minister’s office. on students. Quinn spoke of ‘trying to place the burden on those best able to carry it’ and identifying the sectors best able to ‘absorb additional reductions in funding’. What does this mean for third-level students? Are we being identified as those best able to carry this burden? ‘Again there’s a list of options that have been discussed and that are still being discussed. They won’t be easy. This country has lost its economic

sovereignty. There is only one place in the world where we can get money at rates that are not uxorious, and the ECB has effectively said yes, we will lend you money so that you can provide the services for nearly a million people in the education system, but as the famous radio and television ads say, terms and conditions apply’. Amongst the proposals on that list of options is a student-loan scheme, not unlike the system currently

functioning in the UK. Quinn suggested in an interview earlier this summer that he ‘ruled out a loan scheme in the short term’ but ‘it wasn’t necessarily picked up in that particular way’. Is a loan scheme out of the question then? ‘No,’ was the emphatic answer I received, but he underlined that, in the context of the budget, ‘a loan scheme doesn’t give us any comfort at all’. The loan scheme looks an unlikely option judging

Quinn’s sentiments. He suggests notionally that it could be ‘effectively ten years, before a student is working and in a position to start to repay that loan’ which, he affirmed, ‘does nothing for the shortterm budgetary position that we’re in’. So what else ‘has been discussed and is still being discussed’? What else is on that list of options? ‘One thing is to limit the number of students going to universities,’ Quinn suggested, which shocked me. I


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e pain anymore

d d y , t s l e

e g I

responded by asking whether this would be done by raising the student contribution? Surely this would be entirely contrary to the party-line that emphasises removing barriers to education, not creating them? Quinn clarified by underlining this was a hypothesis separate from fee-paying, a hypothetical scheme that would simply decree ‘UCD and Trinity can only take in x numbers across the board’. Quinn didn’t elaborate on this idea,

but the suggestion is a worrying one. The minister later suggested that ‘the obvious pressure on the school, on the pupil, and on the parents of the pupil … is to get the points’ and that this was an aspect of the interaction between second and third level that needed to be addressed. But surely limiting the number of places available to students in universities would only drive CAO points up, increasing the pressure on leaving cert

students? I asked Quinn whether the original decision to implement a ‘free-fee’ system in 1996 was the right one and his response was a forceful yes. He stressed the importance of the ‘psychological barrier’ it removed, particularly for families who had traditionally ‘never thought their kids would go on to third-level’. Furthermore, he went on to stress that due to certain funding from the EU and the tax arrangements that

Photo: Holly Acton stood at that time, the decision made financial sense in the creation of a level playing field. So if we weren’t in the current economic climate, I wondered aloud, would the abolishment of free-fees be on the table? Quinn suggested that it wouldn’t be. He first pointed to the government target of achieving a 72% participation rate in third-level as being a clear objective, before going on to point out that this increase in participation

would have to come from socio-economic sections of society that have traditionally had lower participation rates. He highlighted the importance of ensuring that ‘that there would be no serious financial barrier that would prevent a student who is qualified and able to go to college, from going there because of money’. But in the same breath Quinn again underlined that ‘our thirdlevel system has a financing problem. We’re going to have to see how we can address the problem.’ Quinn went on to highlight that ‘universities are part of the problem’ in causing the academic inflation which, coupled with the financial crisis, sees the thirdlevel sector in such a fragile state. He points to the fact that ‘the number of courses that universities have offered has increased 300%’ and that many of these newer courses provide for very small numbers, driving points up. In effect, Quinn suggests that universities, in the provision of increasing numbers of courses are heaping pressure on both the students, in terms of leaving cert points, and themselves, in terms of financing. I asked the minister whether the protest march planned for November 16th will have any bearing on his final budgetary decision. His response was to first compliment USI on their ability to mobilize students and further to suggest that ‘they’re a more professional organisation than four or five years ago’. ‘Yes,’ he concluded, ‘you can’t ignore that kind of protest and you have to take it into account.’ One wonders to what extent. What is the minister’s response to Trinity’s provost, Patrick Prendergast, demanding more control over decision-making in Trinity affairs, particularly in making appointments and approving promotions? ‘We are not in normal times. The Provost is looking at it as if we were acting in normal economic times. We are not in control of our own cheque

book. The ECB has come in and said these are the terms and conditions on which we will lend you money and one of those terms and conditions is control of numbers in the public service. If we had refused to take the terms and conditions, the ECB would have said well, we’re turning off the tap: Which would mean myself, and anyone else on a public service payroll, when we stick a bit of plastic into the wall, nothing would come out. That’s it. And that’s Greece’s dilemma at the moment.’ So these terms and conditions are affecting appointments and promotions in Irish universities? ‘They are affecting everything. People have to adjust, this just isn’t a once-off hit, this is a permanent hit … until such time as we get our finances back in order. That’s why, in a way, all bets are off from where we were previously. This is the first time we’ve lost our economic sovereignty since 1922. Michael Collins, the first Minister for Finance, had more room for manoeuvre than Michael Noonan has today. And it’ll be like that until 2015.’ I left Ruairi Quinn’s office feeling depressed. The square outside suddenly seemed more bleak than tranquil. As a long-serving member of the Labour party, it would be far-fetched to suggest Quinn actually wants to exclude students from third-level. But he and his colleagues in the cabinet, those making these crucial decisions, have their hands tied by obligations to a debt of a gravity this nation has never seen before. There is a real possibility that measures will be passed that lead to the exclusion of some from the third-level system. Ireland’s students, led by USI, are extremely fearful of what the budget will bring and, on this evidence, they should be. ‘People have to adjust,’ asserted Quinn. Based on his decisions, by Christmas, we’ll know just how much adjusting we have to do.


10

The University Times Third Level in Ireland | Tuesday, November 15 2011

Student activists need to start new debate Dan O’Neill Former Deputy President of USI

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ET ME START this article very simply by dispelling the myth that we have “free fees” in the Republic of Ireland. A new student contribution of €2,000 was introduced in higher education institutions with effect from the 2011/12 academic year by the Fianna Fail led government and it replaces the Student Services Charge. Th is is a fee, plain and simple. Henceforth the question of fees versus no fees is a fundamentally flawed dichotomy given the unprecedented economic crisis we live in . The reality is that we have third level fees in this country and unless there is a massive shift in the economic narrative globally, the IMF/EC/ECB will not allow the current government to abolish third level fees.

Hence student activists who believe in an equitable third level education have two options: They can work within the current economic context and aim to develop a scenario in which we have a third level education system in which students receive free education at the point of access (possibly through a loan system) rather than having students who fi nd themselves just above the grant threshold burdened with paying a €2000 fee up front. Th is aim of course must be balanced, maintaining our institutions’ academic integrity by recognising the inter-relationship between the three parameters of: growth in student numbers, funding constraints and quality. Alternatively, students can

be more optimistic. They can aim to be leaders of a new political agenda altogether. They can refuse to listen to the pessimists and reject the idea that attacks on access to education are an isolated “student issue” divorced from the austerity agenda being followed due to the international economic model in which we exist. Student organisations like TCDSU and USI could be pressurised by their members to build alliances with other groups of people (such as Occupy Dame Street, trade unions, entrepreneurs, environmental groups, NGOs) and aim to create a radical, fresh analysis which deals with the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our country’s collective wealth. We can argue that the fundamentals of our new economic agenda should people focused and that equal access to things like education, healthcare and the capital of

opportunity should be considered rights rather than the economy being about balancing the books while a gap between the those at the bottom of society and those at the top grows. I am generally more supportive of the latter when it comes to what I believe the role of a student activist should be. Now, more than ever students need to create a new culture in which societal norms are challenged in a creative way. We currently have a situation in which the mainstream media pushes forward the “common sense” dogma of austerity without having a balanced debate on what our democracy actually means; how it can be improved; how we organise our economy and in whose interest we organise it. If things are to take a different path, I believe that students will play a massive role in influencing the direction of that change.

