Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Communications and Marketing Officer Paraic McLean has defended the running of social media at council, after an article published by Trinity News criticised it for promoting “hack culture”.
At council this evening, in his officer report, McLean defended the #councilbants Twitter hashtag, as well as the practice of handing out sweets.
Speaking at council, McLean described how the hashtag is used so “people who can’t always come to council can still interact with it”.
He said that the hashtag had in the past been used for bullying certain members of council, but that TCDSU had worked to prevent this.
Addressing the criticism made in the article that handing out sweets is unprofessional, McLean said: “Every single one of you in this room is a volunteer. All of you are giving up your time to be here. Giving out sweets is the least we can do.”
McLean went on: “I’m not allowing myself to be attacked for using my own personal account on my own time to address something that I care about.”
The article stated that: “SU hack culture is so deeply entrenched that those who are included within said culture feel more qualified than those outside it to discuss whether it itself exists. There is elitism and a perceived hierarchy of expertise even on the issues of elitism and perceived hierarchy of expertise.”
McLean came under fire in the piece for responding to a Twitter thread posted by the author of the opinion piece, Jack Kennedy. In his article, he said that “it is genuinely bizarre for a sabbatical officer, one of the half-dozen or so people inherently most represented by everything TCDSU does, to try to explain to students that they are incorrect when they say they feel left out”.
The writer stated that this intimates that it is “impossible to participate meaningfully in the running of the Union if you’re not one of them” and criticised that union members “ all have existing relationships and tend to vote for each other in elections”.
“It comes off as somewhere between intimidating and impossible to participate meaningfully in the running of the Union if you’re not one of them; they all have existing relationships and tend to vote for each other in elections”, Kennedy wrote.