Referendum on TCDSU constitutional reform postponed

Union Forum and the sabbatical team opposed voting on the proposed constitution in its current form

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council has voted against putting a proposed new version of its constitution to referendum. The motion was proposed by Yannick Goster, USC Representative and seconded by Zöe Cummins, STEM Convenor.

Gloster cited the union’s 2019-2023 Strategic Plan that “calls for a full review of the

[TCDSU] Constitution”. He noted that the the Constitutional Review Working Group (CRWG) delivered a review of the current Constitution, and “proposed a new constitution to better reflect the way the Union currently operates and to improve its structures, its accountability, and accessibility”.

The motion resolves “that a referendum be held to adopt the proposal of the CRWG as the

constitution of the onion”.

Gloster described the proposed text as a “massive improvement” on the current constitution, and said that putting it to referendum “is allowing students to make this decision themselves and have the discussion”.

STEM Convenor Zöe Cummins spoke in favour of the motion, saying; “It’s not a perfect document, but we need a new constitution. If it passes we can call a referendum and change it.”

The referendum proposal was opposed by Union Forum, which is made up of the union’s sabbatical and part-time officers, citing a need to revisit some of the proposed changes. The motion would have had students vote on the entire proposed constitutional text at once.

LGBT+ Rights Officer Jenny Maguire spoke against the motion, noting that the proposed text would remove part-time officer positions, including that of the LGBT+ Rights Officer, from the constitution. The positions would instead have to be periodically re-approved by the union.

“The voices of marginalised people have to be protected,” Maguire said. “We have to be sure that’s protected and we can’t just debate about it afterwards.”

President Leah Keogh, Education Officer Bev Genockey and Welfare & Equality Officer Sierra Muller-Owens all also spoke against the motion, citing different elements of the proposed text and a need for further consultation with the student body.

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.

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current News Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister Sociology and Social Policy student. She previously served as Assistant News Editor.