Some of you will say I’m being idealistic. I say “damn right!” University should not be about accepting what you’re told and falling into line. University should represent an opportunity for all of us to critically examine the world around us, question convention and challenge perceived injustices. The current USI model of focusing on single issues has failed to offer students anything new. Sure, when USI are negotiating with Ministers they need to offer credible alternatives and policy proposals but, when they are campaigning on the ground they need to realise that by pretending to be miniature politicians focused solely on being respectable lobbyists, they fail to see the potential academics and students have to change the world for the better. I’m not for one minute calling for some kind of “Socialist Workers Party”

sponsored revolution. I’m as sick as you of political parties and fringe groups hijacking various student campaigns. I’m asking for real debate and action across the political spectrum in our universities (from the left, right and centre) to see if we can develop an alternative to the current political narrative whatever that may be. When the well known Canadian politician Jack Layton died earlier this year, he left a letter addressed to the people of Canada. In it he said that young people “need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.” I agree. If we resign ourselves to simply focusing on the fees issue however, we miss an opportunity to make this a reality.

The road to hell is paved with free fees Max Sullivan

M

ANY STUDENTS ARE legitimately concerned with the prospect of sliding academic standards, and pose third-level fees as the solution. I’d like to make a more simple case, and hopefully one with more universal appeal, for the necessity of fees. Firstly, it’s important to reiterate that “free fees” did not, despite the best intentions of previous governments, and the on-going rhetoric of USI and SUs, make university massively more accessible. As former DCU President, Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, argues “while some areas of (mainly south) Dublin have more or less 100 per cent participation rates in higher education, others continue to have rates well below 10 per cent, and these have hardly changed at all over the 15 years of “free fees”.” The barriers to education which

prevented young adults in disadvantaged areas from attending college in 1995, when “free fees” were introduced, still exist today. Financial considerations were not all-important in improving access to university for these people, most of whom already had their fees waived: Public primary and secondary level education in Ireland is still massively under-funded, has high student-to-teacher ratios, and fails to equally engender in all pupils the academic ability and interest which all of us are blessed with. In short, “free fees” did not serve it’s promised function. The Higher Level Maintenence Grant has undoubtedly helped a certain bracket of Irish society attend college: those who were lucky enough to fi nish school with a good Leaving Certificate, but who wouldn’t have been

able to afford the costs associated with university. An argument in favour of thirdlevel fees need not be one which also attacks the existence of a Grant system. If those who can afford the full price of their education (look around you folks, it’s Trinity), paid for it, then there would be more money in the government’s education budget to spend on a reformed Grant system. The Grant is great. I love the Grant. But, it’s essential not to confuse “free fees” and the Grant system, as USI are liable to resorting with with their favourite - the student sob story. Cases of genuine hardship for students exist - where making ends meet is a constant battle - and those stories all argue strongly in favour of a good Grant system which sees them through college. But these cases give no reason why students who could afford their education should be exempted under “free fees”. “Free fees” are not free in

an operational sense - it costs the taxpayer (even those who will never step foot on a campus) money to educate you. “Free fees” fail to provide the expected return - equality of access to third-level - meaning that the money could have been better spent in a different way, to achieve a better result. More importantly, “free fees” are problematic because their real, perverse effect has been that every taxpayer contributes to the subsidising of a service which remains closed-off to a great number of society. Thus, “fee fees,” once heralded as a social leveler, has in effect made everyone, even the very poorest in Irish society, share the cost of educating the children of some of Ireland’s wealthier citizens. The idea of a third-level education, which is paid for by the taxpayer, is not in itself a terrible idea. However, when this lofty aim becomes instituted by a nation which has failed to address the non-fi nancial barriers to

education, the policy serves to entrench social divisions because third-level remains the privilege of a section of society, even though it is paid for by all. There are people who are more needy than you. I can say that fairly confidently, not only because you’re probably a Trinity student, but because you’re a student at all. We can be considered nothing but extremely lucky when compared with many other people in Ireland today. Can whatever benefits which are attributed to “free fees” not be achieved through a reformed grant system? Why shouldn’t those who can afford to pay for education, pay for it? If you still believe that “free fees” work, or that free third-level education deserves priority over the other sectors of state funding, I would like to know what areas you would have the government cut. Healthcare? Primary and secondary

education? Social welfare? The old age pension? In fact, all of these areas will be cut in the upcoming budget third-level education included. However, we students have youth on our side, most of us have our health, or a decent portion of it, and we’re generally fi nancially secure. It’s tempting to feel hard done by when we’ve been in receipt of “free fees” for so long that we consider them essential; rightfully ours. We must concede that the money could be better spent elsewhere. The more that students campaign negatively - against any change to “free fees” - rather than positively - by suggesting fi nancially viable and socially equitable solutions, the greater a part we play in the ensuing cuts which will put further hardship on society’s most vulnerable people.

Th


The University Times Third Level in Ireland | Tuesday, November 15 2011

11

Dark times for Trinity in rankings

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HE RECENT TIMES Higher Education (THE) and earlier QS rankings of world universities were given considerable prominence in Ireland. Clearly the significant fall in the rankings of Trinity and UCD, Ireland’s highest ranked universities, is a cause for some concern. I do not wish to open up here the debate about the merits of rankings. Whether we like it or not, they do matter, if only because they may influence the choice of academics/researchers concerning where to work, and the choice of students, graduate students in particular, with regard to study location. How much influence they have is difficult to quantify. In the absence of other more reliable information, though, upon what else can such matters be decided? Besides, universities give these rankings considerable emphasis in promotional communications, especially when the rankings move in their favour! I wish to point out some important issues that must be borne in mind when considering the rankings.

The fi rst is the variation in the ‘scores’ attached to each university. California Institute of Technology, the highest rated university in the THE 2011/12 rankings, was given a score of 95 out of 100. The fi fteenth-ranked university, EHT Zurich, was assigned a score of around 85, that is ten points below Caltech. However, thereafter the scores drop slowly with little separating a large number of universities. For example, just over ten points separate the University of Pennsylvania (ranked 59) from Trinity (ranked 117). By the same token Trinity is ranked only ten points above the University of Trente (ranked 200). Thus large jumps up and down the rankings are very possible, especially given the subjective nature of the basis of these rankings. Reputational surveys in relation to teaching and research make up 33 per cent of the THE rankings; citations are the next biggest category making up 30 per cent of the total. Reputation can be a notoriously fickle concept, linked partly perhaps to overall perceptions of a country, and

