Nominations for AHSS school convenors reopen following a “misunderstanding”

This year’s TCDSU AHSS Faculty convenor held elections online without the consultation of the EC, a move which has since been deemed unconstitutional

Nominations have been reopened for the Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS) school convenors, following a “misunderstanding” within Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU).

This year’s AHSS Faculty Convenor Jacqui Whelan held elections for school convenors without consultation of the Electoral Commission (EC). With College closed, Whelan held online elections for the school convenor positions, not adhering to the normal TCDSU voting method of each voter ranking candidates in order of preference. 

Speaking to Trinity News, Yannick Gloster, who is chair of the Electoral Commission (EC), explained: “With things being online, there was just a misunderstanding on how things were supposed to run.”

Gloster continued: “Normally these things are done at the final faculty assembly where myself or another member of the EC would attend and run the election. The Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Faculty Convenor decided to take the initiative to run it herself.”

“After the elections were run she checked in with me with a question relating to a specific race and we determined that the election was not constitutional as it did not follow the SVT (single transferable vote) format and the elections were not run by the EC,” he added. 

Gloster continued to explain that after internal discussions within the EC, the commission determined that the “best course of action” would be to re-run the elections, ensuring that “it is run fairly and by the book”.

As stated in the TCDSU Constitution, the EC is responsible for counting votes, while it is not the responsibility of a faculty convenor to hold elections.

Gloster stated: “Going forward, the EC is looking forward to working with the convenors of each faculty to make sure that the elections are being run fairly especially as we understand that things are a little more difficult with things being online.”

“We are also working with the Communications Officer to make sure that the elections are advertised to all students where applicable,” he continued. 

Speaking to Trinity News, Jacqui Whelan, AHSS Faculty Convenor said: “The elections for AHSS School Convenors were deemed unconstitutional due to a misunderstanding in how elections are being run online.”

“In the interest of fairness, the EC has now reopened nominations for all AHSS School Convenor positions,” she continued.

Elections for Engineering, Maths, and Science (EMS) and Health Science school convenors have already taken place. The chair of the EC explained that the race for Health Science school convenors was uncontested, and the candidates were deemed elected. 

This article was amended on the 16 July 2020 at 2:02 pm to include an update on the status of convenor elections in the Health Sciences faculty.

This article was amended on the 16th July 2020 at 4:51 pm to include a correction that the Health Science school convenor elections were uncontested, while EMS elections were contested. 

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.