Two thirds of references to the role of the Education Officer have been removed from the rules for the upcoming students’ union elections, compared to last year, in order to better allow current sabbatical officers to run for re-election.
Updated annually, schedule 3 sets out the rules and regulations for Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) sabbatical elections.
The 2020/21 version of the document makes 10 references to the “secretary of the electoral commission” (EC), a role fulfilled by the TCDSU Education Officer, while last year Schedule 3 specified nine duties of the secretary, most of these relating to regulations on campaign materials such as manifestos and t-shirts.
Schedule 3 for this year, presented at an Extraordinary Meeting of TCDSU Council in December which did not meet quorum, contains just three references to the role.
Commenting on the reduced role of the secretary of the EC, the chair of the EC said that having spoken to “a range of people who have run before…we were advised to add in the ability for current sabbatical officers to be able to run [again] with a bit more ease”.
Section 5.1.6(a) of the TCDSU constitution specifies that: “No voting member of the EC, including the Chair may be nominated for any other position or officership within the Union during their term of office.”
The Education Officer is a non-voting member of the EC, meaning they are not necessarily prohibited from running for other officerships during their term by this provision.
Section 5.1.5(b)(i) of the constitution also states: “The EC shall review and submit Schedule 3 to Council in the first term of the academic year.”
Addressing the fact that the regulations for elections were not brought before a quorate meeting of Council, the EC chair said: “The EC and [Oversight Commission (OC)] agreed to allow Schedule 3 to pass because we deem a document being brought to council if it was submitted and circulated to the members of a council meeting.”
“We also believe that bringing it during the first semester takes [precedence]. Also the OC consider officer reports as submitted with or without Quorum, so it followed similar guidelines for Schedule 3.”
Nominations for sabbatical elections close at 5pm on Friday, February 3, after which candidates will be announced.