changes in this category can easily drive large changes in ranking, in either direction. The second point to make is to advocate caution with regard to explanations for variations in rankings. There may for example be too much of a readiness to attribute a fall in ranking to a drop in public funding. There is in fact little evidence as far as I know linking public funding and the ranking of a university. If so, how then can the very low ranking of some French and German universities be explained? How can we, in the Irish context, explain the fall in the Trinity and UCD rankings in 2010 and the 2011 and the rise in the UCC ranking? Besides, the student/staff ratio makes up only 4.5 per cent of the total THE evaluation. Universities should perhaps also look at their own performance and operation (e.g. salary levels relative to other countries, promotions policy, governance), as well as highlighting any funding deficiencies, in responding to changes in ranking. There is a lot of evidence to show that it is not just money that matters in educational performance, at all levels. For example, the US has a spend per student well above the OECD average for primary and secondary education,

but ranks well below average in terms of student performance. The issue though of who pays for third-level education will not go away in Ireland. The case for students who can afford to pay for third-level education has been made strongly for decades, from multiple sources. Even if third-level fees do not significantly increase university funding in the coming years, there are strong equity arguments for their introduction. Equally important their introduction would bring the suppliers of education into direct contact with those who pay; at present everybody and nobody pays, thereby militating possibly against accountability and responsiveness to change. The fourth and fi nal point I wish to make is what appears to be a strong bias in the rankings towards the English-speaking world. Of the top 30 universities using the THE ranking, 28 are in the English-speaking world. Is it really believable that the UK has seven universities in the top 50, whereas developed countries of similar economic size and maturity such as France and Germany have none or just one? The caution in this regard is borne out when looking at other, more Europe-based ratings,

such as the Leiden rankings. While the latter are based on research alone, the listings are more in line with what one would expect. On one of their rankings, the University of Göttingen in Germany is ranked fi rst in Europe (including the UK), with Lausanne (Switzerland) ranked second, and generally their top-50 rankings include a large number of Continental European universities. Th is reminds me of a similar marked bias I came across in a different ranking context. For example, 42 of the 68 artists born in the British Isles in the 19th century identified in a major English art dictionary as important in world art were not listed at all in an equivalent German art dictionary. A similar picture emerged in work on the ranking of great composers; a UK source showed British composers having three times the share in the all-time best composers list compared to research combining sources from several different countries. It might then be more appropriate to measure Irish universities against UK universities in rankings, as they are more comparable. As the apparent bias above is corrected (a trend already evident) the inevitable drop in rankings resulting for the English-language countries

will be misleading. Compared just to UK universities, Irish universities have also fallen in rankings in recent years; when universities such as Glasgow, Royal Holloway, Sheffield and Sussex are ranked higher than even the best in Ireland it should raise questions. Do we want an Irish university in the top five in these islands (or say top twenty in Europe) and if so how is this to be achieved? Alternatively, should the target be to have several Irish universities in, say, the top 30 in these islands (top 120 in Europe), even if this means none in the top five? Related to this, would it make more sense to target Irish success in different subject areas (rather than in overall rankings), such as some natural sciences in one university, and the social sciences in another? And if so, how is this to be achieved? Such issues, plus that of funding, raise fundamental questions for future policy towards third-level education in Ireland.


12

The University Times Third Level in Ireland | Tuesday, November 15 2011

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What do we want from third level education? Former President of DCU and current Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Robert Gordon Univeristy, Aberdeen, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski says we need to decide what we want from third level education before we decide how we’re going to fund it

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emigration crisis.’ The trouble is that the government is facing a major dilemma. Irish universities are sliding down the world rankings, and it is acknowledged that the major reason is the scale of the funding cuts they have suffered. Given the country’s economic circumstances, the government does not have the resources to restore adequate funding. At the same time, a very significant part of public money paid to higher education is paying for better off students, while potential students from disadvantaged communities are being seriously neglected. Is this a sustainable position? In England the British government has more or less stopped funding university teaching and has set a maximum fee that institutions are allowed to charge. It is a kind of ‘market’ according to some commentators, but if so it is one in which the government is attempting to control supply and demand and pricing, and is doing so in a less than surefooted way. There is also a

LMOST EVERY COUNTRY with a mature system of higher education is struggling right now to work out how to fund it. The global economic crisis of the past two or three years has created major problems in public fi nances, and this in turn has prompted public expenditure cuts from which universities have not escaped. In that setting tuition fees have often seemed to be the only way to escape from the effects. In Ireland, for now, the commitment to retain the so-called ‘free fees’ system remains, but the reality is that fees have been phased in by stealth and are set to grow. The ‘student registration charge’, fi rst introduced in the late 1990s to provide some very minor student contribution to non-tuition costs, has grown over the years and now stands at €2,000. Along the way its formal title changed from ‘student registration charge’ to ‘student contribution charge’ (2010 Budget), so that the pretense that it was only funding non-tuition services was quietly dropped. So what will be next? During the term of office of the Last Fianna Fáil government successive Ministers for Education toyed with the idea of reintroducing tuition fees. The two who pursued the idea most energetically were Noel Dempsey and Batt O’Keeffe; in the end neither of them got enough cabinet support to proceed. The current Minister, Ruairi Quinn, signed a USI pledge in February of this year, during the general election campaign, which committed him ‘not to re-introduce third level fees, to protect students supports and to tackle the graduate

TRINITY’S “FINA NCIAL BREAKING POIN T” Barra Roantree interv iews the Vice-Provost on p3

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thing as ‘free’ higher education. Someone always has to pay for it, and the question is who that should be and how that will shape our universities and colleges. ‘Free fees’ failed in one of its most significant aims: to include the disadvantaged. The percentage of people from deprived families going to third level is hardly different now from when free fees were introduced. Th is represents one of the great scandals of Irish higher education. Each society needs to decide what it wants to do with higher education and how it wants to resource it. Th is should be the starting point, before fees are addressed. The problem with the traditional public education model is that it has neglected lower socioeconomic groups while pretending to support them. But at least there was some philosophical underpinning, if not always well applied. In Ireland enough funding was not made available to secure the principle of free education, even in good times. The new English model seems to represent no real view of the value and values of education. The Scottish model is much clearer in nature and purpose, but can look vulnerable in the context of public funding pressures. None of these things will be done well unless we, as a society, are much clearer about what we want from higher education, and what we are prepared to so to support it. That clarity needs to be found, or our systems of higher education will decline, as is already happening. There is not much time to lose.

fair amount of evidence that the universities themselves have not understood their role in this at all, and have taken pricing decisions within the permitted range, or rather at the top of it, that demonstrate a lack of familiarity with business decision-making and a curious detachment from the actual educational consequences of their decisions. In Scotland the government remains committed to the idea of the ‘democratic intellect’ (explored originally in a book in 1961 by George Elder Davie) and a distinct social and cultural approach to education, and in this spirit has committed itself to retaining free higher education for Scottish students. However, the government has allowed universities to set fees for students from the rest of the UK (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), up to a maximum of €9,000 per annum, and it is looking at ways in which a registration charge could be introduced that would not affect Scottish students. Notwithstanding some of the campaigns being waged, there is no such

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The University Times Third Level in Ireland | Tuesday, November 15 2011

13

It’s time to find the money The Irish Federation of University Teachers says that the funding shortfall simply cannot continue. IFUT General Secretary Mike Jennings writes that proper investment is needed now

