Thursday, 30 January 2020
STOP THE COMMERCIALISATION OF OUR UNIVERSITIES
CALLED BY UCD STUDENTS’ UNION PRESIDENT
Today, UCD Students’ Union President, Joanna Siewierska, has called on candidates seeking election to immediately stop the commercialisation of our Universities and to hold Universities accountable to the public good with non-exchequer funding.
Joanna Siewierska, President, UCD Students’ Union said;
‘Despite the funding crisis, universities appear to be doing well financially. UCD is back to pre-crash levels of funding overall and is ever expanding and pouring concrete. Ranking positions may be falling, but non-EU student numbers are rising and somehow, ends are met. The progress of our institutions, of course, lies in their ability to get money from other places.
UCD currently sources more than 60% of its income from non-exchequer sources. This depletion in public funds results in a depletion in accountability and it is having a detrimental effect on the progression of the core goals of higher education. This must be addressed urgently by the next government.
At present Universities can and they are using non-exchequer funding to benefit the University progressing as a business and not to promote the goals of public good. Our education is now a commodity.
Commodified education institutions do not have to care about the welfare of students as a top priority. They can turn around and say if you cannot afford it, do not come here. If you struggle with finances or otherwise while in college, drop out. If the 2 or 4 hour daily commutes each way become overwhelming, well, you applied to come here. We did not invite you. It is a toxic, privileged and self serving sentiment.
Our Universities are only accountable to the public good if we are funding them. If we want Ireland to live up to the ambition of equality, our next government has to start treating this chronic commercialisation of Higher Education as a massive barrier to social justice and equality and begin to plug the gap in public funding for Universities immediately.’