Petition to Impeach UCDSU President Katie Ascough has been Rejected

The University Observer has learned that the petition to impeach the UCDSU President Katie Ascough has been rejected by the Returning Officer of the Students’ Union, Stephen Devine.A source told the University Observer on Monday evening that a member of the Union contacted the Returning Officer with concerns about the validity of the petition. According to Article 6.5 of the SU constitution: “In the case of a referendum by petition, each petitioner must sign the referendum petition underneath, at the end of, or on a sheet attached to, an exact copy of the wording of the proposed referendum and provide their name, programme, stage and student number.”The petition calling for Ascough’s impeachment had the following titles: name, programme, stage, student number, but no section for signatures. On this basis, the petition has been rejected by the Returning Officer.The petition was handed to the Returning Officer on Monday afternoon with 1620 names, a higher number of names than the number of votes Ascough received in the election in March (1154). After the petition was handed over, it was expected that an impeachment referendum would be going ahead in the coming weeks.Due to procedure, if Ascough did not voluntarily take leave in the lead-up to the referendum, she would be formally asked by the Returning Officer to take leave for the duration of the lead-up. Within this time, it would be likely that the SU Vice-President, Barry Murphy, the Campaigns and Communications Officer would act in her place.The group calling for Ascough’s impeachment had been moving on to planning the next stage of the impeachment: the impeachment referendum campaign. Several eyewitnesses have told the University Observer that Ascough had also been preparing for the referendum campaign against the impeachment. She was seen posing with “Vote No” signs outside the Science building on Monday evening.Speaking to the University Observer, Amy Crean, a member of the group calling for Ascough's impeachment gave the following statement: "It was disappointing to have the initial petition rejected but we were so successful in getting large numbers of signatories that we are optimistic we will get them again. This has happened before with petitions and is frustrating but errors occur, and the students determination to uphold democracy."