Jemil Saidi becomes first ever student elected as DUCAC chair

The outgoing chairperson Donagh McDonagh was ousted by 48 votes to 49

Jemil Saidi has been elected chairperson of The Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC), following a vote this evening at the organisation’s AGM.

Saidi, the outgoing vice-chair of DUCAC and a member of the Dublin University Harriers and Athletics Club (DUHAC) will be the first student chairperson of DUCAC.

Saidi was elected in a very tight vote as he defeated the incumbent Donagh McDonagh, a former judge and former President of Dublin University Boat Club, by 49 votes to 48.

Before the vote took place the two candidates were invited to speak.

In his speech, Saidi stated that “DUCAC is not listening to what the students say but if I am elected I will hopefully change that”. He told members that there would no longer be “a DUCAC of empty promises”.

He invited members to make history in the 100th year of the organisation by electing the first-ever student chairperson.

McDonagh heavily criticised his opponent in his address to members, stating that Saidi had been tasked with setting up a committee to celebrate the centenary of DUCAC but that “no meaningful proposals have come from him in the past year”.

He also referenced an attempt by Saidi to change to the constitution of DUCAC to allocate votes at DUCAC meetings to clubs rather than to individual members. The motion was ruled out of order, and McDonagh told the assembled members of DUCAC that it has been an attempt by Saidi to “disenfranchise you all”.

McDonagh also stressed that he would fight for the continued autonomy of DUCAC and its control of the Pavilion bar which he said was under threat from other College bodies.

He asked the DUCAC members who they thought would have more credibility in meeting with other college bodies, “a student or a judge?”.

All other executive positions, baring that of the chairperson, were unopposed.

Professor Cyril Smith was returned as chairperson of the Pavillion Bar, and will now serve a further three-year term.

Rory Clarke, a member of the Rugby Club was elected as junior treasurer, Susie O’Neill of the Ladies Boat Club was elected secretary. Roger West will continue as chairperson of the Pavilion Bar members committe and David John Neill of the Harriers Club will serve as vice-chair.

Of the eight club representative positions on the executive committee, only five were filled.

The elections were temporarily delayed by an issue raised by a member of the Archery Club who alleged that access to the minutes of DUCAC meetings was denied to them by the chairperson, Donagh McDonagh, despite having been requested multiple times over the past year and a half.

McDonagh responded that before the minutes could be released there were GDPR issues that needed to be checked. He also suggested that in the future, students should send him letters rather than trying to contact him via email.

The DUCAC AGM was held this evening in the MacNeil Theatre in the Hamilton Building.

DUCAC is one of five capitated bodies in Trinity and receives the most funding from the Capitations Committee. The other four capitated bodies include Trinity Publications, Central Societies Committee (CSC), Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU).

This article was amended at 18.16 on 29/09/19 to correct a mistake that stated that Rodger West had been elected Chairperson of the Pavilion Bar, rather than Chairperson of the Pavilion Bar members committe.  

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.