Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) candidates in the sabbatical officer elections will be allowed to spend a maximum of €250, down from last year’s €300. The move is part of a range of measures that will be introduced for this year’s elections.
This year’s elections will begin on February 18 2019, with the campaign period lasting for 10 days. The elections will begin with the traditional Dining Hall hustings, with the full amount of hustings not yet known.
The Electoral Commission noted that they were attempting to reduce paper waste by creating online manifestos while also being able to produce flyers. When asked if the paper would be recyclable, it was noted that the long term goal was that there would be “no paper at all”.
This move was also questioned by Officer for Students with Disabilities, Laura Beston, as TCDSU are mandated to create accessible copies of all SU documents. Communications and Marketing Officer, Paraic McLean, noted that it would be possible to create accessible documents, provided candidates send copies of plain text.
Candidates also saw this year’s spending limits reduced to €250. The money received for a stunt was also cut to €80, from €100. This was noted as a move to make this more accessible, rather than leaving it “to the people who can afford to run”.
Ents candidates also face new restrictions in hosting events. Candidates must now host one non-alcoholic event, with wheelchair accessibility mandatory. When asked by Council if a mandate to include gender neutral bathrooms was included, it was noted that it could be added, as this plan had not been approved yet.
This follows contention in last year’s campaign, which saw 12 candidates running, only two of which were female, current Education Officer Aimee Connolly and current University Times Editor, Eleanor O’Mahony. The race was also criticised for STEM student participation with only two STEM students contesting positions, current Ents Officer and former Mechanical Engineering student, David Flood and former Nanoscience student and Trinity Collidge founder, Michael McDermott, contesting positions.
The elections also follow a series of class rep elections which suffered from a lack of engagement and confusion surrounding voting procedures.