USI Congress seems to have been a great success.
Here’s what Aishling Gallagher had to say.
‘This has probably been the most isolating, lonely, disheartening and miserable week I’ve ever had. Left out to dry by my own students’ union, I stood up for what I knew was right and was hounded for it. I called out the fact that the atmosphere of Congress is horrendously sexist, and was screamed at publicly by a delegate I don’t even know, who then tried to engage others in shouting at me too. Itried to leave my NUS-USI role at the door and act as a QUBSU delegate, and was hounded for publicly criticising USI- even though that’s my right as a student, I’m not here as an NUS-USI Officer. I have met some wonderful people and have appreciated all of the support so, so much- but unless we come back with a motion declaring Congress ‘owns’ delegates once they’re on the floor rather than delegate leaders, for my own health and sanity I won’t be back to USI. This is a poisonous environment for those willing to break the status quo and I just can’t do it anymore.’
More on Aisling Gallagher’s story here
And from UCDSU
‘An overwhelming majority of UCD’s delegation chose to leave the Congress floor today following the passing of a motion which had not been debated on despite repeated calls to do soThe motion in question ordered a committee be set up to form alliances with anti-austerity groups. It was submitted in the same format as a number of other motions from the same delegation with the proposers acknowledging its vagueness. A number of speakers from both UCDSU and other delegations were waiting to speak on the motion. The UCDSU President approached the Steering Committee and attempted to raise standing orders to increase time for debate prior to the motion but a misunderstanding left the impression that this motion would not be discussed until the “Undiscussed Motions” section. The Trinity Students’ Union President also attempted to raise standing orders and facilitate debate on the motion.
Those who left the floor felt that the proposer deliberately exploited the Congress rules to ensure that not a single opposition speaker had a chance to speak. Despite this, Congress delegates voted to pass the motion by approximately a 2/3 majority despite witnessing the desire of members on the floor to speak against. The proposer of the speech also used his time to identify members in the UCDSU delegation from the speeches they had made previously and make assumptions on their views and background, causing offence to their fellow UCD students present.
UCDSU members did not walk out because of the technicalities but because the proposer of the motion purposefully used the entire remaining time to make his speech, despite the UCDSU President walking on to stage and urging him not to summate in the circumstances. Members who walked out after the vote had differing views on the motion itself, but were frustrated by the stifling of debate and the subsequent reaction by the Congress floor to UCDSU’s delegation.
UCDSU sent a full delegation to congress to participate, had put forward motions, won motions, lost motions, been divided on motions and been on the wrong side of the procedural issues during the week but remained active and engaged in the process. UCDSU acknowledges that it is difficult for other colleges to respect and understand UCD students’ decision to leave while they remain members, but at delegation meetings UCD delegates reported increasingly hostile reactions. This was particularly prevalent during this motion.
It became increasingly clear to the UCDSU delegation that their presence on Congress floor was affecting the outcome of motions and was negatively swaying votes due to an increasingly emotive and hostile atmosphere. This was damaging the debate and voting process of Congress.
When it became apparent that it was no longer going to be possible for the UCDSU delegation to positively engage in the debate a majority of the delegates choose to leave Congress floor. ‘ Rachel Breslin UCDSU President 12/13
One from an ex USI supporter: