SU constitutional reform referendum to be held next year

A referendum on reforming the SU constitution is to be held in semester one of next year, Class Representative Council voted on Monday.

Students will be asked to vote on a number of reforms to be made to the constitution, including hiring an independent non-student for Returning Officer and the inclusion of fundamental rights of all SU members as members of the Students’ Union.

Student Sean Rooney proposed that the referendum be held between weeks three and six in semester one and proposed five motions to hold referenda on. All five motions were passed by CRC.

Students will be asked to vote on whether the SU should hire a professional and independent non-student for the position of Returning Officer.

There have been a number of problems with referenda and elections in DCU over the past number of years, most recently the USI referendum which had to be overturned because of a breach with the SU constitution. Council believes that a professional and independent Returning Officer would help avoid such problems.

Reforming the class representative system will also be on the ballot paper, with the exact wording to be decided at the first CRC meeting of the 2013/2014 academic year.

Renaming faculty convenors to faculty representatives will also be put to students. A survey carried out by The College View earlier this year found seven out of ten students didn’t know who their convenor was and council believes changing the name could encourage more engagement with the officers.

Another reform to feature on the ballot paper will be to give the Electoral Committee the power to decide which voting system will be used in upcoming referendums and elections. The voting system would have to be based on a legally recognisable system and it would mean removing the section in the SU constitution stating PRSTV (Proportional Representation Single Transferable Vote) is the system to be used.

Students will also be asked to vote on a number of fundamental rights for SU members to be included in the constitution.
These rights include every SU member being entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out in the article; every SU member having the right to equal access to the facilities and services of the Union; every SU member having the right to freedom of opinion and expression; every SU member having the right to take part in or run in the DCUSU elections and every SU member having the right to freedom of peaceful association.

Included in Rooney’s motion was mandating the SU to campaign in favour of the amendments, which passed by CRC.

A separate motion proposed by Rooney to create a DCU SU policy document informing students of all motions and policies passed by CRC was also carried at the meeting. The document is to be updated every 12 months with policies that were passed.

Aoife Mullen

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