The number of candidates running for Student Union positions in Dublin City University has decreased by 37.5 per cent this year and over half of the positions are uncontested.
A total of 25 candidates were nominated for the 14 available positions this year compared to a total of 40 candidates who were nominated for 13 positions in 2016.
The decrease in candidates in this year’s election has resulted in eight of the 14 positions running uncontested, meaning there is only one candidate running for each position.
These eight positions include, Vice President for Education and Placement, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Clubs Officer, Societies Officer, Irish Language officer, Engineering and Computing Faculty Representative, Institute of Education Representative and Postgraduate Officer.
“Unfortunately I can’t really see any particular reason for there being a decrease,” said Cat O’ Driscoll. “However, I would be looking at the rep system and the class rep council, to look at why the talent that exists there isn’t interested,” she said.
Adding to this, there were three candidates who had to be excluded from the race because they failed to “meet deadlines.”
One of these candidates was running for Engineering and Computing Faculty Representative and another was running for the Irish Language Officer position.
Both of these candidates missed the deadline for manifesto submission and had to be excluded from the nomination process.
These mistakes resulted in there being “a couple of uncontested positions that shouldn’t have been,” said DCU SU’s current President, Dylan Kehoe.
“There would have been 2 more contested races then which would have made the whole election look a lot better,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that there isn’t (sic) as many people running.”
The number of uncontested candidates will have an impact on next year’s SU said O’ Driscoll.
“Because there will be so many people on the executive who came through without ever going through the same process that we (past SU officers) all did” there will be a significant impact on the SU,” she said.
“Going through the process of debate with another person and making sure you have ideas is really important and makes you understand your own ideals and your own ideology in a different way when you have been challenged on it,” she said.
However, candidates who are running unopposed are not guaranteed the position.
The option of Re-Open Nominations (RON) will be made available for each race.
RON is an active vote against nominated candidates if students feel that they are not suitable for the position.
“Everybody has to be elected into their post, they can’t just get in on the nominations criteria,” said O’Driscoll.
“None of the candidates who are running unopposed have automatically received the position, there is the possibility that RON will win a race and I have informed candidates of that so they know that it is a possibility,” she said.
Because of RON “there definitely is reason to vote and there is definitely reason to engage just as if there were 50 candidates in the election because you will get to have your say,” said Kehoe.
“At the end of the day, the cream will rise to the top and the winner will be deserving of it regardless of the position,” he said.
Image Credit: Darragh Culhane