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HERE IS NO doubt whatever but that our Universities and the Higher Education Sector in general are suffering very grievously from a lack of funds. In such circumstances it seems reasonable to suppose that many of those who have supported the abolition of undergraduate tuition fees might, reluctantly, accept their reintroduction simply out of a sense of desperation – “how else can the sector cope?” The arguments for and against student fees range over the familiar categories of arguments from principle and practical considerations. Given what I have said above, it may be assumed that even some of those who are opposed to fees “in principle” might feel that they must be tolerated now as the lesser of two evils. This being so, I have decided to reverse my usual order of debate and deal first with “the practicalities” before going on to deal with the principled or ideological position. The argument that the reintroduction of fees is a necessary evil in order to ensure the survival of minimum standards in the Higher Education Sector presupposes that fees will generate new or additional income on top of the existing public subvention. How realistic is that? Where is the evidence of any case where, when new funding sources were found, that even so the State’s contribution remained constant and there was a net gain? If the Government decides to reintroduce fees surely their only public relations defence must be that the

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move is necessary “to save taxpayers’ money”. For the Labour Party such a policy would represent a humiliating u-turn and a betrayal of a very explicit written commitment given by the current Minister for Education. So that party would desperately need this political cover. This being the case, it seems inevitable that fees income will simply be a substitute for current public financing. Not only does this represent a zero gain for the HE Sector in financial terms, it means also that it will now be the lot of individual colleges, rather than the Government, to face the wrath of students and their communities every time more increases are needed. Those who favour the reintroduction of fees, even those who do so reluctantly and shamefacedly, profess a naive belief that participation levels will not fall as a result because, they say, there will be adequate supports for those who ‘deserve’ it. Again, how does this stand up to a reality check? Right across society we accept the practice of imposing or increasing charges as an instrument to limit demand. We place high excise taxes on cigarettes. Water charges are used to foster more economical usage of a scarce resource. Refuse charges are designed to encourage alternative behaviour. Miraculously, however, we are asked to believe that charging for higher education will not discourage

IFUT General Secretary Mike Jennings answers questions for RTÉ. anyone. Of course it will be alleged that Social Welfare payments and means-tested grants will remedy any unwelcome developments. Once again, honesty is called for. Can anyone recall a single area of social subvention where the State’s contribution over time has kept on a par with the original commitment – abolition of rates/local authority funding anyone? A strong, practical sound-

to be exempted from the social obligation which is to be demanded from those whose ‘wealth’ (enhanced means) accrues from study? In short, why if ability to pay is genuinely seen as a good argument, do we not apply the principle through a progressive taxation system? These are all practical considerations but, as George Bernard Shaw cleverly illustrated, there is a place for a principled reply, otherwise you are only haggling over the price. So is it not legitimate – even in these woefully difficult times – to ask ourselves Do we believe that education is, in the end, a commodity open for purchase only by those who are able to afford it or who can be subsidised to do so? If education is a commodity how are we to resist the strident calls for its inclusion in the GATS Process with all that that entails? Having seen the transformation of our country following the abolition of second-level fees, can we really assert with any credibility that higher education represents a mere personal

The money put in simply must be found. It will repay itself over and over. ing argument is that having a third-level education enhances earnings and therefore the capacity to pay or repay. I agree. So an ability to pay is advanced as an argument for an obligation to pay? Okay. But why is this progressive position applicable only to higher means which derive directly from education? Why is inherited wealth or wealth derived from speculation or windfall

(individual) benefit rather than a massive societal fillip? Our participation levels in higher education are at historically high levels and are the envy of countries worldwide. Can anyone truly believe that this good outcome is a mere coincidence following the abolition of fees? It is uplifting to hear certain commentators bemoan the lack of greater success in attracting even higher numbers from “less well-off backgrounds”. At least it would be so if you believed in their sincerity. But what these same ‘experts’ need to be asked is – if the abolition of fees didn’t bring in more of the less welloff, can you illustrate how a fee charging and means-tested Social Welfare response will? If, as many argue and I agree, a B.A or a B.Sc or a B.Comm is the equivalent today of what a Leaving Cert was when Donough O’Malley was Minister for Education, why should Ruairí Quinn do the equivalent of reversing that historically acclaimed reform? We in IFUT are hugely concerned at the acute underfunding of higher education. It galls us greatly to see the massive waste of scarce

funds on areas such as affiliation fees to IBEC (almost a half-million per annum), huge legal fees to fight employee rights cases, exorbitant salaries paid to a certain tiny minority etc. However, we also realise that even a hundred per cent correction of all of these ills would not bring in the sort of income which the Higher Education Sector desperately needs. The political reality that we as a country and a society (and dare I say it, as an economy) must face is that higher education is as much an investment in our future as the purchase of seeds is in an agricultural economy. The money put in simply must be found, it will repay itself over and over. Conversely, if we try to limp along the way we are limping along currently, we will only prolong our recession. Yes, it is time for tough decisions, but intelligent tough decisions not knee-jerk responses like penalising 17 and 18-year olds who aspire to educate themselves.


14

The University Times Third Level in Ireland | Tuesday, November 15 2011

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In Chile, student protestors were met with water canons, dogs and police brutality. Camila Vallejo, the leader of the student movement, was put under police protection when she received numerous death threats from anti-communist groups.

Student protests rock Latin America Students in Chile, Colombia, Bolivia and Mexico have protested in their hundreds of thousands against cuts to education. Rónán Burtenshaw reports on Latin America’s student revolution.

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HIS YEAR HAS seen massive student demonstrations against the neoliberal restructuring of higher-level education in Latin America. Protests of hundreds of thousands of people in Santiago, Chile are the centerpiece of student activism in a region that has also seen mass protests in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Colombia. 2011’s student protests in Chile are the latest flashpoint in a long battle to reform Chile’s education system to create greater equality of access. Currently less than half of Chile’s secondary school population is in the public school system, while a majority of universities are also private. Protestors have been highlighting the high level of inequality in Chile’s higher-education system, which has seen no new universities built since the Augusto Pinochet era despite burgeoning demand from students. University students in Chile are represented by the Confederation of Chilean Student Federations (CONFECH). CONFECH’s proposals for the higher-education

system in Chile have focused around a free public education system supported by the state that offers a “more equitable admissions process” and an end to “for-profit” systems of education. Loose organisations of high-school students have also been involved in the protests after issuing similar demands. In May of 2011 student leaders, including CONFECH’s President Camila Vallejo Dowling, who is of Irish descent, and her deputy Giorgio Jackson, began a series of protests including marches, occupations, flash mobs and kiss-ins. These demonstrations built into a march of between 100,000 and 200,000 people on June 30th. Organisers said the movement took inspiration from 2006’s ‘Penguin Revolution’ in Chile when 790,000 Chilean students participated in a strike against the education system. In July, after rejecting the government’s GANE plan for education reform, tens of thousands of students continued to protest in Chile’s capital, Santiago, forcing the replacement of the Minister

of Education. Two further government proposals were also rejected and opposed by marches involving hundreds of thousands in Santiago. The second protest, which was a co-operative venture with a national union engaged in a general strike, involved as many as half-a-million people across the country over two days. Negotiations between the student movement and the centre-right Chilean government broke down last month amid public recriminations from both sides. Vallejo and Jackson dismissed government proposals accusing them of ‘lacking the political will’ for reform and attempting to divide the student movement. A government spokesman blamed the ‘ultras’ in the student movement, accusing them of ‘intransigence’. Despite polls in August showing that between 72 and 81% of Chileans support the student protests the struggle has been dangerous for student leaders. In August a 19-year-old student leader, Alan Mancilla, was murdered in his home.

