The “No” side in the upcoming referendum on the funding of the University Times has been sanctioned today for a breach of Schedule 3, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union’s (TCDSU) set of rules governing elections.
As a result of the breach, the campaign group will not be able to activate their official online Facebook page until 4pm on April 8, the first day of campaigning.
Head of the No side, and current Assistant Editor of the University Times, Kathleen McNamee, said: “The EC [Electoral Commission] decided to sanction us this afternoon for all the warm support we’ve received online from people who believe in the work of The University Times. The support, while completely welcome, is entirely out of our control. Editors and journalists from every major national newspaper – as well as internationally renowned comedian Dara Ó Briain – have offered their support to the paper for this campaign and it’s amazing to see such a wide recognition of all the work we do.”
Following a petition which gathered the required 500 signatures, a referendum was triggered regarding Chapter 10 of the TCDSU constitution, which covers the Union’s relationship with the University Times. The petition was sparked by controversy surrounding the use of a recording device by the newspaper in a private student residence.
Voting on this referendum will take place on April 10 and 11, with campaigning starting two days prior to this.
In addition, the EC took the unusual step of issuing a statement prior to the upcoming referenda. The statement, signed by all eight members of the EC, read: “With two referenda on the horizon we want to remind all students of College’s Dignity and Respect Policy. Please be mindful of other students during this time, treat others as you wish to be treated.”
The statement continued: “No form of unacceptable behavior will be accepted and we will not hesitate to pass on information in regard to incidents to the Junior Dean.”
A second referendum on reducing the term of the Union’s Ents Officer to nine months will be held alongside the UT funding referendum.
The Electoral Commission is the body that oversees and regulates all TCDSU elections.