With year on year confusion about how the elections work and why we’re voting, here are some frequently asked questions and less frequently given answers.
What is Student Council?
Student council meets on a Monday about every two weeks. It is led by an independent chair and consists of sabbatical officers, class reps, college officers, the campaigns coordinators, and some members of the Ents crew, as well as a secretary who is a student. Any student can attend council, but they must sit in a separate area to those elected and they do not have speaking rights. At each council, motions are put forward for the approval of the council. Any member of council can propose a motion and students can ask a member of council to put forward a motion on their behalf.
What is voting down the ballot?
UCD voting is carried out similarly to Irish political elections in that there is proportional representation. This means that you can vote 1,2,3 etc, down the ballot. If your number one choice does not gain many votes, then your vote may be transferred to the candidate you put down as number two. Voting down the ballot ensures that instead of just voting for one candidate you are ensuring that the kind of candidates you like are likely to get elected and the kind that you don’t like, have less of a chance. This means that there is no such thing as a wasted vote as unlike in American elections if you vote for an unpopular candidate your second vote will still be used.
What is RON?
RON stands for Re-Open Nominations. This vote is treated like a candidate. If you do not like any candidates for a race, you can vote RON number one. If you really like some candidates and greatly dislike others, you can vote for the ones you like, followed by RON, and then the ones you dislike in order of preference. This way your vote is likely to go to the candidates you like and is highly unlikely to go to the candidates you do not like and if it does it will go to the candidates you dislike the least.
What does the Students’ Union President do?
According the UCDSU constitution the President is the “CEO, First Officer & Chief Spokesperson of the Union and shall be responsible for the administration of the Union. All staff of the union shall be ultimately responsible to the President.” The union, however, also has a Chief Operating Officer who is a full time paid member of staff and, not a student, who deals with the day to day running of the union.
What does the Students’ Union Welfare Officer do?
The Welfare Officer is “responsible for issues that relate to student welfare.” This includes counselling services, mental health, disability services, sexual health, LGBT+ issues, and many more. The Welfare Officer handles a lot of student cases but is not a counselling service and must refer students to the relevant services.
What does the Students' Union Education Officer do?
The Education Officer is in charge of “issues of academic interest” including fees, exams, library services, etc. The Education Officer also handles personal cases and must, like the Welfare Officer, keep those cases confidential.
What does the Students' Union Graduate Officer do?
The Graduate Officer deals with “issues relating to the education, welfare, and student experience of graduate students.” They also handle a lot of student cases. They must maintain office hours at the Blackrock campus “at least one day per week.”
What does the Student's Union Campaigns & Communications Officer do?
The C&C Officer is in charge of campaigns. They coordinate the running of SU publications such as Wingin’ It though they have no part in the running of the University Observer which is editorially independent from the union. While the President is “responsible for the provision of events,” the C&C Officer is chairperson of the Ents forum. The C&C Officer is responsible for the upkeep of the website and SU social media.