At the most recent Students’ Union Council, it was decided that the position of Campaigns and Communications Officer would remain unfilled for the rest of the current academic year.
Following the Presidential by-election in semester one, the position of C&C Officer has been vacant. According to the UCDSU constitution, if a position becomes vacant in semester one, a by-election must be called. At the beginning of semester two, nominations were opened for individuals interested in running for the position of C&C Officer.
The opening of nominations was posted on the SU’s Facebook page on January 22nd, with a deadline for nominations to be returned to the SU Returning Officer by January 25th.
No nominations were received for the position, and so the matter was raised at SU Council. No individuals expressed interest in the position at Council, and the decision was made to leave the position vacant for the remainder of the year.
In cases where a position is unfilled in semester two, the constitution states that it is at the discretion of the executive (the sabbatical officers and college officers) to decide what measures to put in place to make up for the absent officer. How the union will function without a C&C Officer will be discussed at the next executive meeting.
The absence of a C&C Officer is a concern for pro-choice students in the lead up to the referendum regarding the eighth amendment. UCDSU is a pro-choice union and is mandated to campaign for a repeal of the eighth amendment, some worry that without a sabbatical officer who can focus their attention on leading that campaign, the union might not have as large an impact as desired.
During the same sex marriage referendum in 2015, the SU did not have the position of C&C to lead UCD’s campaign in favour of same sex marriage.
Before the presidential by-election, Barry Murphy (then C&C Officer) suggested that in the event that the position of C&C were to be vacant, that a committee could be put together “of college officers and campaign coordinators who are really passionate. It might actually work better, because instead of having one person trying to support a load of campaign coordinators, you have many campaign coordinators taking on that role.”
The next C&C Officer for UCDSU will be chosen during the sabbatical elections, which are due to take place after the two-week study break at the end of March.