A 16-year-old boy was shot dead during protests in the same month, which also saw a 15-year-old girl receive a gunshot wound. Camila Vallejo and other student leaders have armed police guards after death threats. Over 500 police and many hundreds of students have reportedly been injured while nearly 2,000 arrests have been made. Massive student demonstrations have taken place in Colombia in opposition to the government’s proposed Ley 30 education reforms. Tens of thousands of protestors brought the capital city of Bogota to a standstill on October 26th and November 3rd, closing off the city centre for hours, with large demonstrations also taking place in other cities. Despite the government’s withdrawal of the law - which student groups alleged was part of a ‘privatisation’ of higher-level education - a demonstration was held in Bogota on November 10th that drew, with union support, as many as one hundred thousand protestors. In Puerto Rico in February student demonstrations

against a fifty-percent tuition fee increase saw tens of thousands march following a university walk-out. Arrests were made after hundreds of students engaged in an occupation that led to the resignation of the President of the largest university in the United States territory, the University of Puerto Rico. The last two years have seen protests against fee increases and education inequality in Mexico. Thousands of students and staff have engaged in protests in many major cities, including Mexico Ciy, Guadalajara and Oaxaca. Mexico has long been central to Latin American student activism, with the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre and 1999 UNAM massaction strike just two highprofile incidents. Student protests against inequality in education and fee increases have also taken place in Argentina. Last Tuesday more than 300 Brazilian riot police forcibly cleared a university building that students protesting random searches and arrests for marijuana possession had occupied in the University of Sao Paulo.

There have been demonstrations in countries swept by Latin America’s recent ‘pink tide’ of centre-left governments as well. On December 23rd in Caracas, Venezuela hundreds of students protested President Húgo Chávez’s education reforms. The students of the Central University of Venezuela, long a flashpoint of middle-class opposition to Chávez, were met with water canons as they clashed with police. In Bolivia President Evo Morales has faced down student protests in most of the country’s major cities over his government’s violent crackdown on indigenous rights protestors. Mr. Morales, one of the region’s first indigenous leaders of the modern era, has defended his administration’s decision to build a 300-kilometre highway through the lands of 16 indigenous tribes, whose total population numbers around 50,000.

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The University Times Third Level in Ireland | Tuesday, November 15 2011

15

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, under whose government the Help Education Loan Programme (HELP) was introduced.

Australia’s student loans: solution or disaster? Rónán Burtenshaw Deputy Editor

A

USTRALIA’S STUDENT LOAN system was introduced by the Hawke Labor government in 1989. It was part of a broader policy, known as the ‘Dawkins Revolution’ after long-time Education Minister John Dawkins. The policy aimed to increase “the efficiency and international competitiveness of Australian universities” after the previous ‘free-fee’ system introduced in the 1970s was deemed to have failed. Student debt in Australia currently stands at AUS$15billion (€11.2billion), which includes a total of AUS$4billion that the government estimates will never be repaid due to graduates dying, leaving to live in another country or never reaching the income threshold when they have to start

repaying their debt. The vast majority of this debt was run up under the Hawke government’s Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS). In 2005 the Australian Howard government introduced a new system, called the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP), to replace the HECS. The programme is open to all students, but those who chose to pay their full tuition fee upfront receive a 20% discount. Those who chose to partake in HELP have two options: they can pay some of the tuition fee up-front and request a HELP loan for the remainder or request a loan for the full tuition fee. Under the HELP system the government lends the student the amount of any tuition fee for each unit of their course that has not been paid directly to the institution. Graduates will

begin to repay their student debt once they reach a certain level of income, with the rates at the moment standing at 4% of annual income starting at AUS$50,000 and rising to 8% for someone on an annual income of AUS$83,400 or over. Graduates earning less than AUS$45,000 p/a have no repayment requirements until such a point as they begin to earn inside the repayment bracket. HELP loans don’t attract interest, but are instead indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on 1 June each year. The government, therefore, gets back more than it lends because the CPI goes up every year, as the indexation rate was 2.8% in 2006 and 3.5% in 2010. A 20% loan fee applies to HELP loans for undergraduate courses. This means that students borrowing AUS$10,000 to pay for a course will incur a fee

of AUS$2,000. Students or graduates can make voluntary repayment of AUS$500 or more, receiving a bonus of 10% when they do so. In practice this means that voluntary payments of AUS$1,000 credit their accounts with AUS$1,100. Limits are also in place for total repayment costs graduates are liable to pay. At the moment those maximums stand at AUS$86,400 for students not undertaking a medicine, dentistry or veterinary science course and AUS$108,000 for those who are. This dichotomy is made based on the perceived earning power of degrees linked directly to established, highly-paying professions. Each university or other higher education provider sets the tuition fee for each unit of study and the date by which payment of the fee is required. It is based upon the expected earnings following

a students’ graduation, not the cost of providing the course. Students attending private universities may also avail of a similar FEE-HELP system. The Australian HELP system has been widely praised by university administrations but many in the country hold concerns over rising debt levels for students. According to the government average student debt now stands at over AUS$17,000, but this can be a misleading figure because it includes students who pay upfront and incur no debt. Many graduates of elite Australian public institutions have debts closer to the maximum levels. Australian students borrow around AUS$1billion per year for their education, with some degrees costing up to AUS$200,000. This is, in large part, due to the steady increase in the

cost of obtaining a degree in Australia. Deregulation of university fees in 2005 take advantage of an opprtunity to increase fees by up to 25%. The recent general election saw calls for a further increase coming from Australian universities. Higher-education commentators, like The Australian’s Stephen Hatchett, warn that the pressures for fee rises will continue. In an August 2011 column on his Common Room blog he warned that student debt could “blow out”. Drawing comparisons with the US system, where total student debt stands at over $1billion and average debts are above $25,000, he pointed to a study that showed US higher-education costs had risen 439% between 1982 and 2006 (compared to just 251% for healthcare). “The US experience,” he says, “demonstrates what can happen.”


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This wil l no dou some bt cause In a pol an Greens noyance to sity stu l of 1,248 un , cla the iverdents con Pau l Go im ing that it a col lab ducted was gar ora dent me tive effort by in mously qu ty (who inf stu adia ipped try, it has across the cou - due respec “With all t, in the n- par bour hav emerged that mo liam st entary unLa- fuc e much suppor language, k you De greate t tha n am among studen r ing a deb puty Stagg” du ate rong tho ts in 2009) tha the se the Iris h Times pol led for t kept tui Dá il in off the and the depend tion fee table as ent In- the s cha irm TCD, UC . Students fro an of D, DCU, m on Oireachtas Co and NU Ed mm itte IG took UCC, UL tha ucation and e Science. opinion par t in pol l, coo If the ly t was the case, it evi UCD’s Co rdi is llege Tri nated by vot not enough for dentsociat ion bune in ers. student asty Times wit h The Unive Sin rsi- low n Féin are and oth media als out lets er student wh nat ional averag o becountr y. across en e figures the den compared wit h stu ts, as on The res ult ly s 6% pol individ from eac of those led int ual col end to h the lege weighted vote for m, and we a number by div iding re that Gerry mere 4% thi nk the the of studen Ad col lege ts in eac best Tao ams would be by the ise h ach. total pol led, 14% tho and mu number of ugh each res ltiplied the can t that none ult, so by wo didates that col es wit h offered leg- achuld be a desira compar ble Tao atively er studen and 23% iselar t don’t kn represent populations we gUS ow. ed accura re mo I President Ga nd said ry RedIrish stu tely. to den The Tim ts Universit prefer on averag es that Ea y “One thi Enda Ke mon Gilmore e this pol l ng that shows nny, as to ing is that leader the Lab votis our mu intent ion for stu best can thought to be the Par ch hig her for the dents is did ach to 23% ate for Tao Labour ise- tio ty tha n in old of Iris er compar h ns. generaed to En students, 20%. da Kenn I y’s is would imagine becaus that thi Micheál e Ma rtin have com the Labour Par s much low pol ls ty e out v er am

