Dundee University Students' Association

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Dundee University Students' Association
Institution University of Dundee
Location Airlie Place, Dundee, Scotland, UK
Established 1903
President Iain MacKinnon
Members c. 17,000
Affiliations Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland, National Postgraduate Committee, British University Sports Association
Website www.dusa.co.uk

Dundee University Students' Association (DUSA) is the students' association, legal representative and students' union for matriculated students of the University of Dundee. It is known locally as 'The Union'.

Membership of the body is automatic for all students of the University, although it is possible under statutes to renounce this membership at any time. The Dundee University Students' Association, as with its neighbours in the other ancient-organised universities in Scotland, is co-existent with the University's Students' Representative Council.


The DUSA building is located in Airlie Place, in the centre of the University's Main Campus and caters as a private members' club offering bar, nightclub and refectory services for many students, particularly undergraduates. It is also responsible for the operation of a number of small shops throughout the university's campuses. In 2004, it underwent major refurbishment work. This included adding a new nightclub, and redesigning the interiors of the bars and recreational spaces. The building also contains the University's main swimming pool. DUSA also provides a number of other typical students' union services such as advocacy on behalf of its membership and assistance to individual students.

The largest of the buildings four bars is located on level three, and is known as The Liar. It takes its name from the novel of the same name written by former Rector Stephen Fry.

The building also contains a grocery shop of the Premier franchise, of which all profits are given to DUSA.

History of the Association[edit]

Ellenbank, former home of the Students' Association

The Students' Association was founded during the University of Dundee's period as a college of the University of St Andrews. The Dundee Students' Union, as it was known, was largely autonomous of the bodies set up at United College.

The Union gained its first accommodation by the renting of the Ellenbank building in 1905 with £4,000 raised from the University College Bazaar - a fairly regular event of official speakers, entertainments, live music, comedy and stalls - held in October 1903. The building itself was constructed as a villa in 1813 and had been acquired by the University College in more recent years.

Ellenbank was separated by levels, providing separate rooms for the male and female students - with the ladies entering up a flight of stairs to the rear and the gentlemen having sole use of the "handsome" entrance hall. Despite the segregation, this was probably the first Students' Union in the United Kingdom to admit both men and women to the same association and also to allow them use of the same building. Ellenbank later underwent extensive renovation in the 1920s, and was connected to the neighbouring (and similar) Union Mount building, which housed the College library. By 1969, it was decided that new and larger premises were necessary and a new building, named New Dines, was completed in 1974. New Dines was demolished in 1986 and the new Central Library and Students' Union building were constructed on the site thereafter. The Ellenbank building is now used by the university's School of Accountancy.

Student Media[edit]


The present publication issued by the Association is known as The Magdalen. From its beginnings in 2006, the magazine has undergone several transformations under former Editors Lauren Bennie, Natalie Coupar, Beth Shackley, and Melina Nicolaides. Content is more politically focussed with issues addressing both domestic and international development. A free publication, the magazine is circulated within the DUSA building and associated buildings on the campus, as well as further afield in local cafes, pubs and shops.

The present Students' Association building (top centre) and the university's Airlie Place

There is a long history of student publications at Dundee - before 2006, The Magdalen was known as The Student Times and criticised for being bland and inoffensive.[1] This bucked the tradition of very political publications such as Annasach (Gaelic: Unusual, Unconventional) which was edited for a time by controversial ex-MI5 agent David Shayler, who was responsible for printing extracts from Peter Wright's Spycatcher - a book banned in the UK at the time.

Lord George Robertson was also a columnist for the newspaper in its early days.[2] Another former Labour MP, Brian Wilson, was also involved as an early Editor of Annasach. It was his experience as Editor that helped him found the West Highland Free Press in 1972.

Annasach survived from the University's independence in 1967 until 1994.[3] Prior to this, College was the publication in general circulation at Queen's College Dundee, which went on to become the university.

Significant transformations began in 2006 when Vice President of Communications Mike Sheldon took the decision to drive campus media forward. The VPC called a meeting with The Student Times contributor Darren Reid and DUSA's Present Student Member for Communications Lauren Bennie to discuss the future of student publications on campus.

On Mike Sheldon's lead, The Student Times became The Magdalen and ran with its first headline "Welcome to the Jungle! (and University)". With four other contributors, Issue 1 contained 14 pages of University news and advertising, five of which were solely focussed on The Executive.

