Matthew Simons elected chairperson of DUCAC

Simons was uncontested for the position at this evening’s AGM

Update, October 10: Anna Grace Ulses was elected secretary of DUCAC and the constitutional amendment was passed.

Matthew Simons has been elected chairperson of the Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC).

DUCAC, which oversees sports clubs in Trinity, held its annual general meeting this evening in the Edmund Burke theatre.

Simons, a member of DU Hockey, was deemed elected as chairperson, as he was the only candidate. He was nominated by incumbent chairperson Jemil Saidi and seconded by Greg Arrowsmith, Ents Officer of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union.

Commenting on his election, Simons said: “I’m obviously delighted, it’s a massive honour and I think it’s a really important role, even more so than people realise, which is something I want to focus on. DUCAC is a massive part of college life that I feel a lot of students know very little about and hence don’t get involved enough.”

“A large focus of mine for the year is to increase the student voice and representation within DUCAC, and DUCAC’s voice in the rest of the college, in areas like the SU.”

Aoife Simm of the Archery Club was deemed elected as vice-chairperson. Aidan Kavanagh was re-elected as senior treasurer and Gwen McArdle elected as junior treasurer. All three were unopposed.

Six nominations were received for the eight positions of club representatives. The six candidates were therefore deemed elected. They were Siddhant Seth of the Squash Club, Kenji Miyauchi of the Harriers and Athletics Club, Arrowsmith, Jody Booth of the Fencing Club, Harry Kelly of the Hockey Club, and Julie Redoubtey Moran of the Ladies’ Boat Club.

Two candidates were put forward for the position of secretary. Ella May of the Ladies Hockey Club was proposed as a candidate by Simons, and Anna Grace Ulses of the Athletics Club was seconded by Saidi.

An amendment to the DUCAC constitution was also proposed to change how candidates for elections are nominated. Currently, nominees need the support of two thirds of the existing executive committee. Under the new measure, the executive committee would only have the power to ensure that nominees are members in good standing of the organisation, rather than being able to vote with discretion, but must do this unanimously.

Voting on the amendment and the secretary position will take place online over the next 24 hours, with results announced tomorrow evening.

At the conclusion of the meeting, during the “any other business” portion, Arrowsmith gave a speech in which he said he believed it was important to have student control of DUCAC and use its position within College to lobby for funding and support for sport.

He said that he didn’t think most students are aware of how DUCAC works, and articulated a need for the organisation to communicate its role better and to differentiate itself from Trinity Sport, even as the two bodies work together on many issues.

Finally, Arrowsmith said he would be introducing a motion to mandate all sports clubs to bring in welfare policies to make sport “safer and more inviting for students” in Trinity. He said that the sailing club had already done this, and said other clubs could use their policy as a template.

Saidi concluded the meeting by announcing that DUCAC would be holding inclusion training for sports clubs throughout October around mental health, disability, and LGBTQ+ issues.

When Saidi was elected as chairperson in 2019, he was the first student to hold the position in DUCAC history. He previously served as vice-chairperson.

Simons praised the work Saidi had done over his two years at the head of the organisation: “The legacy he’s left in DUCAC and the college is incredible and he made massive progress so students like me and many more after me will have their voice heard. The work he’s done can’t be overstated and I’ve got massive boots to fill.”

At an EGM held in April of this year, the organisation’s rules were amended to make the positions of chairperson, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer only available to students, alongside a number of other constitutional amendments.

Alumni members of DUCAC opposed both Saidi’s election and the changes to eligibility rules.

Other amendments passed in April included the limiting of officers’ terms. Student officers may only hold their roles for two one-year terms and other officers for four.

DUCAC also then voted to hold its elections online going forward. Voting is done by individuals rather than by clubs. Any Trinity student who is a member of a sports club is eligible to vote, as well as alumni who pay an annual fee to maintain their membership of DUCAC (known as “Pavilion members”).

Last year’s AGM was marked by a delay in the presentation of the organisation’s annual accounts. The records were not completed until early 2021, several months after the October AGM.

This article was updated at 10:30pm to add comment from Matthew Simons.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.