Liam Coyle, a candidate for University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) President, has broken the regulations of the Executive Elections by using his position as College Officer for the School of Business to advertise his candidacy.
In an email sent out to students of the UCD School of Business from Coyle’s UCDSU email account titled ‘Update from Business College Officer – 24/02/21’, Coyle wrote: “I am running for the position of UCDSU President, and I would be very grateful if you supported a fellow business student by filling out this form and nominating me!”.
Coyle then supplied a link to the form in which he was collecting nominations for his candidacy. A short pitch explaining why one should vote for Coyle followed this message.
In a statement to the College Tribune, UCDSU Returning Officer Stephen Crosby recognised that “a student seeking nomination for the Executive Elections sent an email to a number of students regarding nominations for election using their official UCDSU College Officer email.”
In order to rectify any advantage gained by Coyle and to “preserve fairness in this election”, “a follow-up email will be sent from the UCDSU Business Officer email account” to the students who received the email advertising Coyle’s candidacy. The email will detail the full list of students successfully nominated for the position of UCDSU President, along with their campaign pages.
The UCDSU Returning Office stated that ” that the use of UCDSU/UCD Sports Club/UCD Society email lists to promote individual candidates for nomination or election has been and remains forbidden.”
Coyle: “I was not aware of the regulations[…]”.
The provisional list of election regulations was supplied to candidates during a nominations briefing on Monday, two days before Coyle committed a breach of the regulations. Coyle did not attend the briefing,
Speaking to The College Tribune, Coyle stated, “I was not aware of the regulations[…]”. The Business College Officer said that he was unable to attend the briefing due to a lecture taking place at the same time as the event and had requested the relevant information from the Returning Officer. Coyle claimed that Stephen Crosby, the Returning Officer had “never sent any information and [Coyle] was [thus] unaware.”
Coyle suggested to The College Tribune that he had not yet received communication from the Returning Officer on the topic after the breach was brought to his attention.
The Breached UCDSU Regulations
As laid out in the nomination briefing, “candidates may not use certain resources which are unavailable to other candidates to promote their campaign/mass communicate with students.” The regulations gave an example of a scenario that would breach this regulation, the use of “email lists generated for SU/Society/Sports Club purposes”. Coyle has done this by using the School of Business email list to campaign for nominations.
The regulations went on to state that elected members of the Students’ Union such as College Officers “are not to use their position to promote specific candidates for office”. Coyle has done so by using his UCDSU email address to send the email and by campaigning in the same communication as operating as the College Officer for the School of Business.
Nominations for the UCDSU Sabbatical and College Officer elections opened on Monday at 5pm. Candidates will need fewer signatures this year in order to secure a nomination for the upcoming elections. Just 75 signatures needed for nomination to a sabbatical position and 50 to secure a nomination for the College Officer Positions. The number was as high as 150 in the elections for the 2019/20 academic year.
Hugh Dooley – News Editor