The three University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) sabbatical officers who announced they had taken leave to campaign against President Katie Ascough were denied their request to take annual leave this morning. The University Observer reports that the action follows a complaint lodged to UCD’s Returning Officer. Voting begins in the impeachment referendum today.
The complaint cited Article 10.2.4 of UCDSU’s constitution, which states: “Requests for holiday entitlements must be approved by the President at least one week in advance.” The three officers announced on Monday night that they would be campaigning for Ascough’s impeachment.
According to The University Observer, Murphy and Torris ceased canvassing when they were informed of the complaint, which had been upheld, and lodged an appeal against the decision. They noted that the sabbatical officers had the support of the executive for taking leave, and in lodging their appeal.
A decision was made by the Independent Appeals and Disciplinary Board (IADB) to reject the appeal.
In their appeal, the officers outlined that Ascough had taken leave and had began campaigning the following day. However, IADB stated that Ascough applied to take leave to the executive on October 3 and did not start campaigning until exactly a week later.
According to IADB, the officers were informed that they could have applied for leave between October 3 and October 17, which would’ve allowed them to campaign during voting days, but they chose not to do so.
The union’s Graduate Officer Niall Torris, along with the Campaigns and Communication Officer, Barry Murphy, posted statements on their personal Facebook pages on Monday night outlining their reasons for campaigning against Ascough, while Education Officer Robert Sweeney posted an explanation last night. They have the full support of Welfare Officer Eoghan MacDomhnaill, according to a statement on UCDSU’s Facebook page.
Torris focused almost exclusively on the debacle surrounding the handbook, saying that Ascough’s decision constituted a “betrayal of a core campaign promise”, while Murphy raised other issues he faced with the UCDSU President. Sweeney largely responded to Ascough’s performance at the hustings yesterday afternoon and criticised what he sees as an attempt to frame the calls for impeachment as a bullying tactic.
Voting is to take place across UCD’s campus from 9am today until late this afternoon and will continue until 8pm tomorrow, after which the votes will be tallied and the results declared on Friday.