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the aillss of of detai Inblicat ion Sunday reer pu lt in the d cor haad , and oth assau t, he stuSSC trip penden th the other the DU de of .” s the them students perpetrator nded wi en on One of They Irish - spo who had be . the mo gh of rou . One lef t his dur- dents ski trip. being at me actim nta lly m rbated also pa ral lel The vic accide the roo mastu Maguire t the fact one in He later rein tea rs.” SSC come ph Mr e me Low t tha bil m lef To on au lt. to t the DU helpf ul owledged showed up the ass apologised y kn ded tha ing ad ver Editor s me d t the na inwere l and friend d an that his e indicated tha his Times ile his mittee r ordea on tur ne Y he wh Rónán Burtenshaw his t SIT m on In led tim ou uti fro ea IV ER ough contrib ey the vic m the door. d re- the ph tors were s rev aspect A UN Deputy News Editor of s thr fro d her “th on ha some ha of ali thefiepracti perpetra up. jeered a group ce say ing phone vestigati ers of troubl SSC ry, , quer. This ing, sto ntshowev ce, the from Robert t this mb trip gro on the DUfa s de ou sen is me thi ski parstu ab t ab cebook to ticularly the case th tha nd d 30 A University Times cal l Busi25 an .com/univ in so ofsou South Students interv iews wi invest ved a its t yea r i- expan vate sion werelight gation into the between - cei ink recent stu, a firs ng” ersitytim the pri es, de practice iofofusyears. trip, in ckroc ole thiour Dean is conn Maguire Computing Blaigation invest ing research grants alumn schools d ski University Timviour of es led wh University Times tio us Th and Junior tobli toesenior buy attende n out academ ha nk stown The , the teaching has revealDu invest iga in- ness the be who C Mo ics o had t described thic”, vost Patrick Prend ea kan d CB gh ed d pa wh Sp a worry ou ibe ng cio ege a ge, nt ge. wr scr “mark ering trend of devaluColle lle ducti as “so of all place de vil le ed increa bete that the Colleg ing under ock Co rsity Times, ser group ows-se” in teachi un-t An ngies d-off” k k “a ckr Sn en buy-ou Mo o the graduate educa e too Bla d y’s ts ive “sp int from a oc temporary reliefwh ich tion. an ropose to credit Trinit The Un denied any ort in ski trip the report ing o for mer Blackr nAcademics in Trinity al ished ing to voc on toanestabl cidents ux Alpes res nu , haColleg practi ire ls with the time bnts Tri ce. rt Du eve m e b’s Thetoquesti Magu spent een tw s De have always had the sta rts Clu at Le on of who poto ers of the orts Mr ledge of the nowl- tw nts, one fro UCD, in her grade”. access is ina fa- ek prior memb Sp ack cility that allows m stude know the we volved in replacement whichng rsity Snow he asked if this was theminto one fro they the h use nch teachi well as in money from resear which t centra Unive ity and low ing l impor tance. alt houg ter m. is of lin Colt the Fre ion of the Emplo ying, as ch ofgrants e that fol ar tha least yto compensate : p2 were sta students, indoes not comp athave is clelege edged It ng for the teachi ntrol frame Clubfor a system ramew ek report nit y work en t ork a A to see re cal ledthat ensuri Roned portion of their Alpes an Co er Tri RAG We member of the Capoe lice we Leng de pe nd workload. ducation Autho e UniDeux those oth who ld po s leave This -Long. coullo le, ira Society impres rity teaching portio told Th five o ste thesabbat ical Editor to on wh Crowley orob ses onlookers during -Ele n would then Gren because of reon said that s have ct or tw ice be search ar grants their Da rga n g Freshers’ Week. passed on to a ne source Times that nd on spe Mr are replaced by Photo: Photo: Dargan Crowle contract lecturoncern was that 300+ str The Promoted: The ended resort, those the in iner, who is paid per G Week. y-Long th the with compa the ms int ous versity , including disciste LA ST wa RA d bo llia for an meet reduct ion twen rable modu ere t d Wi TH URmo ty-seven academic le they nwh ficatiotin pie ing dents onym in replace. t Mr y- qualins.gen st SDAY saw culminat Personal Chair cers get s to receive the pay moion ers of around - tha to be an that his stu llia ms, are fac from the SSC con up were sta Offi be al ail the DU 6%” ms tic This practice s bump of two Professor S O’Mara groUniversityCTimes trip ’ invesof intens Wi llia also the em Sabba teThe rea lise in the Wi ey. the Depar tment has been hearing their (Psychology) Conor separa led to DUSS c s weeks e a cele ’ Union tigation produ used in the past s t i ctio Professor C O’Sulliv Dr S Frolov (Mathe plina ry an fol low ing ced were ce of paigning TSU appear impress ’s a ledge”. He ni- but fai to give what’s . Both the and finance. Students an (Computer Science matics) ing specific ern would al trip eviden Professor J Parnell known as “relief . Wh he ior De notify d e d n camtrip. and Statistics) Dr P Gallagher (Physic te Tri instan me se u to Jun l en ha by the ces ext na (Natural Science c ts Offi ” cau where senior academ to “I Ret n tel on inacadem-andfessor i the tan Procer Ash ho s) aurning ics ics. This would :” field. iversity Dr P Geoghegan(Hi s) s that ating s and Trinit y. contes haviour eiv ing this ty m the leying other senior imean that it is cted fro stories and Human back-payments nounce throw Cooke n hate cause “From en The Un llia ms, be of the €2,000 fine rel ed- remark Associate Profess rec rsi a swast acaDr C Gobl (Lingui demics were for ities) used when an d n’t eve a ort or After afterreplac B e r - anWh stic, e Unive ms ll conacadem ic wish- eje c k ult nt at the higher ty. I do te Trinit y be revealed the waby Dr D Coghlan (Busine to Mr Wi him of ges, he rep B l a res Dr A Harkin (Pharm Speech and Communication Science da rmes erson theed s n, Th to was pay tract llia es to engage in of his tha I ha es spoke acy and Pharma s dama s) wn ita wato art icle a large-scale re- gen s lectur enough for matio ed Mr Wi ubed whothe were Dr S Connon (Chem ss Studies) to provoke the doan ho-not in te out ceutical Science had bea ryt Ry Dr E Heffernan esask wa da posses ire it I say t intelligent whispers Timsaid that the up of us... search project istry) , tt of (Law) s) sionflo €50 no i nrtle ten bacu n t aBa of or der inv a PhD. Dr T Connor (Medic or go on other ka this sh Times tment of Educa Dr J Lalor (Nursin he took a I’m no sca re then thiisrdnot was un ed that thick “a gro ine) m o k theten “I eat deforms of sabbat g and Midwifery) This the RON ly to bec Dr A Corvin (Medic in if he o it.” He o-incharilyng D c*nt.” im Dr L Leeson (Lingui ical, whether of itten by na me”. He t, said and promptly twnecess int re reported to aga g cla UC a lle wr an om inget d ine) yin Pre th wa pid e ayi He stic, dicatio be to for personal reason tter” the Speech and Commu . TC spl be you inten sident-el bu dU Dr S Duffy (Histor tel wi n ofrke poorer t a stu DS r, Dr A McLysaght an r. Diteachi ma ny ak fast” ent in potent ial breach nication Science s or to im- would of us that ect tigation persona l ma had ies and Humanities) s, on (Genetics