SU Council passes creation of two new committees

A new, delegated Welfare and Equality Committee is to be established alongside a newly proposed Irish Language Committee

Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council passed two motions regarding the creation of two new committees this evening. 

Welfare and Equality Officer Leah Keogh proposed a motion that her position required a complete committee to assist with workload, and the current Welfare Committee is insufficient for this purpose. 

In the motion seconded by President Eoin Hand, Council approved the creation of a new Welfare and Equality Committee to be comprised of the TCDSU Welfare and Equality Officer, Junior Common Room (JCR) Welfare Officer, Vice-President of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU), SU Communications and Marketing Officer, and three elected Ordinary Committee Members (OCM). 

In addition to the members elected by students and council members, the new Welfare and Equality team is to admit the application of eight individuals for the positions of secretary, public relations officer, volunteer coordinator, research officer, off-campus officer, society liaison officer, accessibility liaison officer and first year representative.

The newly appointed members of this committee are expected to assist the Welfare Officer in planning campaigns and events and to advise the officer on issues facing students. 

In past years, noted Keogh, “additional members have been informally added” to assist with the job of Welfare Officer, and traditionally, “the committee was elected at a ‘Welfare AGM’ at the end of each academic term”. 

She also pointed out that the terms laid out by the motion passed today are only a pilot “designed to adapt to the current circumstances and alleviate any potential barriers of access students may have faced when running”.

When the TCDSU constitution is renewed by referendum in January 2021, the current terms for the new Welfare Committee will be reviewed. 

Keogh stated that she thought it was necessary to formally add more positions and specific roles to the committee in order to “ensure that all students were being accommodated”. 

“Through delegation, I believe, more effective and efficient work is done.”

She also noticed that over recent years, demand to join the Welfare Team has increased, so to accommodate this demand, she thought “why not expand the committee to have more student voices inform the work we do here at TCDSU”. 

Eoin Hand spoke out on the motion, claiming that he had “seen poor Leah organising Mental Health Week and it [had] been very, very difficult for her”, so he urged council members to vote in favour of the new motion.

After Keogh claimed that passing the motion would “make her evening”, the SU Council voted resoundingly in favour of the creation of a delegated Welfare and Equality team. 

Candidates for the position made thirty-second speeches, and a Zoom poll was conducted to assign the position for members of the new committee. Of thirteen candidates, Dylan Krug, Sophie Watson and Ben Marry were elected by the council as the first OCMs of the new Welfare and Equality committee. 

In addition to the plans laid out for the new Welfare and Equality Committee, the Council discussed the prospect of a motion establishing a new Irish Committee.

As Irish is one of the recognised languages of the union, argued Gretchen Nic Sheanlaoich, Oifigeach na Gaeilge, the SU should “include more students in the representation and backing of the Irish language”. 

After backing by Hand and Communications and Marketing Officer Philly Holmes, who claimed that his experience so far in the SU has alerted him to “the value” of the Irish language, the motion was passed to establish the new committee.

Additional reporting by Adam Balchin and Kate Henshaw.

This article was amended at 17:24 on November 6. An earlier version incorrectly stated that students joining the Irish committee would need to be able to speak Irish.

Audrey Brown

Audrey Brown is a Senior Fresher English Studies student, and the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News.