Last Tuesday and Wednesday, and UCD Students’ Union held two referendums. The Abortion policy preferendum which asked what stance, generic if any, online UCDSU should adopt on the issue of abortion and the Smoke Free Campus policy referendum gauging student support for the UCD Health Promotion Committee’s proposal for a smoke-free campus.
The Abortion Policy Preferendum had students vote on the following proposals:
“A) UCDSU should adopt a policy of supporting the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 which permits abortion in certain circumstances
B) UCDSU should adopt a policy of legalising abortion in Ireland upon request of the woman
C) UCDSU should adopt a policy against the legalisation of abortion
D) UCDSU should adopt no stance on the issue of abortion”
Option B was passed with the majority of 1198 students who participated in the vote being in favour of legalising abortion upon the request of the woman
Of a total valid poll of 2,527 option A received 28% of the vote, option B 45%, option C 8% and option D 19%
The referendum dealing with whether UCDSU would support the proposal made by the UCD Health Promotion Committee to make the entire Belfield campus smoke free, was passed. 1413 students or 55% of those who voted supported the proposal that “This union supports the smoke free campus initiative, as proposed by the UCD Health Promotion Committee.” This result came as a shock to many students. One student told the College Tribune “I genuinely think its constricting the rights of student…I don’t smoke but I voted against the bill because it inhibits my right.”
While the referendum does not make a non-smoking campus a certainty or enforce the policy immediately, it increases the likelihood of a smoking ban being passed in the near future. Students’ Union President Mícheál Gallagher had previously told the College Tribune “it doesn’t look like anything will happen until October 2014”.