The executive officers of the Graduate Students Union (GSU) were deemed elected tonight at the body’s AGM, with voting having taken place online over the last couple of days.
One of the newly elected officers, Serena Foo, who was returned to the position of Research Officer for a second term, expressed her displeasure with the way that the elections were run.
Foo referenced a number of “constitutional breaches” in the way that the elections and the AGM were carried out, including the lack of a live hustings for candidates or an opportunity for a question and answer session within the meeting.
Foo, who is a member of the PhD Worker’s Rights Group, said that she would work closely with the campaign group and attempt to “repair the damage” done by the GSU by not publishing the results of a Covid-19 impact survey run as a joint project by the union and the campaign group.
Foo’s comments received some support in the chat of the zoom call, with Conor Reddy stating that “the way the PhD Workers Rights Group have been treated has been really disappointing”.
“Exactly right Serena. Thank you for speaking up!”, read a comment left by Tenaya Jorgensen.
Adrian Howlett, a PhD student in the school of English, posted in the chat that he wished to “register my extreme disapproval with the way in which this meeting has been rescheduled at short notice with no consultation”. Howlett was referencing the fact that the meeting was originally due to be held two days earlier on Monday night. “It’s disrespectful, and isn’t on”, he stated, adding that “the lack of communication and support this term has been appalling”.
Also elected tonight was Mengdi Wang, to the position of the union’s Arts Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) Officer. Wang said that she would use her position to lobby College for greater financial support for postgraduates, as well as reaching out to the Asian population of Trinity’s postgraduate cohort to get them more involved in the union.
Nilki Weerawardana was elected to the position of Engineering, Maths and Sciences (EMS) Officer. In her short address to the union council Weerawardana raised the issue of postgraduate demonstrators “not being paid enough” for their work.
The union’s next Health Sciences Officer will be Julia Wall, who said that an issue facing many postgraduate students was “a lack of being able to be together”, and said she would organise social events in order to remedy this.
Also announced tonight were the appointment of the union’s new Environmental Officer and Disability Officer, both of whom are chosen by the President and Vice-President of the union following an interview process. Sara Kift was appointed Disability Officer and Nivali Mantramurthy was appointed Environmental Officer.
Tonight’s GSU Council meeting and AGM was held over Zoom, with around 60 people in attendance.