Debate Breaks Out In UCDSU Over Use Of Oscailt

 
“Jaysus. RTFM” sez Wag “UCDelete Aint In The Instruction Manual That Comes With The Code " To my infuriation and repugnance certain things have been revealed to me regarding our union that has really made my blood boil. I have decided to post them up here because I hope to see a debate developing and above all accountability in the Union corridor. On a day when thousands of leaving cert students celebrate the end of years in school, acrimonious debate has broken out in UCD Student Union circles over accusations that the union is about to scrap its use of Oscailt as the content management system for its web presence. Indymedia regulars will be aware that Oscailt is a piece of software developed to run the Irish node in the Indymedia network and made freely available and distributed for non-profit use on the internet. A document criticizing the new James Carroll led administration was published on Indymedia late last night after a claim it was “temporarily hidden ” on the UCDSU.net website, a website described as “Indymedia in blue” by some of its harshest critics. The final issue of last year's UCD based student paper, University Observer also contained an editorial accusing sites like Indymedia of having a "crucial missing ingredient" - that of "editorial control and responsibility." The document, published by Enda Duffy, a former deputy president candidate in last year's union election, strenuously defends the use of Oscailt before moving on to attack the new administrations decision to increase sabbatical wages alongside other bouts of recent expenditure. Finally it calls for disaffiliation from USI calling it a “political play ground”. Earlier in the month a thread expressing concerns over the handling of interviews for three union staff positions was also “deleted by person or persons unknown.” The five new sabbatical officers issued a response last night claiming there were factual inaccuracies contained within the original article” Analysis On Education: Chomsky Discusses Education and Power | Modularisation In UCD: What Exactly Does It Mean For Us? | The OECD report on higher education a Critique | Travellers in Education: A Very Irish Aparthied | Where the education cut backs are hitting | OECD Report Critique | OECD Report Critique | Kathleen Lynch On OECD Report A Chronology of the Recent UCD Movement 2002 October- CFE take 17 seats on UCD SU council UCD students barricade education minister into building Students occupy N11 dual carriage way in opposition to fees Largest On Campus Protest In Years November- College Tribune Polls Encouraging For UCD Left UCD Lecture Boycott ( 1 ) DecOccupation of Department of Transport UCDSU Election Gossip Starts2003 Feb- CFE organise road blockade break away on USI marchUCD SU elections get underway March- The Spoof Threads: The SU Elections And CFE Paul Dillon The New FF President Of UCDSU Dillon, Regan Kelly Win In UCD May Campaign for Free Education and USI Occupy Two Buildings Campaign for Free Education Reacts To Governments Statement on Fees ( 1) A Run Down On The CFE The archived CFE Site Typical Acrimonious UCD Thread Around Socialist Alternative, SP and SWP 2004 November UCD Students Ban Coke Bin Tax prisoner romps home to Academic Council while Coke boycott stays Coca-Cola bring in 'Top Gun' as re-run of UCD Boycott Referendum approaches UCDSU Defeats College Library Cuts After Series of Occupations December 2004 Election Debates Begin Leading to one of Indymedia's biggest threads ever March IEF Challenges Threat Of Privatisation April Nursing students march for entitlements interview with nurse Reclaim The Campus McDowell Flees UCD In Garda Van(1) May USI Officer Board Manifestos NCAD votes to boycott Coke UCD Postgrad Fees go up 10% - Who voted for and against? August Mass Occupation Of Department Of Education( 1, 2) OECD Report Leaked in the Media. September Controversial Freshers Guide Published Students Protest Housing Crisis Science Restaurant Stops Hot Food UCDSU Hosts ISF For Second Time October/b>Justin Barret 'Attacked' while attending UCD debate.( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Coincidence Or Not? Students Slam Coke CEO's Honoury Degree Coke Workers Visit UCD Again Nov UCD Students Slam College’s 150th Celebrations UCDSU Block Breaks Off USI Demo For Direct Action December . Further Plans To Escalate Demoncracy Now Campaign Staff Unions and Students Unions join forcesStudents March On College Presidents House Over Wasteful Expenditure( 1, 2, 3, 4) 2005 Jan Nominations for UCDSU Sabbatical Elections 2005 Education Officer James Carroll defeats Joanne Doherty to become President, Dan Hayden takes welfare, LY's Jane Jones in education and Anto Kelly in Ents April 2005 Police, Services, Bonfire and Buckfast: A Celebration Of A Year's End March Police, Services, Bonfire and Buckfast: A Celebration Of A Year's End April UCDSU Delegation “Disgrace Themselves At USI Congress August Application Process For New SU Staff Causes Huge Controversy L and H Allegedly Contact Fascists For Immigration Debate Visit The UCDSU Oscailt Site Transparency and Accountability in UCDSU and The Failure of USI By Enda Duffy To my infuriation and repugnance certain things have been revealed to me regarding our union that has really made my blood boil. I have decided to post them up here because I hope to see a