On Thursday evening, at the AGM of Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC), Trinity’s sports clubs voted for change – electing a student as chair of the organisation for the first time and voting out incumbent Donagh McDonagh, a man who has come to symbolise the old guard.
In doing so, they voted for progress.
For years, DUCAC’s decision-makers have come from a small pool of well-established clubs, who often benefit from their status when it comes to making calls on funding and other issues.
But now, with a new chair, Jemil Saidi, in charge, DUCAC has the capacity to change – to revamp its voting structures, to make its dealings more transparent and to open up the budgeting process. The next three years, with Saidi at the helm, will shape the future of the organisation.
But the new executive committee must now walk the walk. While Saidi’s election marks a sea change, it means little unless tangible changes come with it.
To begin with, Saidi must circle back to a proposal he made in April, changing DUCAC’s voting system for the election of its executive committee. It’s clear by now, despite some people’s insistence to the contrary, that a free-for-all voting system only serves to allow bigger clubs to sway elections.
A system where every club has the same vote is a far fairer way of electing the representatives who will make DUCAC’s decisions.
DUCAC’s budgets and the minutes of its executive committee meetings must also be made publicly available. A large chunk of students’ capitation fee goes to the organisation, and students ought to know what is going on behind DUCAC’s doors.
DUCAC should also reconsider the process by which it allocates its budgets. It’s hardly a surprise that bigger clubs take the majority of the pot, but DUCAC must remember why it exists: to benefit all clubs, not just those with the biggest memberships.
People will scaremonger and loudly object. But now is the time for bold action.
The wheels of change in DUCAC are turning, and members must capitalise on this momentum. Otherwise, in three years time we could see DUCAC revert back to its old ways, with no notable changes to speak of.