Dublin University Gender Equality Society (DUGES) have voiced their frustration with the Central Societies Committee (CSC) after they were unable to change their name to the Feminist Society at the CSC Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on March 21. The failure to change the society’s name came as a result of a quorum of treasurers not being reached following the election of officers to the CSC executive.
In a statement former DUGES chair, Aine Palmer, pointed to “plenty of treasurers [leaving] as the election process was taking place”. While Palmer also expressed her gratitude for the work of the CSC, she was frustrated that there was no mention of a quorum being essential for the name change motion until after the ballots had been collected and “easily twenty [treasurers] had left”.
In the statement Palmer said: “The CSC should be working with and helping societies work through legislative changes such as this; in this case, considering no mention was made to anyone of quorate by the CSC until it was too late, I feel that this was not the case. I feel it wasn’t made clear after the Exec elections that voting wasn’t finished.”
Palmer questioned how the CSC could run all societies on campus yet were seemingly incapable of running their own AGM “smoothly enough so that all items on the agenda are covered”. She was also critical of the lack of information provided to DUGES in their attempt to change the society’s name. Palmer claims that DUGES were told specifically by CSC secretary, Patrick O’Boyle, that “it is not possible that the society would be able to make this change either currently or in the future”. Palmer claims that this was not the case and after enquiring some more they were informed that they could change their name at the CSC AGM.
Palmer’s statement concluded with an expression of regret that a “basic democratic process cannot be carried through”.
Responding to Palmer’s statement, CSC Secretary, Patrick O’Boyle said that they had “engaged in lengthy discussion with the former chair of DU Gender Equality Society (Palmer0, regarding a name change for the society”. O’Boyle denied that the executive only informed DUGES of the need for a quorum after the ballots had been collected. He continued: “During the course of the CSC’s AGM, the former chair of DUGES asked if the meeting would have to continue to be quorate for the motion to proceed, and was informed that this was is the case. The former chair of DUGES expressed concern that members of the Committee had already left the meeting room. This expression in itself necessitated that a call for quorum be made.”
O’Boyle went on to express the CSC’s disappointment that a quorum had not been met for the vote stating that it was a “requirement” for “the CSC and all of its constituent societies to have quorum present for a vote to be called”.
The statement finished with a reiteration from CSC that a name change is still not possible under the current CSC constitution. “While the motion was presented on the agenda as it was properly proposed and seconded by Committee members, the position of the CSC was that the motion represented a fundamental breach of Article 10 of CSC’s constitution. DU Gender Equality society was informed by the secretary of the CSC on numerous occasions prior to the addition of the motion to the AGM agenda that such a change would not be possible.”