debate developing and above all accountability in the Union corridor. The web site: It has been exposed to me that the website is going to undergo some drastic change. Not only is this going to cost some amount of money the job is going to be giving to a close friend of a certain hack that is always spotted skulking around the corridor. It is obvious that there is fear of criticism on the part of some officers and deem it necessary to employ censorship. The fact that the site is transparent and accountable is a good thing in my observation. Students are entitled to hold there officers accountable and this site is the only possible outlet to do so. If it ant broke don’t fix it. It will be a frivolous was of union time and resources. This site was designed for FREE by a union officer that cost Students nothing. The previous year spent €1000 on designing a site that was useless. James Carroll intends to spend more probably on an equally useless site. Any attempts to change this site should be left to council and not one man who has a problem with constructive criticism. Any attempt to alter this site will be met with serious opposition. On a further note please stop boycotting the website James, so far you have not put up any report we want to know what you have been doing for the last two months. My analysis The site is perfect the way it is we wont get better. Officers and students from other colleges look at this and read what’s on it. Be warned do not change it without the permission of council. If you do we will mount serious opposition and propose at the first council that the website be left the way it was. Continuing waste of your money. So far your sabbatical officers have received a nice bonus of €30 a week this brings their salary up to a hefty €330 per week plus expenses. This is an extra €7800 per year and of course we foot the bill. Not only that but it seems the tight restriction on mobile phone bills that was implemented by Dillon and Scully has disappeared and the whole cost of the sabbatical mobile phone bills is covered by you. Smells of Aongus the Fungus all over again. Each sabbatical officer recently received five new t-shirts and two jumpers with their name embroidered on it. Not only is this one of the most idiotic and pretentious thing I have ever heard of, but conservative estimates puts the bill for this clothing in the region of €600-€1000 of yes your money. Last year UCDSU managed to purchase 100 t-shirts for €300. Instead of having five people kited out in the most self-riotous daft clothing we could have given 200- 300 students a t-shirt and brightened up their day along will getting the SU message out there. Those jumpers are extremely intimidating to randomers and are purely an effort to make certain people feel self-important. It creates a cliquey and unwelcoming atmosphere. Finally I was informed that your new sabbatical officers will now have lovely new business cards to match their beautiful new sweaters. (Cost of this unknown) My analysis All sabbatical wage increase have to be ratified by the independent appeals board if this was not done then sabbatical officers will be forced to pay back the extra money that they received. Mobile phone bills should be axed staff officers don’t receive them nor do executive officers. All officers have phones in their offices these are cheaper to use and should be used. The T-shirts should be burned failing this I ask all sabbatical officers to refuse to wear them in protest at the idiotic and scandalous waste of money. Business cards come on lads are you really serious or is this just a piss take. I also think that class rep training should be held on campus. It is purely a junket for union hacks that spend the weekend drinking and making idiots of themselves (I know I used to be one of them). I will also be asking at the first council for a breakdown of all the costs over the summer of each sabbatical officer. Phone bills, expenses cost of jumpers and business cards etc. so perhaps someone could save me the trouble of asking. Also I encourage everyone who has interests in the SU to run for class rep accountability is extremely important in student politics. USI This organisation has been poisoned over that last few years by careerist hacks that use it as a political play ground to further their own political ambition and build a nice CV. This useless organisation costs UCDSU over €92000 per year in affiliation fees, to represent us on a national level. Realistically the government makes a mockery of USI. I would have more trust in Hugh Brady defending student interests than any USI officer. At least Brady gets to meet with the Minister for Education now and again. On top of this it costs UCDSU €3000 to train our sabbatical officers at UOS. Hack fest 05 or should I say USI national congress cost around €10000 paid for by UCDSU. So what exactly does this 92 grand go on? From what I can see it goes on the wages of the officer board, around €500 per week and their expenses. Last weekend USI brand hacks arrived in Dublin for national council. They stayed in our student residences. I’m not certain who paid for the accommodation but it is quite possible that UCDSU did. But the scandalous thing is that these flats were scheduled for renovation so they would be up to standard for incoming students next year. Our union president kicked up a fuss with the