James Williamson emerged the winner of a fraught and divisive campaign to become UCD Students’ Union Education Vice-President for next year, winning the support of 52.4 per cent of voters against John Logue’s 41.3 per cent. Six per cent of students voted to re-open nominations in the contest.
Asked how he felt having won the race, Williamson stated that he found the entire campaign “extremely enjoyable.” He paid tribute to the campaign run against him, stating that “John Logue ran a very good campaign against us as well, and he didn’t make it an easy ride for us at all.”
Williamson stated that the matter of the Student Services Fee would be his top priority when he succeeds current officer Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin in July, explaining that on the “first day in office I’ll be working on the reg fee and grants and stuff like that. They’ll be my priority.”
John Logue, of 2nd Law, conceded that “the people have spoken and I can’t argue with that.” Logue repeated his intention to remain involved in the Students’ Union next year by running for class rep, joking that “whether my class will forgive me enough for neglecting my lecture-attending duties to elect me I don’t know, but I’ll run for it anyway.”
Tension was rife between the two campaign teams throughout the two polling days as both were accused of intimidation and bullying tactics. The SU’s Returning Office called a disciplinary meeting with both candidates on the evening of the first day of polling, in an attempt to diffuse the building rivalry between both camps.
Deputy Returning Officer Stephen Whelan told The University Observer that “there were a lot of problems with inexperienced campaigners… they were being rude, they were pulling people away, they were shouting over each other.” Whelan added that campaigners conducting themselves in a disruptive manner were taken aside and told not to “let it happen again because that undermines the Union, it undermines the elections and it annoyed people.”
Commenting on the meeting, Williamson said that “there were allegations made by either side that the other team weren’t canvassing in a respectful manner,” adding that “the Returning Officers called a meeting to clarify everything and to tell us all if we have any problems sort it out now so that it doesn’t continue.” Williamson described the meeting as a success and said that the situation “was just hearsay that kind of got out of control.”
Logue insisted that reports of any campaigners misbehaving had been “blown massively out of proportion.”