Students in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology will vote tomorrow in a referendum on whether to remove the role of education officer from the union’s constitution.
The referendum, which was called by the President of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Students’ Union (GMITSU) Mark O’Brien, will see students decide whether to keep the role of Deputy President for Education.
Still a relatively new position, the education officer role was introduced four years ago and is currently occupied by Aaron Burke.
Speaking to The University Times, O’Brien said: “We didn’t feel it was working for us as a union or students in GMIT.”
The union, he said, has remained neutral in the debate, even if it pushed for the referendum. Quorum for the vote is 10 per cent, which equates to nearly 700 students.
Under the GMITSU constitution, a referendum can be called by the president of the union’s executive.
“There has been a mixed reaction [from students]”, O’Brien said. Following the referendum, if students vote to remove the role, GMITSU will revert to three sabbatical officer roles, made up of the GMITSU President, the GMITSU Vice-President for Welfare and GMITSU Vice-President for Mayo, who is based on the college’s Mayo campus,
The plan is to use the money saved from the education officer role to introduce a full-time communications position in GMITSU, as opposed to a communications sabbatical officer.
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) President, Michael Kerrigan, speaking to The University Times, said it wasn’t USI’s role to influence GMITSU’s constitution.
However, Kerrigan, a former education officer and former president of GMITSU, added “having been in the post, I felt at the time it was a benefit”.