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Letter to Incoming Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris

Dear Minister Harris,

UCD Students’ Union would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Minster for Higher Education and Research. Your experience as Minister for Health towards achieving universal access to healthcare services will be a fantastic addition to the department, where key challenges remain in the level of resourcing for student supports. We look forward to working with you for the coming year, and would be very keen to engage with your

department on the proposal in the Programme for Government to develop a long-term sustainable funding model for higher-level education. We note that you spoke to the USI this weekend and would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you (as we are not a USI affiliated Students’ Union) when possible to discuss some of the key areas of concern for

students in Higher Education, such as the rising cost of rent for on-campus accommodation and funding for disability and mental health services.

The union has also written to your cabinet colleague Minister Norma Foley to congratulate her on her appointment as Minister for Education, and renewed our call for the “Provision of Objective Sex Education Bill“ to be passed. The provision of comprehensive education about the nature of consent and respectful boundaries in a primary and post primary setting

will be essential to tackle the high rate of sexual violence and harassment recorded in the USI’s “Sexual Experience Survey”. Passage of the bill would be a very welcome first step from the incoming government to ensure that students have access to objective and accurate information about relationships, sexuality and consent in primary and post-primary settings.

Le gach dea-ghuí,

UCD Students' Union