Union wants more say on college affairs


STUDENTS union officers in Waterford RTC are to press for the right of sabbatical officers to represent students on the college's governing body. At present, the two student seats on the body are filled by election but the officers are seeking to have the incoming sabbaticals nominated and elected in this month's vote. They will then press for automatic representation for sabbatical officers on the body in future years.

The newly elected sabbatical officers in Waterford RTC students' union have already stressed the need for greater student involvement in decision making in the college.

"We have the right to be consulted on how best to invest in and develop the college," said John McGrath, incoming president of the students' union. In a record turnout for a sabbatical election, 1,600 students cast their vote. McGrath polled a record 82 per cent of first preference votes.

The incoming deputy president, Natasha Hughes, also called for greater consultation with students on capital expenditure projects and the future development of the RTC. Waterford is the largest regional technical college in the country and the students' union recently hired a professional business manager, Sean Butler, to look after its business affairs.

The union is also seeking an increase in its share of capitation, amounting to around £5 per student.

"At present, capitation covers wages and nothing else, but this year we opened an office in the Good Shepherd which will cost in the region of £20,000 to run and we have developed our office in the main student building," said students' union president Rory Ryan. The Good Shepherd is the college's new campus in the city, which contains students of legal studies, social studies and music.

"We need the increase to run the offices so we can provide a proper and adequate level of services to students and so we can fully represent every student in the college," said Ryan. Discussions on the matter are continuing with the college authorities.

Yet while Waterford RTC has continued to grow, the issue of student involvement in the running of the college has been a sore point with successive students' unions.