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TRINITY NEWS

Tuesday 10th December2013

News

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Q Soc celebrates anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality Amnesty director criticises lack of transgender rights Speakers confident of victory in same-sex marriage referendum

I Aonghus Ó Cochláin Student Affairs

reland’s history of institutionalisation means the country should “know the consequences of pretending people don’t exist,” Colm O’Gorman, the director of Amnesty International Ireland, has said. He made the comment in relation to trans right at the 20th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality last Wednesday. The event, which was held by Q Soc as part of their “Allies’ Week” festivities, celebrated the historic involvement of LGBTQ allies in the struggle for equality. Speaking at the occasion, O’Gorman stated that there are “still significant challenges” to be overcome by the LGBT community in areas such as children’s rights and trans rights. In particular, he criticised the legal situation which means people “have to give up on the idea of being a parent” once their gender is recognised. He addressed the failure of both law and culture to fully accept trans people in Ireland, while praising the work done by organisations in Ireland such as BeLong To and Front Line Defenders. O’Gorman also discussed the significance of decriminalisation in 1993 and remarked that this year

coincides with the 30thanniversary of the first Irish pride march in 1983, which took place in the place in the wake of the homophobic murder of Declan Flynn and controversial acquittal of the gang members who had been found guilty of his murder. 1983, O’Gorman said, was “an extremely isolating time”, when gay people had few role models. O’Gorman went on to welcome the change in attitudes in recent years and expressed confidence that the upcoming referendum on marriage equality would be won. He described the 2009 March for Marriage Equality and its impressive turnout as the moment he realised equal marriage was “inevitable”. However, he also discussed his own personal frustration in trying the go through the civil partnership process and stressed the importance of establishing legal precedents in a society often resistant to change. The continued reluctance to “call it anything but marriage” is disappointing, he said. Senator David Norris, who founded Q Soc in 1982 and was a major figure of the Sexual Liberation Movement in Ireland, also pre-

“Speaking at the occasion, O’Gorman stated that there are “still significant challenges” to be overcome by the LGBT community in areas such as children’s rights and trans rights.”

dicted that the referendum could be won. The senator was unable to attend the event but his letter to students was read out by Katie Biggs, the society’s auditor. In his correspondence, Norris, who brought the decriminalisation case to the European Court of Human Rights in 1988, expressed delight that there is now “a whole generation of vital, positive, high achieving and happy young people” among the LGBT community. Ciara Conway, Labour TD for Waterford, was also scheduled to speak at the event, but was unable to attend due to matters relating to the finance bill. Q Soc celebrated its 30th year on campus in a special commemorative event last year. It was established in 1982 as Trinity Gay Soc, renamed LGBT Soc in 1994, and rebranded in 2011 as recognition of its members’ increasing diversity of sexuality and identity. In an act of solidarity, the officers of Trinity College Students’ Union (TCDSU) acted as the society’s first committee members, due the reluctance of gay students to become publicly visible at the time.

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Aonghus Ó Cochláin

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Unprecedented Cuts to Student Services College Board waits five months to reveal landmark reductions to student service budgets No student representation on planning group for Trinity’s next five years No mention of cuts in minutes of College Board meetings where they were decided

T Tommy Gavin Deputy Editor

rinity College is set to cut funding allocations for capitated bodies in Trinity by 10% over two years, with two annual cuts of 5%. As outlined in a draft budget document obtained by Trinity News, there will be a reduction of nearly ¤60,000 in overall allocations for Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC), the Central Societies Committee (CSC), the Trinity College Students Union (TCDSU), the Graduate Students Union (GSU) and Trinity Publications; which includes Trinity News. Each capitated body has representatives on the Capitations Committee, which is chaired by the Senior Dean Prof Moray McGowan. The money in the capitations budget comes from the annual student contribution charge, otherwise known as the registration fee which is paid by all students, undergraduate and postgraduate. Before 2002, students paid a direct “capitation fee” which went straight to the capitated bodies for the provision of services and extra-curricular activities for students. This was streamlined into and made part of the overall registration fee in 2002, though with the same amount of money going to the Capitation Committee. Sources within the committee acknowledge that they were expecting cuts, but along the lines of 3-5%, not 10% over two years which they say are “precedent setting.” The cuts had been decided during a meeting on the 26th of June 2013 of the Planning Group which meets fortnightly. They

“There is no strategic plan for student services, the student experience or the capitations process.” - SU President Tom Lenihan are responsible for implementing and developing the Strategic Plan 2014-2019 of the College, though there is no student representation in the group. The Strategic Plan 2014-2019 is focused on attracting more students from outside Ireland, “harnessing the disruptive potential of technology in delivering education,” and rebranding the college. Minutes from the June meeting under the heading “Planning Group Report No. 9” note that the College requires “further income to meet its expenditure,” and that Schools are being asked to “deliver more programmes with less resources.” It makes no mention of reductions to capitated bodies. Senior Dean Prof McGowan was neither at the

meeting nor is he on the Planning Group. The cuts were disclosed in an email from Prof McGowan who noted that he received “no formal notification of the decision” until the 14th of November, and that it was one of many financial decisions made during the June meeting under recommendation of the Planning Group. Minutes from the Finance Committee Meeting of 19 September 2013 reference Planning Group Report No. 9 and note that “budgets had been communicated to Schools and Administrative and Support Areas, with a detailed breakdown of planned expenditure to be provided by each are over the coming weeks,” but they also make no mention of cuts to capitated bodies. In real terms, DUCAC is to be reduced by 17,690, CSC reduced by ¤17,916, TCDSU reduced by ¤16,229, GSU cut by ¤2,998 and Publications by ¤2,423. Sources in the capitated bodies have told Trinity News the lack of any kind of consultation or communication is the most insulting aspect of the cuts, as they were revealed five months after they were decided, which massively unsettles their own internal budgeting. Similar sentiments are found throughout the academic environment, as department heads are increasingly feeling alienated from decision making processes and strategy within the College. Speaking to Trinity News, President of the Graduate Students’ Union Ryan Kenny said that “one of our biggest projects every year is Postgraduate Orientation Week,” the success of which

is noted in the appendix to the minutes of the June 26 meeting. “Over the last two years, the GSU has developed a comprehensive orientation programme for postgrads. This welcomes thousands of newly-arrived postgrads to College every year, and is organised and delivered solely by the GSU. In other words, the College relies on the GSU to make good on its commitment to provide an adequate orientation to the students. This year, our orientation programme cost us about 5% of our annual budget - precisely the amount we stand to lose for the coming year.” Students Union President Tom Lenihan said that “the decision taken is a cynical one, and was taken without students’ consultation. That is very worrying because the Higher Education Authority (HEA), in their framework for the allocation of student services, emphasise the need for student representation and identify them as a key stakeholder. If we’re going to talk about good governance in Trinity, we need to include key stakeholders. There is no strategic plan for student services, the student experience or the capitations process.” Trinity News has learned that the capitations committee has sent a letter to board, outlining their opposition to the cuts and to having been excluded from the decision making process. Trinity News has also learned that the Students Union has sought legal consultation on the matter.

Trinity News, Vol. 60 Issue 4  

Vol. 60 Issue 4