This year’s Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) elections were clearly riddled with errors, and – perhaps more worryingly – the union has flat out refused to clarify how far these errors have reached.
This newspaper spent days tracking down and trying to piece together how the GSU class representative elections were run this year. Glaring mistakes with the voting system, which allowed anyone to vote in any race as many times as they wanted to, had clearly occurred – that was plain to see and something the GSU acknowledged in a statement to The University Times.
But extremely simple questions about the elections were not answered – in fact GSU President Gisele Scanlon simply refused to answer them and GSU officers seemingly ignored repeated requests for comment. Questions such as: when did the elections run and were all elections going to be rerun due to the “security breach” found in the voting system.
Instead, after multiple requests for clarity and comment, the GSU President bizarrely tried to shift attention away from what was a shambolic election period on to the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) class representative elections, which had had to be briefly extended due to a delay in sending out voting links to students.
This mistake should have been avoided of course, but it was a single mistake which was quickly rectified. Overall, TCDSU’s elections worked exceptionally well and were secure – the mistake alluded to by Scanlon was a drop in the ocean. It in no way compares to the issues surrounding the GSU elections, which breached its constitution and fell short of any reasonable interpretation of how an election should be run.
Not only that, but it is shocking that Scanlon would evade simple questions about the GSU’s elections that everyone should know about, and instead point the finger – for seemingly no reason – at a union that the GSU is meant to be working alongside.
Despite this newspaper’s reporting, a shroud of mystery still hangs over the GSU elections. Postgraduates need representation now more than ever, and the fact that the validity of the elections is currently in question – and with no answers in the pipeline so far – simply isn’t good enough.