Postgraduates vote to establish separate representative bodies in plebiscite

PhD and masters students wish to form two separate bodies to represent each group’s interests

PhD and masters students have voted to form separate representative bodies for each postgraduate group.

In a postgraduate plebiscite conducted by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), 49.7% of students voted not to reestablish a separate body from TCDSU which would be the sole representative of all postgraduate students in College.

Of the 670 students who voted, 314 (46.86%) of voters were in favour of a single postgraduate body. 23 students (3.83%) abstained from voting.

365 (88.59%) of PhD students voted to form a separate representative body to TCDSU. 41 (9.95%) of PhD students wished to integrate PhD students into TCDSU, while 6 students abstained from voting.

Among masters students and those studying for a diploma or certificate, 158 (58.91%) of voters choose to form a separate body to TCDSU.

Turnout for the vote was 11% out of 5,859 postgraduate students eligible to vote.

In the most recent TCDSU sabbatical election, the highest voter turnout was seen in the presidential race at 9.41%.

The plebiscite used voting software MiVoice, having used Eviabi in previous TCDSU elections and referendums.

The vote took place following a consultation between TCDSU and postgraduate students.

According to a report published in March on long-term postgraduate representation detailing the procedure of the plebiscite, TCDSU said, in the event of a vote in favour of establishing separate bodies, they “cannot and should not be the ones to create these organisations”.

“TCDSU can also not guarantee that such an organisation, if formed, would be recognised by the Capitations Committee or College Board, or in what timeline this would occur”, the report reads.

TCDSU said they would “assist” the creation of separate bodies through “administrative support”, but they cannot write a constitution for a body entirely separate to the union.

The union said they would continue interim representation of postgraduate students until separate postgraduate bodies are formed.

Ellen Kenny

Ellen Kenny is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News and a Senior Sophister student of Politics and Sociology. She previously served as Assistant Editor and Features Editor