Jul 14, 2020

Electoral Commission Deems AHSS School Convenor Elections Unconstitutional

The election was ran by this year's AHSS faculty convenor without the consultation of the Electoral Commission.

Sárán FogartyNews Editor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

The election of the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) school convenors will be re-run, after the previous elections were deemed unconstitutional because it took place without the approval of the Electoral Commission (EC).

This year’s AHSS Faculty Convenor Jacqui Whelan ran the elections without consulting the EC and without adhering to TCDSU’s normal voting method of single transferable vote, resulting in the original elections being deemed unconstitutional.

In an email statement to The University Times, Yannick Gloster, chair of TCDSU Council said: “With things being online, there was just a misunderstanding on how things were supposed to run. Normally these things are done at the final faculty assembly where myself or another member of the EC would attend and run the election.”


“The Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Faculty Convenor decided to take the initiative to run it herself. After the elections were run she checked in with me with a question relating to a specific race and we determined that the election was not constitutional as it did not follow the SVT (single transferable vote) format and the elections were not run by the EC.

“After discussing with the other members of the EC, we determined that the best course of action would be to re-run the election so that it is run fairly and by the book.”

“Going forward, the EC is looking forward to working with the convenors of each faculty to make sure that the elections are being run fairly especially as we understand that things are a little more difficult with things being online.”

“We are also working with the Communications Officer to make sure that the elections are advertised to all students where applicable.”

Gloster also said that the union would be using EVIABI, a secure online voting system developed within TCDSU, for online elections.

“Due to COVID all elections moving forward will have to be online until further notice”, he added.

Jacqui Whelan did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

The election of part-time officers in April saw 16 officers elected uncontested, with nine elected after contested races.

In the elections in April, Daniel O’Reilly held onto his position as Engineering, Maths and Sciences convenor after serving in the role this year. Jacqui Whelan was elected to the position of AHSS Faculty Convenor.

Brian Hastings was elected as LGBT rights officer, after defeating Ciaran Butler, Darren Seán May, Sé Ó hEidhin and Jamie Shields to the position.

The position of officer for students with disabilities was won by Niamh Herbert, who was challenged by Harry O’Brien. Megan O’Shea defeated Laren-Ellen Dunne for the position of access officer.

Off-campus officer was won by Tidgh Maguire, who competed with Darren Sean May for the role. The position of environmental officer went to Áine Hennessy who competed, with Sean Gordon Dalton for the position. Dalton was elected as EC annual.

The role of citizenship officer pitted Matthew Henry, who was seeking re-election, against outgoing Access Officer Jodie Milne. Milne won the position.

Undergraduate Students Committee representative went to Sameer Shaikh, contested by Sé Ó hEidhin.

Correction: 8:37pm, July 14th, 2020
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the election of the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) faculty convenor was voided. In fact, elections for the AHSS school convenors were voided.

Correction: 8:50pm, July 14th, 2020
An earlier version of this article also incorrectly stated that Emma Black ran the voided elections. In fact, Jacqui Whelan ran the elections.

Cormac Watson also contributed reporting to this piece.

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