Student Parents Officer impeached at SU Council as union urges compassion for student representatives

A future election will be held at Council to fill the role

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council has voted to impeach the union’s Student Parents Officer after a report by the Oversight Commission (OC), with sabbatical officers calling for compassion to be shown towards student representatives.

Chair of the Oversight Commission (OC) Cian Walsh Walsh said that the OC had found that the officer had not attended three official meetings and that “no noticeable attempt” had been made to carry out certain mandates.

Walsh said that there had been “sufficient and significant attempts” made across “multiple channels by officers of the Union, including the Oversight Commission”, to contact the Student Parent Officer to inform them of the situation.

“Our investigation found that the concerns of student parents were still being addressed, but that they were being handled by other officers who have their own mandates and responsibilities, casework and workload,” Walsh explained. 

Walsh noted that the OC “understands” that circumstances change, particularly during this year, and noted that there could be “any myriad of personal reasons why the Student Parents Officer appears unwilling or unable to continue in their role this year”.

He said that “this isn’t a position that the Oversight Commission ever wants to be in”.

Mature Students Officer Jimi Donohue expressed concern over whether an impeachment was the  “last resort” or if there was another means through which the officer could be removed from their role.

TCDSU Welfare and Equality Officer Leah Keogh said that she “fought tooth and nail” for the union not to get to this position, but that the impeachment of the current officer was the only avenue under the union’s constitution through which a new officer could then be elected.

Keogh and TCDSU President Eoin Hand urged that discussion around the impeachment be respectful and compassionate.

Members of Council voted in favour of a motion to impeach the officer.

Marian Lovett had been elected Student Parents Officer in March alongside the union’s other part-time officers for the 2020/2021 academic year.

A former Student Parents Officer who was elected to the role in 2019/2020 was also removed by Council during their term after the OC reported a lapse in communication.

The role of Student Parents Officer is one of the part-time officer positions within the union.

Part-time officers conduct their union duties whilst remaining in full-time study, as opposed to sabbatical officers who conduct their union role as a full-time job. Part-time officers sit on Union Forum, one of the bodies within the union’s governance structure.

Trinity News has reached out to Lovett with a request for comment.

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.

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current Editor-in-Chief of Trinity News, and a graduate of Sociology and Social Policy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.

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.