Friday, 30 September 2022
Follow-Up Statement from Maynooth Students’ Union Against the Termination of the Construction of the Student Centre Levy Project
Maynooth Students’ Union reaffirms its commitment to representing the interests of students and will continue its work to deliver the critically important Student Centre needed to meet the increasing needs of students and to further enrich student life on campus.
MSU President Niall Daly said: “Following recent media coverage of the University’s decision to terminate the construction of the Student Centre levy project, I am incredibly concerned at how the university has portrayed the history of the levy.”
A referendum from 1999 sought the approval of the students of Maynooth for the introduction of a ‘special capitation fee’ of £40 p.a. per student to initiate and provide 50% of funding for the developments of student sports, social, and recreational facilities. This levy was to remain in place only for as long as is necessary to complete the capital funding of the projects, which have now come to pass (for example, an extension to Maynooth Students’ Union building was completed circa 2004). A key condition attached to the 1999 levy referendum was that “if any of these conditions are broken, the referendum shall be deemed null and void”.
When the students consented to a new levy rising to its current €150 a year (rising yearly by €12.50 per year over four years) it was contingent on the levy funding three separate main projects and other ancillary developments as agreed. The three separate main projects were:
The development of the Student Centre
The Sports and Community Engagement Cluster
The Arts and Cultural Quarter
The University’s claim that the levy was not contingent upon a Student Centre project is disingenuous and misleading. The University gave several guarantees as to what would be funded by the levy in order that MSU would be able to support the recommendation of a levy referendum to the student body – one of which was a new Student Centre.
These guarantees are outlined and reiterated in several communications by Maynooth University to Maynooth Students’ Union over the years – including but not limited to written communications from the Office of the President of Maynooth University (dated 5 November 2014, 26 March 2015, 17 April 2015, 1 November 2017). These commitments confirmed that the funds collected from the levy would deliver a Student Centre and can be further demonstrated by the promotional material for the ‘student facilities referendum’ – which was agreed by the President of Maynooth University and the President of Maynooth Students’ Union - which stated that the a yes vote would mean the development of a state of the art Student Centre and increased commuter space and that all expenditures and uses of the money collected will be jointly overseen by the student body and the University.
Other communications confirmed that the funds collected from the levy would deliver a Student Centre in a central and prominent campus location, to provide accommodation for Maynooth Students’ Union, Clubs & Societies, a wide variety of leisure and entertainment facilities including a new bar and venue, such other commercial operations as agreed with the University and general student meeting, social and recreational space.
Maynooth Students’ Union representatives take their governance responsibilities seriously. Maynooth Students’ Union has always observed its obligations as members of the Governing Authority to being straightforward and honest, and adhering to the highest standards of integrity in the conduct of our work. Governing Authority members have the power to exercise an independent judgement and MSU has been open and transparent in its consistent dissent at Governing Authority and Project Control Board to the University’s decision to terminate the construction of the student Centre project.
Maynooth Students’ Union has always sought to work in partnership with the University at all levels to deliver the best facilities for students and has pushed for the development of project control boards for the other main projects - Sports and Community Engagement and Arts and Cultural.
Maynooth Students’ Union is committed to further engagement with the student body and the University around this issue. We will be engaging extensively on the provision of additional social spaces and facilities and the longer-term vision for a new Student Centre and enhanced student facilities.
About Maynooth Students’ Union
Maynooth Students’ Union is the autonomous representative body for the students of Maynooth University and St Patrick's Pontifical University and seeks to serve their social, cultural, welfare, educational, political, and developmental needs, to further their interests, and to enhance their well-being.?Maynooth Students’ Union operates a Student Centre and provides a range of supports and other services to the student body.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Niall Daly, MSU President, at +353 87 908 3602 or firstname.lastname@example.org.