Apr 16, 2024

Sabbatical Officers Fail to Advertise Office Hours, Breaching SU Constitution

Brídín Ní Fhearraigh-JoyceDeputy News Editor
Photo by Alex Connolly for TCDSU

By failing to advertise weekly open office hours for students, Student Union sabbatical officers have repeatedly breached Schedule 4 of the Students’ Union Constitution for the 2023/2024 academic year.

Schedule 4 of the Students’ Union Constitution states that ‘Sabbatical Officers are required to schedule at least two hours per week during term time, during which they will be available for students to drop in, and that these will be publicised by the Students’ Union in the weekly email.

TCDSU’s President László Molnárfi, Welfare Officer Aoife Bennett, and former Education Officer Catherine Arnold have failed to advertise any office hours in the weekly TCDSU emails for their sabbatical terms. Communications Officer Aiesha Wong and Ents Officer Olivia Orr have each scheduled a single two hour session out of a required twenty sessions of open office hours during their terms as sabbatical officers. 


For students, face-to-face contact with union officers has not been publicly broadcasted to students via email. This means that in-person student access to student union representatives is not publicly accessible for students. 

According to Section 5.2.5c of the TCDSU Constitution, it is the duty of the Oversight Commission to ‘investigate possible breaches of [or] persistent inaction upon: policy, mandate and constitutional obligation’. 

At a TCDSU council meeting held on February 20th, the Oversight Commission brought a report detailing numerous breaches of TCDSU’s constitution by President Molnárfi. Additionally, the Oversight Commission brought a report on its own performance, stating that the Oversight Commission had “failed to fulfil its mandates”. It was also revealed to Council that the Oversight Commission had not reviewed Schedule 4 of the Constitution and “there have also been issues where investigations have not been fully dealt with and communicated”.

The University Times has learned that a formal complaint about Sabbatical Officers’ lack of mandated advertised office hours has been made to the Oversight Commission, but has yet to be followed up on. 

Prior to 2023/2024, open office hours have previously been advertised weekly and observed by TCDSU sabbatical officers. The motion to host advertised weekly office hours was originally proposed by former TCDSU President Shane De Rís in 2018/2019, and was later renewed in 2021/2022 by former Education Officer, Bev Genockey. 

TCDSU have been contacted for comment. 

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