Marcus Porfirio and Nontyatyambo Manyisane have been elected as Trinity Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) President and Vice-President respectively.
The two ran unopposed in the elections, which began on July 5th.
Porfirio ran on a platform aiming to tackle precarity in PhD work and postgraduate accommodation. He received 63.83 per cent of the vote, with some 36.17 per cent of students voting to re-open nominations, amounting to 150 first-preference votes out of a total valid vote pool of 235.
Manyisane, who plans to bring equity in welfare and education to the postgraduate community, received 168 first-preference votes out of the 235 valid votes. In total, her votes equated to 71.49 per cent of the vote, with 28.51 per cent of students voting to re-open nominations.
The results were issued in an email sent to postgraduate students this afternoon.
In the email, GSU Returning Officer Jonathan Murphy said the elections were carried out using Mi-Voice, the same platform used to run the elections in 2020 and 2021.
Murphy praised the work of outgoing President Gisèle Scanlon and Vice-President Abhisweta Bhattacharjee, saying “the past two years have seen a sabbatical team work tirelessly through the pandemic and the past year in particular has been a very vocal year in activism at the GSU with several large campaigns including #SaveCollegePark, #NoInPersonExams and #NoHEABill2022 fought at national level to seek equality for our community”.
The email also acknowledged “three great firsts” and an improvement in diversity within the GSU staff:
“The first time a Sabbatical team (both President and Vice-President) are non-EU students from different continents”.
“The first time a student from the continent of South America has been elected as a Sabbatical Officer of the GSU as Marcos Porfirio is from Brazil”.
“The first time a student from the continent of Africa has been elected as a Sabbatical Officer of the GSU as Nontyatyambo Manyisane is South African”.
The sole hustings of the election was held on July 12th at 12pm on Zoom where students could ask questions to the candidates. An email sent to postgraduate students the evening before said that the GSU was “keen to platform postgraduate questions from all sectors of the PG community”.
Constitutionally, the GSU elections must be held before the end of Hilary Term (which ended on April 24th), with new officers taking up their positions on Monday of the first week in July, which this year fell on July 4th.
The GSU previously told this newspaper that elections would be held in June despite the constitutional requirement that they be held during Hilary Term.
An email from the GSU Executive sent out to postgraduate students earlier this year outlining the decision behind running the election after Hilary Term said the timing of the election period took “on board both academic and student advice, GSU Board consultation and input from students on deadlines”.
The GSU constitution states: “The date for this election shall be decided by the Executive Committee, and shall be in Hillary [sic] term of each academic year save in extraordinary circumstances”.
The outgoing GSU President Gisèle Scanlon did not respond to queries at the time about any extraordinary circumstances which would have prevented the election being held during that term.