Thursday, 4 June 2009

GOWN EXCLUSIVE - Union in controversy after survey leads to job losses

The Gown has uncovered evidence of serious administrative dysfunction at the heart of the QUB student union, with a haphazard survey leading to the loss of full-time jobs in a recent restructuring effort.

A recent 'have your say' survey, conducted by the union, with the blessing of the university, (QUBSU is unique in the UK and Ireland in being subordinate to, not independent of, its university) was designed to overhaul the composition of the union, supposedly bringing it into line with the views of ordinary students. The Gown understands that a low uptake of the survey, and thus an unrepresentative survey to act on, prompted the subsequent actions of certain union sabbatical officers.

A number of sources have confirmed that drinks vouchers, worth £1.80, were exchanged for participation in the survey in and about the Union bars on a Thursday night. These vouchers were handed out by, amongst others, incoming union president Shane Brogan, currently VP for Equality & Diversity.

Sources have also confirmed that students present completed the questionnaire under the influence of alcohol, having consumed prior to going out. It is thus suggested that the findings of the survey are compromised through incapacitation or patent disinterest.

Student responses to the survey later precipitated a restructuring effort at the union, with five full-time members of staff losing their jobs, in the midst of torrid recession. Sources speaking to The Gown have questioned the validity of the findings of the survey, and in turn the fairness of the subsequent decision to make certain staff members redundant.

The Gown
team intend to fully investigate this story - more will follow in the coming days.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's stories like this that make the Gown worth saving.

From the info you have given it looks likely QUB wanted rid of certain members of staff but needed some kind of 'evidence' to support the sackings. So they bribed students with alcohol (how ironic) to tick a few boxes and give them an excuse to sack long-serving, dedicated members of staff.

And Ciaran: for your involvement in this - shame on you. Preaching rebellion and practising ass-licking.

Anonymous said...

To whoever anonymous is! Wise up and leave Ciarnan out of this! If your a student- he bent over backwards for you this year!!

Anonymous said...

what a Load of tosh. Ciarnan is one of the few officers who has a bit of bite. What have the others done? Not only that but he is nice person aswell: something you can't say about all those ones.

Anonymous said...

I took part in the survey on one of the nights - and it was fine. I don't see the issue. It took 5 or 10 mins and so they gave me a voucher and entered me in some draw. Its what happens everywhere. Its people like me who spend money in the union and so it was good to be asked what i think. Just cause i was out to enjoy myself doesnt mean my opinion dont matter

Anonymous said...

What a breaking story- over a month old and discussed at the student council! You and your paper is really on the ball.

Anonymous said...

let's guess who anonymous number two is...stand up mr helferty!!

Gown Team said...

The Gown is the first news source to report on this story. The Irish News broke the story after we did.

Anonymous said...

Wete all those students officer messers not out surveying? Why don't the rest get a mention?

Anonymous said...

I think the onus is on the new sab team to ditch the strategic plan...I mean I did the survey but didnt tick the box "sack full time staff."

I think the new SU exec has a tough job on its hands, its quite clear that current and continuing exec officers are only willing to pander to the university's agenda...

lets hope this controversy halts the power trip of current and incoming SU presidents...

Anonymous said...

yawn yawn. Pathetic. Just bitching of the lowest order in the comments section of this blog.

Anonymous said...

So who are these full time staff that are getting the sack then?

Anonymous said...

James - perhaps you should get on with your job instead of posting on the Gown?

Anonymous said...

It the summer people - chill out.

Phileus Fogg said...

'It's stories like this that make the Gown worth saving.'

Perhaps the Misses Wylie and Small should stop praising themselves anonymously everytime they post a blog entry! Tut tut!

Protora Brown Nose said...

I hope you will consider equality when you are sacking people.

Catherine Wylie said...

I can assure you that I have better things to do than post anonymous comments on this blog!

Anonymous said...

I think the headline is a bit misleading and plainly wrong. The University or any kind of employer can not sack staff merely on the basis of a survey - their decision will be based on finance and performance of employees.

I think the gown are be used to put an untrue twist on this story.

Anonymous said...

anyone recognise any faces on the bbc website or saturday's mirror?

Anonymous said...

Wylie, updated in the coming days?

I think not

Anonymous said...