By Issue 2, "The Magdalen Strikes Back", more topical issues were pushed on to the pages - a sign of the political feelings on campus. With Darren Reid and Lauren Bennie on Editing and Layout, additional contributors were recruited, including Milan Bogunovic who later became President of DUSA. Article coverage included political opinion pieces, the smoking ban and North Korea.

As the 2006/07 term neared an end for contributors and the magazine, it became clear that The Magdalen required new writers and new direction. When David McLeod took over as Vice President Communications, he put Lauren Bennie at the helm of the magazine and student media communications. A long term plan was drafted and The Magdalen received the financial backing required to regularly publish 8 issues throughout the student year. SRC's Student Media Representative Lauren Bennie primarily recruited SRC members Gavin McNee and Laurie Cameron to contribute opinion pieces and music reviews.

Following Lauren Bennie was the Editorship of Natalie Coupar, who continued The Magdalen's position as both an entertainment magazine but also a tool for on-campus political commentary. Following her time as Editor, Natalie was elected to the position of Vice President of Communications within the Union where she established the Memorandum of Understanding between DUSA and The Magdalen, ensuring the magazine would be supported financially, and that the Editor would be elected by the students, alongside the annual DUSA Executive elections.

The current editor is Lottie Haley-Lee.

DUSA Radio[edit]

Founded in 2009 as Discover Radio by students Sam Gray and Robin Murphy, and launched in October 2010, DUSA Radio is Dundee's only student radio station. Funded and facilitated by DUSA, it provides entertainment to students and non-students alike. It is run by, and for, the students of Dundee and aims to help students get their first foot on the media industry ladder. 2013/14 brought a complete rebrand and incorporation under DUSA Media under the management of Craig Donoghue. The current radio manager is Chris van de Konijnenburg. So far this year the studio has been renovated and all of the equipment has been upgraded. 2014/15 is promising to be the most successful year yet.

DUSA TV[edit]

DUSA TV was formed in late 2009 and regularly produces content by students, for students, which are then published on DUSA TV's YouTube channel and the DUSA Media website. Content includes a weekly news programme, The Soc Adventures focusing on societies and sports clubs as well as sketches and longer pieces of fiction. The current manager of DUSA TV is Gillian Howieson.

DUSA Media Website[edit]

In 2012 DUSA appointed its first Online Media Manager, Harrison Kelly, to coincide with the launch of a DUSA Media website. This website hosts articles from The Magdalen and others written specifically for online, as well as hosting DUSA TV's videos and a DUSA Radio live feed. The current manager is Katharine Sharpe.


There are four sabbatical officers of the Students' Association, and three non-sabbatical officers who form the Students' Association Executive. At present, the 2014/15 officers, who took up their positions on 1 July 2014 are:

  • President: Iain MacKinnon
  • Deputy President: Stefan Tomov
  • Vice President of Communications and Campaigns: Zuchaela Smylie
  • Vice President of Student Activities: Douglas Schreiber
  • Vice President of Engagement: Joe Royce
  • Vice President of Student Welfare: Elena Angelopoulou
  • Honorary Secretary: Tim Hustler-Wraight

The DUSA Executive along with six external trustees form DUSA's Board of Trustees which meets on a regular basis along with DUSA's senior managers and the Executive Support Officer Anne Marie Bottoms.

In 2015, the results of the elections were as follows:

  • President: Tim Hustler-Wraight
  • Deputy President: Leia Farnan
  • Vice President of Communications and Campaigns: Dominic Younger
  • Vice President of Student Activities: Indrė Urbanavičiūtė
  • Vice President of Representation: Rebecca McCall
  • Vice President of Engagement: Omar Abdulkader Mostafa
  • Vice President of Student Welfare: Thara Packiahrajah

The new Executive will take office on July 1st 2015.


DUSA is affiliated to the Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland (CHESS) and the National Postgraduate Committee. Unlike most students unions in the United Kingdom, DUSA is not affiliated to the National Union of Students. This stance was confirmed in a referendum held on the 1 and 2 April 2010 in which 1795 students voted against and 467 voted for NUS affiliation.

The Union has a collective purchasing and co-ordination agreement with a number of other students bodies through the Northern Services group [1].

The Sports Union is affiliated to British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS). Unlike in many universities, the Sports Union is a separate body from the main Students' Union, instead it is officially part of the University's structure. DUSA and the Sports Union collaborate on many projects, and the Sports Union Executive officers used to be based in the main DUSA building. They are now based in the University's Institute of Sport and Exercise. The current Sports Union President is Grant Murdoch.


External links[edit]

  • www.dusa.co.uk - Official website of the Dundee University Students' Association.