Harry Williams, a candidate in this year’s Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) elections, has scrapped his pledge to work with society heads and club captains – a key pillar of his campaign – after the Central Societies Committee (CSC) asked him to remove the policy.
In a statement to The University Times today, Williams said that the CSC had “taken offence” at his plan to support clubs and societies.
“At their request”, he said, “all manifesto references to clubs and societies have been discontinued. I look forward to continuing a very positive campaign that is engaging a lot of disaffected students”.
In his manifesto, Williams pledged to “ensure captains and society heads can contact me should they have any difficulties over the coming year, whether it be booking rooms, pitches and securing more funding”.
In an email statement to The University Times, CSC Chair Lee Campbell wrote that the Williams’s pledge “misinforms students on the boundaries between the capitated bodies which is unhelpful for all”.
“The candidate in question was seeking a mandate which, if elected, he would not have the authority to act on”, he said, adding that the CSC “has a representative presence on the Student Life Committee and uses this as a means of expressing concerns about TEP and its impact – in fact, we are currently preparing a study on this very area of concern”.
Last night, at a media hustings, he was quizzed about why he had prioritised work involving societies and sports clubs that falls primarily into the remit of the CSC and Dublin University Central Athletic Club.
Williams said that “it’s really important to work with the CSC”, adding that the Trinity Education Project “is a huge barrier to society engagement”.
“The SU president should be there for everyone”, he said.
In his manifesto, Williams is also promising to make the union politically neutral, as well as attempting to better integrate students based on off-campus locations.
He’s also promised to ask the Pav to abolish the €10 minimum spend on credit cards, if elected.
Williams, a third-year world religions and theology student, is tour secretary of Dublin University Hockey Club and a former project leader with social entrepreneurship society Enactus. He has said that he is running for TCDSU president to “change the students’ union”.
“I think the students’ union has become something ‘other’ to the rest of the students. I think the majority of the students don’t vote – they dont care”, Williams told The University Times. “They see the union as this kind of thing that they can’t really be part of. I want to change that, because I think the SU could be a really great thing, and with some of my policies I could really get people engaged.”