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Levy dispute puts new Student Centre in doubt

A legal document has been sent to the University on behalf of the Students’ Union over concerns that students have been overcharged for this year’s student centre levy.
_MG_5974Last year’s charge of €150 was increased this year to €157.50 per student, which is a jump of five per cent. However the levy, which is index linked, should be in line with current inflation levels. During the past twelve months to August inflation has been running at just under minus six per cent.
This means that rather than increase the student centre levy, it should have been reduced in line with the country’s economic deflation.
Students’ Union President, Gary Redmond, confirmed to The University Observer that the Union’s legal team had sent a four-page document outlining the Union’s concerns with the inflated levy, but declined to offer any further comment.
A spokesperson for UCD confirmed that the University authorities had received correspondence from the Students’ Union querying the extra €7.50 charged to each student, adding that the Bursar would be meeting with Union representatives later this week to discuss the subject.
It is believed that legal action may be taken on the matter should the dispute remain unresolved.
Work on the site of the extension has meanwhile ground to a halt, with a contractor yet to be appointed to oversee the physical construction of the extended complex.
The University spokesperson explained that the “Student Centre project is divided into two parts. The enabling contract for drainage, sewerage, and connections […] is now complete. Details of the main contract will be released shortly and work should commence in October.”
The project is also believed to be running approximately €5m under budget. Work on the student centre extension was originally supposed to be completed by December 2009.
The levy was initially introduced in 1998 following a referendum of the student body to approve the construction of the current Student Centre building, and was originally set at IR£30, rising to IR£50 within two years. Plans for a major extension to the building were approved at a further referendum in April 2006, with the levy rising accordingly from €63.50 to €150 over three years to fund the project.
The new development, formally known as the UCD Student Learning, Leisure and Sports Complex, is planned to include a cinema, debating space, purpose-built drama theatres, and a 50m swimming pool.