Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council passed a motion this evening to mandate the union to collect data on the gender of all candidates running for positions within the union.
The motion mandates that data is collected on the gender of candidates running for the positions of class reps, part-time officers, faculty convenors, academic senators, and sabbatical officers.
The motion stated that the data collection initiative was introduced due to a “lack of gender representation amongst SU senior officers in recent years” and aims to combat this by proving data which would be “helpful in recognising trends” that indicate which sections of the union have a stronger or weaker gender balance.
Speaking at Council, TCDSU Gender Equality Officer, Aoife Grimes, said she had received “assurances” that the motion was GDPR compliant on the basis that it was for the purpose of anti-discrimination policies and would not be attached to specific individuals.
TCDSU Engineering, Mathematics, and Sciences (EMS) Convenor, Sally Anne McCarthy, spoke in favour of the motion, explaining that she is one of five women school convenors within EMS, the highest number in recent years, and “without measuring, we have no way of tracking why this happened”.
Responsibility for the collection of this data has been jointly assigned to the Education Officer, the Chair of the Electoral Commission and the Gender Equality Officer. The motion was proposed by Grimes, and seconded by the current Education Officer Aimee Connolly, as well as the Education Officer-elect Niamh McCay.
The motion was originally introduced at a meeting of Council in October, where a number of students raised concerns that the motion would breach data protection laws, leading to the motion being withdrawn.
Speaking to Trinity News, Grimes explained that she has since “changed nothing in the spirit of the motion” but had “amended the motion due to ”concerns raised by Council members”, and that the changes she made “hopefully remove this issue”.
TCDSU Council took place this evening in the Edmund Burke lecture theatre in the Arts Building.