Referendum to be held among postgrads to determine preference for next provost

The GSU has pushed back a motion on whether to campaign for living wages

A referendum is to be held among postgraduate students to determine the group’s preference for the next provost of Trinity, which will be used to instruct Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) representatives how to vote in the election for provost. 

Four representatives from the GSU, along with six members of Trinity College Dublin Students Union (TCDSU) are entitled to vote in the election, with the electorate composed mostly of full-time academic staff.

Following the passing of a motion at tonight’s GSU Council meeting, the four votes given to postgraduate representatives will now be decided by a referendum of all postgraduate students. 

Speaking in favour of motion, GSU President Gisèle Scanlon stated that the fairest way to determine how the GSU representatives should vote “is to have a vote amongst the whole population”. 

Colin Wilt, the chair of the union’s electoral commission, agreed that a referendum was the “fairest and best way to do this”.

The motion states that postgraduates “shall attend a hustings and have the opportunity to pose questions to the four candidates, after which an online vote will occur”. 

Four applicants have so far indicated their desire to run for candidacy in the provost election.

Commenting on the potential candidates, Scanlon said that “they’re all as good as each other”.

Professors Linda Doyle, Linda Hogan, Jane Ohlmeye, and Dr Sarah Alyn-Stacey will first have to face an interview panel, overseen by the College Board, in order to make it onto the ballot paper.

Following the interview committee’s selection of candidates, the campaign period for the provost election will run from 5 February 2021 to 7 April 2021. The election itself is scheduled for Saturday, 10 April 2021.

The successful candidate will take up office on 1 August 2021, pending approval by the College Board.

At Council, the GSU was due to vote on a motion to campaign for living wage on campus, but chose to delay the motion until their next meeting after disagreement arose over the content of the motion.

The motion set out that the GSU would “campaign to introduce a living wage or higher across campus for postgraduate students, temporary and contracted staff”.

PhD student and member of the PhD Workers’ Rights Group Conor Reddy suggested that the motion include a mandate against the use of temporary and precarious contracts.

Similarly, PhD researcher Tenaya Jorgensen raised that “for many of us it’s not a question of being paid well, it’s the question of having a contract itself and establishing the hours”.

“It’s not just about the wages, it’s about ensuring we have the contracts and the hours.”

The discussion on a campaign for a living wage has been moved to the next meeting of the GSU Council.

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.

Audrey Brown

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

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.