Anyone care to know that half of the exec have quit - Kevin, James and Fergus? Just because they can't be f*cked to finish the year. No great loss to be honest, Laura/Shane/Ciarnan have been doing all their work anyway. As far as staff leaving, i only heard of the one. Maybe if the staff were named... Also - any decision has to be ratified by either council or a Union General Meeting or a referendum. And if you want to challenge the decision call one - a UGM or ref. that is. It's not hard. Also - they are bringing in new staff positions which by law, all those being made redundant can apply for. There are job cuts all over Northern Ireland - why is it so suprising that there are some within the union?

Catherine Wylie said...

I am out of the country until mid September and have left the newspaper in very capable hands over the summer to prepare for the next academic year. In the few days before I left there were no substantial updates on this story.

Sabbatical Hopeful said...

Couldn't agree with anonymous more

What on EARTH would we do with Ciarnan and his two children??

They are just so amazing...

(lick, lick)

Fergus said...

I don’t usually read this thing but I thought I'd have a look, and as I’m quite bored at the minute and have little to be at, I think i'll just correct a certain someone.

I did not quit. I resigned. There's a difference.

I resigned to take up a University sponsored internship and only had to do so as a formality because, being the dedicated hard worker that I am, I didn’t take all of my annual leave throughout the year and Ciarnan in all his wisdom refused to give me the holidays over the dates I would be leaving because I would miss crossover with the new sabatticals.

So, there you have it. Instead of quitting because I couldn’t be bothered I resigned 9 days early because I was instructed to do so in order to receive pay. I went through things with Susan and the Education and Welfare Adviser before I left so she is well prepared.

As for criticising the work i've done...tell that to the many, many people i've helped stay in courses, stay in University, get help with mental issues, get deposits back, get out of housing contracts, get guidance about drug use and their friends drug use, and not be taken advantage of by the University disciplinary system. For every stupid ill thought out yap you have, I have a thank you note from a student.

That means a hell of a lot more than keeping some fool like you, who clearly is ever so involved in student issues, happy.

Keep your petty bitchiness in mind when the Night bus that runs this year stops someone from being attacked (as it already has done). Maybe you'd prefer it if officers sat and wrote committee papers about papers that went to a committee, having been approved by a committee but sidelined because a committee committee'd a committee... writing papers and sitting at a desk doesn’t make you a good officer. Too much of what goes on in the Union is exactly what the University wants to be going on - distracting officers with badly disguised tasks that offer some sort of feeling of self importance and play right into their hands. Instead of dealing with things that affect students, officers are compiling statistics or writing audit papers. When you’re sitting at your desk at 11.30pm writing a paper for a health and safety committee about the ins and outs of plug hole safety, you’re not watching future plans for the Union and the University. When you find job losses, not just in the Union but in the University funny, you are not doing your job. That’s part of the reason why in the next few years, proposals for fee increases at Queens will pass so seamlessly, almost unnoticed and why the number of sabbatical officers will decrease leaving you to be represented solely by full time employees of the University, who no doubt will do their best for you but who ultimately are employees and can’t open their mouths quite as wide as a student can for fear of their livelihood.

I reply to you because i'm bored, but for someone who obviously feels so strongly about all this, it’s nice of you to voice your concerns on the 19th of June. First complaint I've heard all year.

Rant over.
Sunshine and lollipops.

Man with a Vagine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

cafeful all, you have annoyed dear Fergus. As we all know he was an officer of which the University of Ulster could be proud, so lets have no bad words about him here. As he said himself= sunshine and lollypops.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with people on this blog? and what the hell type of comment is that 'Man with a Vagine'

Shame on you for witting something so pathetic and shame on the Gown for publishing it.

People really are cowards when they wait for people like Fergus and Ciarnan to finish before they criticise.

Fergus said...

Yes be cafeful. Never underestimate the importance of being cafeful. Especially when eating "lollypops". Spelling the University of Ulster would be proud of.

Jtown bashing....i like it :)

Or me bashing. Either way it made me laugh.

Danny Gillen said...

I remember them handing out those surveys. I was drunk at the time and filled in 3 of them for the vouchers. Just ticked random boxes.

Greg Fox said...

The problem simly lies with the privatisation of the union, in the sense, that the article touches upon. The university owns, Its ludricrous. The Students Union, IS A UNION. Unions are designed to representative the views the of their members, and hold a governing institution to account.

I cant the sabbatical officers dont anything about this. It may be difficult because their power is limited. But they are hardly shouting about it.