administrator and hay presto renovations were halted until the hacks move out. It is quit possible that they may not be ready in time for incoming UCD students. The were even wined and dined in our student bar courtesy of you and you even paid for their bowling and quasar down in stillorgan last Friday night. The really scandalous thing is when I popped my head into the national council most of them had left for home before any business was conducted. All they were here for was the junket. So far from what I can see no action has been taken on any motion that was passed at national council but sadly I can say it doesn’t surprise me. My opinion One solution, disaffiliation. Take back our €92000 and invest in a much-needed councillor for the Students of UCD. At least we would be getting value for money. Feel free to dole out your opinions, criticisms and analysis. After all that’s what's so good about this website. (BTW I presume some anonymous gutless fools are going to post “Enda is just bitter about loosing the election” well I have just saved you the bother) The Response To The Above Document By All Five Sabbatical Officers This is a response by the 5 sabbatical officers to the many factual inaccuracies contained within the original article posted here. All sabbatical officers have contributed to it. The purpose of this statement is to set the record straight about the mistakes and inaccuracies of the original article. Individual officers may also offer their own analyses and opinions on the thread, but this is purely a joint response in order to correct the many falsehoods and errors the article contains. It should be pointed out that drafting this response has involved substantial fact-checking and thus has taken a great deal of time and effort. As a result of this, many officers will be staying on at work for at least another few hours. Thus, this means that time that could have been spent doing important work has had to be spent instead correcting one person’s false statements. Despite the time involved, it was felt that correcting these false claims was an urgent matter given the seriousness of the allegations. Hopefully this will be a reminder to anyone who wishes to write on this site in the future, to be responsible about what they say. 1) The first factual inaccuracy of this article is in the title. In this year’s union there have been no cover ups, no “bullshit” and definitely no over-expenditure. In fact, despite the author including the phrase “cover ups” in the title, he makes no mention of this anywhere else in the article. And far from “over-expenditure”, this year’s Students Union have made a concerted and successful attempt to ensure that students are getting the very best deals for their money in every area of union expenditure. For instance, the Freshers Guide will pay for itself, and the freshers packs will actually make money for the union, while at the same time being far more complete and attractive to students than any previous year. This is only one example of a union-wide attempt to ensure that students’ money is used wisely. 2) QUOTE: “Not only is this going to cost some amount of money the job is going to be giving to a close friend of a certain hack that is always spotted skulking around the corridor.” The amount of money going to be spent on this website is substantially less than was spent on the website the year before last. Furthermore, the person who we interviewed for the job is not a "close friend" of any SU officer, but rather an acquaintance of one. Indeed, they had not seen or heard each other in 6 years. Furthermore, he has a 1.1 degree in Computer Science and Multimedia and so has more than the necessary qualifications needed to design a website. Moreover, no final decision as been taken as to who will design the website. 3) QUOTE: “Any attempts to change this site should be left to council and not one man who has a problem with constructive criticism.” It is not “one man” who is making decisions regarding the website. This matter has been discussed at exec and some consensus has been reached by the various officers. 4) QUOTE: “It has been exposed to me that the website is going to undergo some drastic change…. It is obvious that there is fear of criticism on the part of some officers and deem it necessary to employ censorship.” The clear implication from this is that the students union officers plan to remove the “open publishing” aspects of the site. This is untrue. The officers have decided to make substantial cosmetic changes to the website, while keeping the essential features of the current website, such as the ability to publish news, analysis etc. The purpose is to make the site look more welcoming and easier to navigate wile at the same time retaining all the characteristics of our site which lend openness and transparency to the union. 5) QUOTE: “…All sabbatical wage increases have to be ratified by the independent appeals board if this was not done then sabbatical officers will be forced to pay back the extra money that they received.” This is factually incorrect. It was decided in the academic year 2002/2003 by the Independent Appeals Board that increases to sabbatical officers’ wages would be linked either to national wage agreements or the rate of inflation, whichever of these was higher at the time. In Paul Dillon’s year, the exec decided not to take any increases for themselves. Last year, the students union decided to take a small increase. This year, the union Financial Administrator calculated what the wages would be today based on the IAB’s decision in 02/03, and from this calculation made an increase to the Sabbatical Officers’ wages. 6) QUOTE: “Each sabbatical officer recently received five new t-shirts and two jumpers with their name embroidered on it…. conservative estimates puts the bill for this clothing in the region of €600-€1000 of yes your money.” This is also a complete falsehood. The t-shirts and jumpers did not cost between 600 and 1000 euro. Could the author please tell us who supplied these “conservative estimates”? The T-shirts, far from being “purely an effort to make certain people feel self-important” are an effort to drastically improve recognition rates of the sabbatical officers, which were very low last year. It has not been decided when and how often they will be used yet, but it is likely that they will be used during registration days and other times when students need to be clearly able to tell their elected officers apart form other students. 7) QUOTE: “Not only that but it seems the tight restriction on mobile phone bills that was implemented by Dillon and Scully has disappeared and the whole cost of the sabbatical mobile phone bills is covered by you.” Also factually inaccurate. The Welfare Officer Dan Hayden worked in a phone shop which dealt in the services of all three of Irelands mobile providers and in light of his experience he volunteered to take care of ensuring the union got the very best phone deal. In this he succeeded- giving the union an average 35% more call time than they had last year at less cost. The new phone deal ensured that officers ( such as the Ents officer) who needed to use more mobile phone time were not penalised as the minutes were taken from a central pool which is carefully monitored to prevent abuse. Any charge over the number of minutes paid for by the union are paid for by the officer responsible. 8) QUOTE: “Finally I was informed that your new sabbatical officers will now have lovely new business cards to match their beautiful new sweaters. (Cost of this unknown)” Untrue. The Students Union PA was asked to get a cost for business cards, Indeed, for a welfare officer handling casework to have to resort to writing their details on rolodex cards neither garners trust nor a sense of professionalism- characteristics important to the work of all the sabbats. Many other unions use business cards and we consulted with them on their usefulness- the feedback was unanimously positive- it is likely some sabbats will pursue this. Indeed, it is hardly a surprise that many people who work with people have business cards. It is because they work. 9) QUOTE: “It is quite possible that they [student accommodation] may not be ready in time for incoming UCD students.” Factually incorrect. This is simply wrong. We requested the apartments, the accommodation office was delighted to help us. Seeing that all parties paid for their accommodation, why would this not be the case? 10) QUOTE: “They were even wined and dined in our student bar courtesy of you and you even paid for their bowling and quasar down in stillorgan last Friday night.” This is factually incorrect. There was no alcohol paid for by UCDSU, nor did UCDSU pay for the bowling or quazar. All that was paid for was one meal on the Saturday. This was done out of courtesy and goodwill towards the democratically elected union officers from around the country. 11) QUOTE: “The really scandalous thing is when I popped my head into the national council most of them had left for home before any business was conducted. All they were here for was the junket.” On the day before National Council there was a full day of training, which went on until about 9 O’clock in the evening. This was an entire day of training, and was the primary reason for the officers from other colleges traveling to Dublin. In fact, many union officers attended training modules that they were not required to. Much of what happened on Saturday was voting on elections to various committees and positions in USI. Since it was one vote per college, all that was necessary for the voting was one person from each college to be there. So for several hours of the National Council meeting there was no need for many people to be there at all. Furthermore, while some officers from other colleges did leave before the end of council and thus missed the officers’ reports section, it should be remembered that this was held on a SATURDAY. For people traveling back to Cork or Galway on a Saturday morning, that was most of their day gone, and they had just spent pretty much an entire day at training modules on Friday. They would only get back late Saturday afternoon which meant that much of their weekends was spent at this USI event. Based on these clarifications, the five sabbatical officers request the author to retract his claims. Please in the future when attempting “positive criticism”, base your arguments on fact, not fiction. Signed, Dave Curran, SU Deputy President, Dan Hayden, SU Welfare Officer, Anthony Kelly, SU Ents Officer, Jane Horgan-Jones, SU Education Officer, James Carroll, SU President. http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/aug2005/kate.jpg

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