More students voted in UCD’s abortion referendum last year than in this year’s UCD Student Union presidential election.
Pro-life campaigner and activist Katie Ascough was elected president of UCD’s Students’ Union which voted to maintain their pro-choice position on abortion last year. 3,237 votes were cast in the election, while 4,726 were cast in the referendum to maintain UCD’s SU pro-choice position after calls for a neutral stand were made in November.
One UCD politics and economics student, who wished to remain anonymous, said students need to reflect on the lack of voter participation in the SU election.
“Everything in the Union has checks and balances, so I think the onus is on next year’s Council to make sure that everything is discussed, debated and accounted for,” the student said.
“In my opinion, Council has been quite dull the last few years and has lacked serious debate, so if Ascough getting elected is what’s needed to spark some healthy debate and invigorate discussion, then that can only be a good thing.”
The student went on to explain how while such debate may be helpful, the reaction on social platforms such as Twitter to her election thus far has been “vicious”.
“I do understand that people were extremely upset and do feel genuinely isolated and disenchanted, but some of the names and comments about [Ascough] were very personal and hurtful,” the student said.
Ascough, a third year UCD Science undergraduate and member of Students for Life, commended her fellow students for not dismissing her for personal views on abortion and vowed to represent all students in a speech following the campaign.
“I love UCD, it’s an inclusive place. I know I came here with opinions that might not be the norm, I understand that, I have run for this election knowing that,” said Ascough, “and I have now been elected UCD SU president and I am very aware of that, and I will be a president that represents everyone.”
The UCD SU president-elect is currently deferring interview until she takes office in June, but said in a previous interview with The University Times that she will “be communicating with the rest of the SU team, as to what my position should be in the repeal the eighth campaign,” and “would like to delegate the campaign to the welfare officer and to the [campaigns and communications] officer where appropriate.”
Ascough writes a column in the monthly Catholic magazine Alive! and her father sits on the Iona Institute board of directors, an institute that promotes the place of marriage and religion in society.
Image Credit: The College Tribune