Rumours that arose yesterday in relation to SU Class Rep Training taking place, not on campus, but in a Hotel have been confirmed. Tempers have flared on the posting forum boards.ie in what can only be described as outrage at this lavish spending of the €93 student contribution to the SU. For many commentators on Boards this is a complete waste of money, when cheaper alternatives are clearly available and is viewed by them as an insult in the current economic climate.
The thread started when ‘Leixlip Red’ asked if anyone could confirm the rumours that this was in fact the case. Initial responses suggested that this was a selling point touted in lectures by SU president Robert Munnelly. Munnelly later confirmed this in the following statement;
‘On the hotel thing, I can see how someone could read ‘SU people go to hotel’ and see it as a random night out for class reps for the craic. It’s not. There’s not a hope in hell I would sign that cheque.
I would also note that in the current economic climate, an effective, representative Union is needed more than ever. Also, there is no ‘normal procedure’ because we don’t usually have class rep training.
Reasons to have Class Rep Training:
An effective class rep system is the only way any Students’ Union can realistically be in any way representative. We haven’t had a genuine level of representation in years, so we’re taking a few steps this year to put the Union to work. There are a few steps involved.
1. Getting Class Reps. Going from lecture to lecture explaining what a Class Rep is, does and then electing as many as that class requires.
2. Class rep training, which every other college does, hasn’t been done by us in years. Without any kind of guidance or skills a Class Rep isn’t much use to their class. So we’re taking everyone away to the cheapest room and board we could find that would fit everyone and has the rooms we need for two full days modules and then Union Council.
We started off looking at hostels and B&Bs, but there’s not one in the country that can fit 120-150 people for a night. Most hotels would even struggle at that. The hotel we’re going to is the cheapest we could find.
3. Making sure that people in the class know who their Class Rep is.
I’ve to leg it upstairs to a capitation meeting now, but if anyone wants me to elaborate on anything here they can either email me or post it here.’
In response to this lengthy statement several of the commentators suggested such things as, why use a hotel when all the facilities needed are on campus? The response to this was that people would not hang around for the training, that they would ‘skip the modules, the point of class rep training, and come back for the dinner.’ This did not sit well with the Boardees.
Following this the thread erupted in demands for the hotel officianado to be ousted and for the exact costs that this excursion will incur to be made public. Those on Boards are clearly furious about how their SU is spending their money and this sentiment is not lost among the general student population.
We have contacted SU President Robert Munnelly and VP for Clubs, Societies and Union Development Naoise Ó Cearúil for comment, which we will hopefully be able to bring you tomorrow when we look at this argument in greater detail.
We are now waiting, with bated breath for the response of the SU president to this tirade of questions.
-Padraig McCarrick & Shane McNally
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