DCU students have voted to re-join the Union of Students in Ireland after a decade outside the organisation.
55% of students voted in favour of DCU re-affiliating with the USI, with 786 students voting yes and 642 students voting no. In an opinion poll in the last issue of The College View, 56% of 350 students surveyed said they wanted DCU to be a member of the USI.
The result was welcomed by USI President, John Logue. “We are delighted to welcome DCU back into USI after more than a decade since they were last members.”
Logue said he hopes that “DCU students will now play an active role in our national campaigns and join with their peers across the country in fighting to protect, and striving to enhance the student experience.”
Labour DCU Chairperson and USI representative on campus, Sean Rooney also welcomed the result.
DCU Young Fine Gael, who campaigned against USI affiliation, said that while they were disappointed with the result, they respected the decision of DCU students.
Ryan Hunt, Chairperson of DCU YFG believes the USI’s presence on campus was the deciding factor in the referendum. Hunt told The College View: “On Thursday, 13 non DCU Yes campaigners were around campus, including [USI] President Logue. It is hard to compete with that manpower and financial resources but both sides had that option to import canvassers.”
Voting in the referendum, which was held in conjunction with the Reproductive Rights referendum, was originally due to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. However due to technically issues with ISS on campus on Wednesday afternoon, an emergency Class Rep Council meeting was held to allow the Electoral Committee to postpone voting until Thursday.
The online polling system used at polling stations meant the Electoral Committee couldn’t register students when they voted. Voting was extended to Thursday and polls closed at 4pm.
Speaking to The College View about the ISS crash, Returning officer for the Electoral Committee, Aideen Holden said the issue was completely out of their hands. “I think we coped with the situation as best we could. We had to make many decisions all on Wednesday morning before meeting with the campaigns to make the final decision to call an emergency class rep council. I think we handled the situation very well in the circumstances. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but I feel the referendums went very well.”
Despite the low turnout, with only 1,428 students voting in the referendum, Holden is happy with how students engaged in the electoral process. “Numbers were in line with other referendum turnouts, even with the set backs we had during the few days. Of course, any Returning Officer would love to see even larger voting numbers but the turnout was good.”