Katie Ascough speaking after the announcement of the referendum result.
The final results were announced at 12.45am. 4540 students in favour of impeachment with 2032 voting against with overall turnout at 6611.
Following the announcement, Ascough said “I have fought the good fight. I have been open and honest in answering very many questions. I have respected the law. I feel confident that I have done all that I could for the students that I am grateful to have been elected to represent. This is a sad day for me but it is also a sad day for our university. Universities should be a place of freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of association, fairness, respect for those who do not wish to break the law and respect for others with different beliefs.”
The past two days saw one of the highest turnouts of voters in recent years. UCD students queued at polling stations today to cast their votes, in some cases queueing for up to half an hour. Overall 69% of students voted yes, with 31% of students voting against impeachment.
Students voted in favour of the referendum in every faculty building, even on Ascough’s home turf, Science, where 72% voted yes. A majority yes vote was narrowly won in Quinn, with 55% in favour, 45% against. The largest turnout was seen in Arts, with 1787 students voting. 77% voted yes to impeachment in Arts and Agriculture, the largest percentage yes votes for each building.
The impeachment takes place following a dramatic campaign where Ascough accused those wishing to impeach her of bullying, complained about her fellow sabbatical officers, and shared a meme mocking this campus newspaper.
The conduct of her campaign resulted in the remaining sabbatical officers speaking out in favour of her impeachment. On Thursday evening, all four officers canvassed students to vote yes to her impeachment. Welfare Officer Eoghan Mac Domhnaill had originally made a public post on Facebook saying “should a referendum be called I’ll be standing by Katie all the way,” but following comments made against campus media, he publicly announced he would be endorsing her impeachment.
The petition calling for Ascough’s impeachment was initially started because Ascough made an executive decision against the wishes of her fellow sabbatical officers to remove abortion information from the Winging It in UCD handbooks. Citing legal advice as her reasons for removing the information, she rewrote the page containing abortion information herself without any legal input.
It was announced on Monday evening that three sabbatical officers would be taking leave to campaign for the impeachment of Ms Ascough. The decision to speak in favour of impeachment was made in response to Ms Ascough speaking about the sabbatical officers as sexist, bullying, and liars. In a Facebook post that has 4300 reactions at the time of publishing, Campaigns and Communications Officer Barry Murphy announced his reasons for campaigning for Ms Ascough’s impeachment. A complaint was later made to the board of directors of UCDSU that the officers had not given enough notice to take leave and weren’t permitted to canvass except outside working hours. All four sabbatical canvassed on Thursday evening outside their working hours.
The counting of votes lasted for around three and a half hours, with the returning officer Stephen Devine saying that they wanted to be methodical and eliminate any chance of a recount.
Speaking to the University Observer after the final result was announced, Amy Crean of the impeachment campaign said: “It has been a long and stressful campaign. We are delighted obviously with the turnout. We ran this on democracy, student engagement”
Ms Crean also spoke about the concerns of the campaign run by the “No” side “I think the result reflects on how the campaign was run, I feel that the concerns that were brought forward early in this campaign had not been dealt with and that’s why we got to the stage of holding a referendum…what I would like people to take from this result is that it’s about democracy, that we voted for representation and transparency.”
Members of Yes to Impeachment campaign from l-r: Finn McLysaght, Amy Crean, Sadhbh MacLochlainn and John Kerr