Trinity students have voted in a referendum to shorten the term of the Ents Officer of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU). The decision to shorten the Ents Officer’s term passed by a margin of 65% to 29%, with 6% of ballots spoilt.
Following the success of the proposal, TCDSU’s constitution is to be changed to state that the union shall only provide salary and accommodation for the Ents Officer for nine months, rather than a full year. This change is expected to come in to effect from the start of the 2020/2021 academic year.
The Ents Officer’s term will commence at the same time as the other sabbatical officers but will end after the summer exam period.
Under the current system, all sabbatical officers in the union receive a salary and on-campus accommodation, which amounts to €25,000 per officer.
3092 students voted in the refemdum with 2022 voting for the change to the constitution and 897 voting against and 173 spoiled ballots.
The referendum was triggered by a motion proposed by TCDSU’s Communications and Marketing Officer, Paraic McLean, and passed by SU Council. The motion was proposed as a response to the financial difficulties faced by the union which last year recorded a €70,622 deficit and faces the prospect of being audited. TCDSU President Shane De Rís has said that an audit of the union would pose “extreme risks” to the Union’s “independence and ability to operate”.
McLean’s motion replaced a more drastic solution proposed by De Rís, which suggested holding a referendum on whether the TCDSU Ents Officer and Communications and Marketing Officer roles should be merged into one position. McLean spoke against the motion, citing the revenue raised by the two officers individually.
The University Times Editor and Communications Officer were combined as one role until 2015 when the role was split, increasing the number of sabbatical officers from five to six.