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UCD Students’ Union Constitutional Review Group Executive Summary

Please note that this is a summary document. Please read the proposed Constitution in full or contact / with any queries.

Article 1: Title of the Organisation (remains unchanged)

Article 2: Fundamental Objectives (remains unchanged)

Article 3: Membership (remains unchanged)

Article 4: Fundamental Rights of Membership (remains unchanged)

Article 5: Governance of the Union (remains unchanged)

Article 6: The Referendum

For the sake of clarity, Constitutional Review Group[1] proposed to eliminate percentage thresholds to trigger a referendum and impeachment by way of petition. In the previous document (i.e. current 2019 constitution) it was required to obtain signatures from 5% of the total membership to trigger a constitutional, policy, or consultative referendum and 7.5% of the total membership to trigger an impeachment referendum. It also set out percentages of the membership required to vote in referenda for a referendum to pass (e.g. 12.5% for an impeachment). Upon consultation with the SU’s current Returning Officer (hereinafter ‘RO’) and the Union’s solicitor, the group recommends the following changes:

  • 750 signatures on a petition to trigger a constitutional, policy, or consultative referendum.

  • 1500 signatures on a petition to trigger an impeachment referendum; introduction of a clause that the motion to impeach would need to be passed at a quorate council.

  • Limiting references to percentages in order for referenda to pass and setting the quorum to:

                  ○    2250 for a Constitutional/Impeachment Referendum

                  ○    1750 for a Policy Referendum

Article 7: Union Council

A small change was made for the sake of clarity that decisions around quorum should be left to Council and the Standing Orders rather than being set out in the constitution.

The membership of the council has been updated to reflect name changes and include the new groups proposed under the new constitution (part-time representatives and school representatives).

Article 8: The Union Executive

The major change to the composition of the Executive is the introduction of two new part-time roles: the International Students Officer and the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Officer. Their roles are set out in further articles.

Article 9: Sabbatical Officers

The composition of the sabbatical team will be largely the same as in the current constitution, but there are some tweaks:

  • It’s proposed to rename the Graduate Officer to ‘Postgraduate Officer’ and the Entertainments Officer to ‘Entertainments and Community Officer.’

  • Some of the language around the Welfare Officer was edited to reflect the signposting nature of the role; the Welfare Officer will have a strong link constitutionally with the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer.

  • It was agreed that the Education Officer should have a constitutional obligation to support class reps, specifically relating to their experience on boards and committees; the Education Officer will also be the core point of contact for School Representatives.

  • Postgraduate taught and research students are expressly mentioned under the brief of the Postgraduate Officer.

  • Removed the requirement for the Education and Welfare Officers to work with the C&E Officer on two campaigns each per year; the group argued that it was overly proscriptive.

Article 10: College Officers (remains unchanged)

Article 11: Oifigeach na Gaeilge / Irish Language Officer (proposed to remain unchanged)

Article 12: International Students Officer

This Article sets out the responsibilities of the International Students Officer, some of which include: fostering links with international students on campus, organising events, and working to develop a sense of community and support for international students on campus.

Article 13: Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer

This Article sets out the responsibilities of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer, some of which include: chairing the Union’s new EDI Committee and working alongside the Welfare Officer to champion diversity. It creates an express constitutional duty for the Officer to work to increase the participation of cultural and ethnic minorities within the SU and wider UCD community. The EDI Officer will work on all issues relating to equality and diversity (as set out in UCD’s EDI Policy) alongside the Welfare Officer and other members of the Sabbatical team.

Article 14: College Councils (proposed to remain unchanged)

Article 15: Part-time Representatives

The Group argued that the current system with campaign coordinators/campaigns forum was not operating to its full potential. However, the Group recognised that it was important to have someone representing such important topics and issues. The following positions would be available: Gender Equality Representative, Sustainability Representative, Mature Students Representative, LGBTQIA+ Representative, Disability Rights Representative, Student Residences Representative, Mental Health Representative, Anti-Racism Representative, and the Socio-economic Justice Representative.

Article 16: The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee

Given the proposed introduction of the Equality, DIversity, and Inclusion Officer to the Executive, the group also recommends creating a UCDSU EDI Committee. The group will be chaired by the EDI Officer, supported by the sabbatical officers, and extend membership to the: Socio-economic Justice Representative, Mature Students Representative, Disability Rights Representative, Mental Health Representative, LGBTQIA+ Representative, Gender Equality Representative, Anti-Racism Representative.

