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Save the UCD Common Room!

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Andrew Deeks, President of University College Dublin (UCD), has decided to close its Common Room Club by Christmas 2018.

The Common Room has existed since 1975, has some 900 members and is an important part of UCD's heritage. It offers a relaxed, informal atmosphere and can be joined by everybody who works in UCD - academics, administrators and postgraduate students (a unique setup in Ireland). The Common Room offers an opportunity to meet and get to know colleagues from other areas; it hosts events such as book launches, retirement receptions, charitable table quizzes and wine/beer tastings and is regularly the object of envy of national and international guests. It is a central nexus of building community, experiencing collegiality, and also a place facilitating interdisciplinary exchange in which new ideas are discussed, teaching and admin experiences exchanged and research projects born.

President Deeks now wants to replace the Common Room with a newly built University Club which is intended to be suitable for welcoming high-profile guests in a formal setting and have UCD employees, alumni and donors as members. Unlike the Common Room it will not be run by its members; decisions regarding membership fees, opening hours, staffing issues, types of events to be hosted etc. will be handed down from above (the Common Room is one of the last entities on campus that is not run centrally by UCD's management). Common Room members (and many other colleagues) fear that this new venture’s main purpose will be to generate revenue, represent the image of a new, corporate university and control staff’s activities; we argue that both clubs serve different needs and can coexist.

Members and guests know what they will lose if the Common Room goes and are highly sceptical to what extent the University Club will replace it - that President Deeks wants to close the Common Room a full semester before the University Club will be ready to open puzzles everybody and indicates the degree to which staff welfare is at the forefront of his concerns.

By signing this petition you call on President Deeks to announce an indefinite postponement of the closure of the Common Room which should continue its operations alongside the University Club. You also declare that you will not become a member of the UCD University Club (be it as a member of UCD's staff, as an alumna/alumnus or as a potential donor) and will avoid visiting the University Club as a guest or in the context of functions if President Deeks closes the UCD Common Room.

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