and Microb ble but Dear Edito “I’m jus g the nig ht ma to O’C for bre and Ch s) hang, prove their ability to a group pints a nt too any involvem lt on the Dr I Rozas (Chem Deux Alpe dy Dr B O’Kelly (Engine iology) pa int seem nor had ng punis group, istry) to carry out the door d rgo. me apparent au per we Trip to Les “this is he had “alrea Durin ering) ce to p tey i ris ika isopen mind lower com did so. Dr J Wickham (Social their job. s” s it has beco rding The Trinity Ski this in bei em Dr M Ó Siochrú standa newspa received nie nd-off, the ass d vanda lone of the erce ng the t thi senten hour of With s rds.l Any a swast . fro nt tha on me eo Sciences and Philoso (Histories and Human thi d light did not respon rece m nt dia expan- In ay im ran k out rega tive an sto A vid Comm fore sion in d Dr F O’Toole (Social phy) the En The process involv editor r Wi l- spe y student, an ities) com me a cu g an article this them sider okus in a nega anything that is in anyw area would he has inn, a Sciences and Philoso comment. ed in at- to by on publishin sm in a group of ld Senior Lecturer sur faced to ref use llia ms said print, the nst ts race to squ . Cono Trinit ul Qu Dr J Stout (Natura , taining resear niphy) under nce. Collegr Triseem pas reference clear, shou diately, Framine t Ela ine libel suit agai l Sciences) s un0 Pa nt in UCD, days fol- to email from email adch grants is as eak ing the trip in the hotel Dr P Carmody (Natura in which you to make our position Mr Wi asserDr S Tresize (Drama d to take a a €5 rd yea e’s au ism in asked if he wa ge, tions that McDa follows. An applic ltg evidence an the stude fol low ing l Sciences) like one esteem ed be force , ingid A thi cte ed ass acmely stron ele ation is made ibly from the students@ ube in Colle we would reg rets that “every Dr V Timonen (SocialFilm and Music) ng a we will inde When risk ofd Ents Offi te, to usibe ademicsstu nt was senior for a grant to a cd you have extre names. Forvot Trip. Vis ly lia ms deappoin tion by I am, I no up. on YouT published are i yu that cer be iga gro no Sk e est ing specified body; es. nit pic a any ted est by ty Dr S Waldren (Natura Work and Social Policy) , ” sugg on tri untru at We least es. 141as ss remark te in part to give r of the ter thus we ed naming ing the email these could be thed edence. der inv ms said “if l Sciences) ed by fou under themselv private compapublishers, €20 no The - low ated and clo ea r, Mr dre ail.com. Th is ens legal en claims or inde acter under false prec stron gradu the ed ed llia pa ate gly such les Mo joy Wi it.” studen any nies, funds or en nt Cla arette bri char eat Mr ing r mateachi d her tsethe out gm ce we just derw foubest semi-state entire cig Hotel, pay- ine before mak an from integrity and art iove, thr ng College know ab n lightly. Hen prevent thisoff rmal un t he “fucked perienTh ties. This could our dignity, ce. room as she maexto be take tured ab the case of an “in don’t r to tes in the r, and be a was the Merrion peSqu laced slandering this is not tes tha er”. her up in drawn, in orde are like Pfizer for medic compa ny roomvenue for There Well-p serious and , rman the riv inn sta are, ale er, act ion aying the gro howev a ba article is with and fro are 100% o-pha rma- centiv tw some ino fem ars ingcou ski Qu s] phone down he states ceutical grants that any such m 8pm the portr es to hire contra It appe fasten , or bodies like [hi recommend why, 0 tont ct tion wa er. lecturpt. o does ss cle gat ive lig ht.” €5cul spe ers with sle the Environmen , wh asked s lea kin n any furth postgreaduate timdegree to impre a ne . tal Protection When being take g dow nbootsathe cou Th vic be s. d, na me s try ing try ing to ort only those with Agenc y, Econo wa fro res nt “I a to m mic and Social sh qualifiexp that was lots we room as the When ca-erit wisuch tion can benoused resea rch Institu erely, nds... I bal- ty guard re her le te or the Irish Yours Sinc my frie ntinued to reke asofmoduTh impressio sor ted and securi ordinators spo resea rch Counc eco-UniHowever, it’s clear or appoin first ed one il for the Huted examwith rs of the comthat not all by Un ns were gleane “Four iners. UCD students manit ies and approach ence the students and Additional matter ive Social Sciences Trinity and Times. d sports clubs nts’ €77 paid s that Ronan into tor, Tom rsit y Times for their respec In the course arose in the are happy with versity Costello came tive fields. of resear Ed AGM were the this.” ports Depar tthem ching this story, the ly tweete Lowe, and qu igo up. Students i was News Editor If this application election of the of paper Another group ile wh are seen as a officers on the ick spoke d to voice their orts facilities is r the suc- some of to up room cessfu l, the money soft target. A hit DUCAC comm account. to the UT Tw opinion was the those my me hired ates fo on students is as, contra itte. is itter Ladies Hockey nted officia lLowe wa woke ct and with centra l Colleg deposited lecturers to do perceived to have not much movem There was THIS yEAr’S cohort Club who exami ly asked candid lled upon s asleep up replacement no great poe author i- teachi ned the subject ent in regards of class litical to eave promptking me down ties, often with reps was told pective to the positions ca of sports schola ng. While consequences.” room, the cou by pic condit ions to expect a sigtheir discion the comm itrships and how Union PresÓ broin tached leaving nt All pros l election are ing me era lly explained that nificant raise tee, and athlete awareness of them , ow to its use. The Princi at- plines varied, it was him in elf thr there thr in its possib s lea seeme the gen is could oug h the n the Sport a “per- Invest le to student ceptio nin d to be registr pal average the um be in- discou tia e. bed, creased. Sports igator (P.I.) is n that students the ation raged with the doorway, g cost on part in riously referend ess mm itte they were beProvos then re- ing don’t vote spons Depar tment asury Comuncon- jor cutbac fee as well as ma- where typ fuve Co regards the s keen to str g paid per modu tested re-election to take comm ittee memb ible for the funds. as a significant ks in student informatio ing any scraps nts sti ll ha As le to around tin Nolan of ers ensured A P.I. is €3,000 number the This is to atm wa sup- of pensio de Ciaran Editor with get man to the Comm the Chair- port services in chief signat the hockey team . -Rotbe ners vote. Gover The stu of €3.5m illion way. The nntetha t cam the upcom ing it. that their “inittee, Cyril budge at students’ Trigoub SU was tasked ferendum. n- the team applyi ory or leader of search ing ment TD’s have This merits contra Smyth, re wase remeainhis tention ara unRe e t, which will be ns ng for the grant. told us explicst with the yes Re som the Fo delivered itly s for rough- plan” this year is to draft a produ as the announcement on on magu that “th deal for the illidra yearly politicia ver the elteear Some research in the ither