It has to be stressed that this is a forum for the creation of campaigns, events, brainstorming etc. The formation of the committee does not impact the day to day operations of the Executive and/or Council. Any policy changes, etc. would still need to be navigated through the Union Council.

Article 17: The Entertainments & Community Forum

The Group proposes to change the name of this Forum, to match the name change of the corresponding Sabbatical Officer responsible for this Forum. The names of the majority of roles in this Forum have been changed, based on the recommendations of the current Entertainments Officer, to ensure one member from each year group is represented. The positions on this Forum are now the following: (i) The First Year Representative; (ii) The Second Year Representative; (iii) The Third Year Representative; (iv) The Fourth Year

Representative; (v) The Postgraduate Representative; (vi) The Smurfit Representative; and (vii) Non-Alcoholic Events Representative. This is to reflect the increasing role of Union staff members in organising events and encourage wider representation of the Union members in this Forum.

Article 18: School Representatives

The Group has chosen to add School Representatives to the Union Council. The purpose of this addition is to address issues raised in relation to Class Rep constituencies not allowing for accurate representation of the Union members in those constituencies. This issue has arisen in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, in particular. This addition will ensure that every School in the University to be represented and this model has been used in other Students’ Unions.

Article 19: Class Representatives

The major changes to the Class Representatives’ Article are its position in the Constitution, to reflect the order that the Union Council roles appear in Article 7 and the removal of the description of Class Rep elections, to be included under Article 25 instead.

Article 20: Media (remains unchanged)

Article 21: The Independent Appeals and Disciplinary Board

A minor change was made regarding the wording on gender balance quotas for the IADB, to ensure true gender balance and to also ensure that the wording is inclusive of all genders (i.e. removing binary language like ‘male’ and ‘female’)

Article 22: Representation on University Bodies

A minor change was made regarding student representation on university bodies, particularly around the wording around Academic Council to ensure that it reflects current university practices surrounding student representation on boards and committees.

Article 23: Electoral Administration

The approach to electoral administration has been altered substantially. The Chief Returning

Officer and Union Returning Officer roles have been merged into one role, the Returning Officer, to allow decision-making on Union elections to lie with one person. The creation of an Elections Oversight Committee is reflected in this Article, too. The purpose of this Committee is to act in an advisory role to the Returning Officer on various aspects of elections, such as rules surrounding social media usage, locations of polling stations, etc.

This addition is to allow for input from members of the Union on the running of the elections. Prescriptive language regarding refunding of election candidates’ expenses has been removed, to allow the Returning Officer to review this on a case-by-case basis, based on recommendations from the Union Executive.

Article 24: Elections to Union Executive

This Article has been altered to include the procedures for electing the new Executive Officer positions, as well as lowering the signature thresholds for all elections to the Union Executive. For candidates running for the Sabbatical Officers positions, the threshold has been lowered to 100 members of the Union. The remaining Executive Officer candidates must obtain no less than 50 signatures from members of their constituencies, as proscribed in the Article.

Article 25: Election to Union Council

The major change to this Article is the inclusion of procedures for Class Rep elections and setting of constituencies, having been moved from Article 19. This is to ensure continuity throughout the Constitution by keeping all procedures for elections to Executive and Council in the one section of the document.

Article 26: Election of Part-Time and School Representatives

This Article replaces the procedures to elect Campaign Coordinators, to reflect the Group’s proposal to remove the Coordinator positions and replace them with Part-Time

Representatives and School Representatives. The elections of School Representatives are also prescribed in this Article. The Group proposes that both sets of Representatives are elected at the last Council of the academic year, in keeping with the previous procedures for Campaign Coordinators’ elections.

Article 27: Election of Entertainments & Community Forum

The procedures for election of this Forum have been separated from the Article describing this Forum, to create continuity in the Constitution by keeping all procedures for elections to Executive and Council in the one section of the document. The members of this Forum are to be elected at the last Council of the year, and the members of the Union eligible to run for each position have been laid out.

Article 28: Board of Directors (remains unchanged)

Article 29: The Constitution (remains unchanged)


Executive Summary

Article 30: Transitory Provisions

The changes made to Officers’ and Representatives’ titles, as well as the creation/removal of roles has been reflected in this Article. Any other transitory provisions required, such as formation of new Forums and Committees, and the merging of the Returning Officer positions, is also reflected in this Article.


[1] The Constitutional Review Group, hereinafter ‘the Group’ put forward a set of recommendations and the proposed changes were accepted by Union Council when a motion to hold a constitutional referendum passed on 6 March 2023.

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