The Teaching Enchantment Unit (TEU) has began an investigation into the referenda polls closing an hour earlier than they were intended to.
Referenda results were supposed to be announced along with the student union election results on March 7th. However, students were unable to vote on Loop for the last hour of the referenda.
Two referenda were held. Students were asked if they thought DCU Students’ Union should adopt a stance in solidarity with Palestine and if the union should campaign for the decriminalisation of the possession of drugs for personal consumption.
Chairperson for the Students for Sustainable Drug Policy society Declan Moore said: “I’ve spoken to Podge [Sheehan] a couple of times since the incident and we’re still quite in the dark about what’s going on.”
Podge Sheehan is the Democracy & Development Officer for the Office of Student Life at DCU and announced the student union election results.
The College View reached out to Sheehan for comment but was unable to get a reply before publication. He previously told The College View that “I have no information on that at the minute, but as soon as I do I’ll be disseminating that”.
Stephanie O’Toole, the chairperson for Student’s for Justice in Palestine society, hopes to see this issue resolved as quickly as possible.
“Last Thursday was the time we all had been building for and for us not to have our ‘moment’ on the steps in the U was disheartening,” she said.
“Ultimately for me, the announcement (when it comes) is a short term impact and we are hoping the outcome of this referendum will prove to have a long term effect.”
Moore said that the issue could be brought up at the next Class Rep Council (CRC). If that were to be the case, O’Toole said that: “we are hoping as elected students they respect the votes that were legitimate up until 2pm and considering the circumstances they all discuss with that in mind.”
Ógra Shinn Féin campaigned for DCU to stand in solidarity with Palestine. Their chairperson, Amy Collins, also wishes to hear news as soon as possible.
“If it being dealt with at the next CRC is the quickest way to figure it out, so be it,” she said.
The next CRC, or Class Rep Council, is due to take place on Wednesday, March 20th.
Final year international relations student Fiona Monks also campaigned for a “Yes” vote in the Palestinian referendum. Should it be discussed at the next CRC meeting, she believes there should be a clear dialogue between class reps and their classes first.
“Obviously there will be reps that have strong personal opinions on this referendum but I hope they put their views aside and accurately represent the views of their class,” she said.
To avoid a similar issue in the future, Moore suggested reintroducing a paper ballot alongside the electronic voting done on Loop.
When asked by The College View if that would be feasible, Moore said: “I don’t see why a small polling station shouldn’t be set up in the U for election days. Most people will probably still use the online option but an alternative for people who would rather use a paper ballot or for when incidents like this occur is vital.”
Moore was not able to confirm if the drug referendum reached its vote quota to be considered legitimate. But he believes had the polls remained open for the last hour, it would have reached its quota.
The College View reached out to the TEU for comment, but was unable to get a response before publication.
Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque
Image Credit: App Sliced