UCDSU Council meet; 2021 election dates announced.

Image Credit: UCD Students' Union

The UCDSU Council met over Zoom on February 1st for their second meeting of the semester.

With quorum reached, and the previous meeting’s minutes passed, the first item was an introduction of former Education Officer Stephen Crosby as the Returning Officer and a break down of the dates relating to the by-elections and executive elections coming this trimester. Elections will be held online this year as they were last year, and all students will have to register to vote. Crosby also took the opportunity to remind members of Council that they cannot use their position to campaign for individual candidates, but are encouraged to promote voter registration.

Nominations for the executive elections open on the 22nd of February and close on the 5th of March. Hustings is scheduled for the 25th of March, and voting will take place between 31st March and 1st April. Results shall be announced on the 2nd of April.

Motion one bought before Council stated; “Council mandates: UCD Student’s[sic] Union and its President will join calls for a ban on all deportations and transfers for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic”. It was proposed by Arts and Humanities Master's Class Representative Darryl Horan and Seconded by Welfare Officer Ruairí Power. After two questions on technicalities, the motion was passed with 50 votes. No member of Council spoke against.

Motion Two contained three mandates;

The Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Campaigns and Engagement Officer and President lobby UCD for the introduction of mandatory consent and bystander intervention training for all students and staff.

The Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Campaigns and Engagement Officer and President lobby UCD management to proactively root out retaliation against those who raise concerns or lodge formal complaints.

The Welfare Officer, Campaigns and Engagement Officer, and President lobby the Minister for Education for the rollout of objective sex education at primary and post-primary level free from the influence of religious ethos.

The motion was proposed by Power and seconded by Law College Officer Míde Nic Fhionnlaoich. Once again there were no speakers against the motion. Power responded to a question on whether people who had experienced sexual assault could avoid attending the mandatory consent and bystander intervention training, to which Power stated that they could, however, this is not included in the language of the motion. It passed with 60 votes.

Motion three, which stated “Council, therefore, mandates: that the Welfare Officer and C&E Officer lobby politicians and the HSE for the immediate resumption of STI testing and PrEP services at the GMHS and other clinics at the earliest possible opportunity as well as the allocation of additional resources to expand the test at home pilot so that it can meet demand. Council further mandates: that the Welfare Officer lobbies UCD to urgently subsidize the charge for on-campus STI screenings” and was proposed by Stage 1 Engineering Class Rep Cillian Murphy and seconded again by Power, had no speakers against, nor questions. It passed also.

Stage 2 BCL Class Representative Oliver Kilmartin brought forward an Item for Discussion, with the aim of creating a motion for a future Council that involved the training or lack thereof for members of society committees in regards to bullying and sexual harassment. Kilmartin stated that he knows an auditor who received no training. Graduate Officer Carla Gummerson, herself a former auditor of the Mature Students’ Society, stated that there is some training, but that the basic message with problems of this nature was that it was to be brought to the Chair of the Societies Council, and not dealt with by students. Kilmartin agreed that he should work with Power before bringing a motion to Council. Final Stage BCL class rep. Edward Leonard described societies as “not our own territory”, prompting Council Chair Niall Torris to clarify that any motion relating to societies would have to be phrased as a call to lobby the Societies Council, much as motions relating to UCD as a whole or government ministers are phrased.

All executive reports were accepted by Council, with the exception of Events Officer Sarah Michalek, who was absent for health reasons, and Education Officer Hannah Bryson’s, who did not submit a report but about which Torris stated: “As far as I am concerned as chair, that report is fine”. All present members of the Ents and Campaigns forums had their reports accepted also.

The next council will take place in two weeks.