The Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) was officially cut off by College Board last week when it revoked its funding and status as one of five capitative bodies. The GSU is no more.
This is the end of a nearly two-year saga that saw the GSU fail to run election after election and meetings run in dubious circumstances at best. The GSU has long had issues with democracy and finances, and College has finally put its foot down.
Facing a funding freeze in July 2021 that was implemented after a controversial EGM when the Capitations Committee was unable to reach a conclusion about the events due to a lack of engagement from the President and Vice-President at the time, the GSU was given a wake-up call. They could have used this as an opportunity to make crucial systematic changes, but they didn’t, and issues continued to pile up.
It would also be impossible to discuss the GSU’s issues without touching on the recent allegations surrounding the former GSU President. The elections that he won were unconstitutional, as were many actions carried out by his predecessor, and on top of that he faced allegations that prompted Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) to cut ties with the GSU and the college to finally do something about the lack of accountability.
While postgraduate students should not be left with no representation as their voice is critical to the College community, it is abundantly clear that the GSU in its current state is not fit for purpose. College has no records of what the GSU has done with its funding for the past year, having cited this as one of its main reasons for cutting off their funding, and the elections have become so far beyond constitutional and legitimate that it would be unfair on potential candidates to ask them to run.
It is clear to see, then, that had the GSU addressed its issues with accountability and clarity earlier, and worked with College and TCDSU to solve its financial issues, it likely would not have escalated to this point.