Student union vote on opposition to fees postponed
By Martina Nee
A decision by the Union of Students in Ireland on whether to change its policy in relation to third level fees has been postponed for a number of weeks following calls by delegates for more time to fully consider the issue.
More than 300 delegates attended the annual USI conference held in Carlton Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe this week with the top issue on the agenda being the decision on whether the union’s policy on fees should be changed.
It was anticipated that the vote, described by many commentators as being an historic move by USI, would take place on Monday, however, a number of delegates requested that more time be given to allow a full and complete debate on the issue and for them to consider their position. It is now understood that the vote has been post-poned for a number of weeks.
At the conference delegates were given a number of choices in a PR-style referendum with the choices with the least support being eliminated. They were asked to rank in order of preference a graduate tax, fully exchequer funded fees, full upfront fees, the current student contribution/registration fee, a student loan scheme or none of these.
Another highlight of the conference was the visit by President Michael D Higgins who addressed the delegates yesterday morning.