Referendums to be rerun as part of SU elections

Jamie McCarron

Image Credit: Sonja Tutty

Two Students’ Union referendums that originally ran last December and were declared void due to due to low voter turnout, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

One of the referendums is whether DCUSU will remain affiliated with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the national representative for those in third level education.

For a referendum to be declared legitimate, a minimum of 10 per cent of the student population must participate. This threshold of 1,740 votes was not reached last December when only 909 votes were cast on USI membership, with 785 votes to remain affiliated and 124 votes against affiliation.

A vote to change DCUSU’s constitution, replacing the current sabbatical roles with new ones, is also being held again after being declared void with only 814 votes cast – 684 in favour and 130 votes in opposition.

The four new positions are: Vice Presidents for Academic Life, Wellbeing, Diversity and Inclusion, and Community and Citizenship. These will be brought in if the referendum passes, with the current roles being retired.

Despite low voter turnout in the past, DCU’s Democracy and Development Officer, Podge Sheehan isn’t concerned this week.

“These referenda are being held alongside the candidate elections which should be much more engaging. Naturally, as these elections involve people, there is a lot of excitement and engagement across campus which sees our students really engage in the democratic processes in the Union,” he told The College View.

Of the three referendums from December, the question that was most voted on by students was on whether tobacco products and e-cigarettes should be sold on campus.

However, it will not be voted on a second time and instead will be implemented by DCUSU alongside DCU Healthy as part of a smoke-free policy on campus, Sheehan explained, while USI membership must be voted on every three years according to the SU constitution.

DCU has had a love-hate relationship with the USI in the past; after voting to leave the Union in 2001 DCU students rejected re-affiliation in 2010 and in 2013 the result was declared ‘null and void’ because the DCUSU had not promoted awareness of the referendum.

In 2014 one single vote led to DCU rejoining the organisation when the results came to 726-Yes and 725-No, while in 2016 94% of voters supported remaining in the USI.

The voting period will begin at 7am Wednesday via Loop and end at 9pm on Thursday, with results being announced at 10pm.

Jamie McCarron

Image Credit: Sonja Tutty