a that they are afraid December 7th. ly by d on ced a delayed that would “impro FA IL rebest the €5m Lecocq to co grants are (€108 salaries of the Professors nig ing ne ect fau epartment’s applau A es of ht cat rej ver tarve de the proon se s vo NN co as not geting pensioners.” and raised hands ly for the purposes ’sthacam file and standa – 138k), Associate ad Speak ing to the to Seb Ch FIA t wapai students rd”. of buying- sors in protest. gather ing of During his out them. age a lev y Professtudents t the on d approprie SU is tris gn ma sts last intr -and the vote. If sal then it’s no presentation to new class reps (€79 - 105k) or teaching; they paying to come from disappo Luke Acheson There were furthe on”nor Th were no porta nt po ing tha eO’C tionn.Joh ge, the class reps Ó at their trainin Senior Lecare used for or a no l was elect- weeke s pointn(rig r concerns ed d that the in im camto da dents propo g broin reveal nap voteht) turers (€70 – 89k) ilding smaller, largely a lat sta Co dis cel um that wa ng this initia Secretary of the the AGM in relatio nd in balbriggan, gner “It ebr ndrat sig ning Union of Stu ed that finian e back pai who they may overhead purateess wit ereleb at ysuchcam iven that Da’snnydownone siorial Bu times.ie Comm it- of budget of cap Union Grath, n to the tee, Mc poses such dents be asked to replac the ref llo se.” h Ca mp Followi Sparrow cam witoo ty pre Students ek, as Susan gns tea the Independen let O’Keefetnem. “Gpai standing on the th kfuran as equipment the re tun e. our no n Coste that stu aig npa tes’ Mem rsity wefor t Dub- travel. ear. idna we Ireland Depu also an-Ro and number Chairm nah Cass as the Vice ers outlin in Ireland offic- lin TD Nick fore all ittee dow - un Academic contra Rona Buntoffbe- .5 mi llion goubspi theowSU unms of clubs be Ma r However, the had told USI that ger Gradua tions@unive Times and Fonunthe ment, an and James - . ski Comm ed the severe d Triate cts in sta major Ó Broin n to resai Coresult nkna ute wi ll he re- of the ws Edito e €8 havetrib Sweeny that hoc say,” Memb that exist in DUCAC. as the ’ llUnion blows ceived irs nning s rethat the talint ettnMc the in Plu Th NeTrinSU s nts e to of ha Pla lied cou o ing cle de Co the the larger grants would ity ity College are not specifi n nte students should ing 584 phone calls con tio new Treasurer. Cu are , ers were once again ld nt the say Stu hotelcome the nt it be to llag h an na l d lud act: elec e University l Society ws, guara det-rimthe the finallev y de inten inc The Club to take calundatio tribute in expect hours ne- ly broken The Uni- please ent of his dis- representat dent no refere w have ing yea portastu n to e fund- nounced his Paddy LynCont hurs, longer havof r bad ne im Th when it was annou 48 cessitate some form of natiod Pa ITY Fo tiochi down by task. in the budget for con cen Th con d with the cap, ing rdl nd w . the ica no ives da IN ty by the um e to ho ve tre to tre this en st un replac ld TR d ph in and n, oldbe Fo year are Top se re should that nced co votes po 2011. that medic stating Corma E e- er contracts cen ch aftni and st the y lea so cou nts con er tw tio TH n ofwo the destr studentsal wh of the list was er se voten there was “no forma ure car ted c Doher ty, Mark can be as little a promi str uction of bufig al cards for over- ment teaching to be paid-f being eleity Philo offlin es the n his to 206 ards the amat vos uld t to stu dation uc- sigten sts Orga lan had tom to Proov the now al- 70s ti- g co an nate ce. cil to tel Harris, most ee struc- for as on y or three lines ged e beg ney tow asked whBy ear wi llt. be puhav using the grant union6,. setrtin be courunnin ivers cted. Photo era l yea’rs would be cut. He for the inevitable raise new clubs”. Howev l access Eoin Kerrigan, Aoife Trignit the con Centre. libun back long. Newer ne stung they do The comdents money, relievany mo nted. s that nes of wome en ssi den ” said that ing in the stu- if Triwi : Darga con- illion to o’reil er, chair- Sinead o provide man a guThe Un nitlly bestuuiredin stu m the rk and is that ing the ba rrami tracts are more n. Wh the stage. n cou ld 10pow were nd the academ ic of students are seriou in, a for tre has fig ure et cen n Crowle Student ga n to pa re of the execut ive rodger and Elizab ly, dent registration charge, held lea detailed but€7m a latfor dents bar it’s em pro Ó Bropro their str uctio y Foundatio pac vv- pic ita r licked nor ed if ll be req jec ere askum s about ing n- been ref Sparr comm it- Shann which protec nog-awa ited h a deci- tee suchsed wit y-Long eth is expec e,ked witoh noUnion o tals col lege, waslted itat bei n be way for tenTri Ha ll ked. duties for a specifi teach- division of workload nit a banjo y wo lon ting their intere Chairman Prof t the on. Six other Centr ted to be raised yea e aclin toat withe fuls and h an xio in the wil uld fau wawh us hop undatio a Luce on the Tri is estabnts’ clearc . Th s tha c dura- lished Cyril Smyth rd.Stu sts then tion. be Pavilion €1500 dedis student, s happy. claime from a simila pay a centrato re-rs now promises w, wits of gwh The Student e- cur oundng have de the The Fo mitment at Club members a ing After thi . build lev yma to €3000. Cónán rly proact ive attitud be a the sit d that DUCA made facion l pla hucan est imate unendTri t to the o”. ub-ir weary cion ab the ren eting ofy €69 y mi es of aca had giv were elected decision t go on mi s o’broi nk spi com add t C “can- throug me ports De- not of ini its ne t Pro n po ing is t n, Su bu e of its tia bu Sab itio str tio las requir the Howev Pre vos USI Deput y zer ly Trinity Colleg sin l sur pri t tioty’s ent wa ent lai itte en the n lef ed. batwa er, a notional fund any kind add con h the Executive back gat hered str ucna l €2 with its s pre trictkJohn He s tos-ree views this da s obv iou t he se, me ess Professor Comm conry beisngare pre sid of club” and ma husia divisaid,“Try sident Ni ko we want there Com- the scale President said that imate of garto- costed of eve students entity sornifPa Foun t yea r, ing sion of tasks was t aud t practi stic est est ce mittee. Speak tur fes las yea nn ce s, ntu the mo intha tha Offi tha rs o. ien as ing Pre “are not enoug offi l ned of wit ty the Pro benefi of d r of Pla about the scale t m headin the financial crice rearticu lated by t ts cer sai for twe yea ing cial for the tua til of thi d the The pas yea rs. se SU o nto their umed En nowh funds to r input. spread of student body ber 21s conhflic yea r, Da rragh Ned Costel lo, CEo the cuts which g into the ow say to cut na l day sis and its implic ted tw The nder-sing str s becau dthe Pro James Sweeney ere nege un d depasrteref to aGe then ass ld split the icifin dri tspar ticu around”. ha lesapp Pre nd m and the unien students shoul sol nk ing of the IrishDecem Nick Sparr s. he ations for st um no r lot evs r ud of the G anc tne ha ve re Thi fiow vo as nla ou ffeck sso e we ow ha Ro st “St

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