Carla Gummerson (centre) has been elected Graduate Officer for UCD Students’ Union next year. Gummerson was elected on 46 votes after the 3rd count, beating the two other candidates contesting the race. Aaditya Shah (left) received 31 first preference votes, while Rekha Vishnu Nargargoje (right) received just 22.
No candidate ran for the position of Graduate Officer during the main elections in May which led to the calling of a by-election to fill the role. Carla Gummerson will join five other elected Executive Officers of UCD Students’ Union as they transition into their roles this summer.
Fewer than 15 students attended the announcement of the results via Zoom on Friday evening.
The College Tribune interviewed all three SU hopefuls earlier this week, including Carla Gummerson, 32, who is currently a public policy graduate student and previous auditor of the Mature Students Society. She ran on a campaign which emphasised increasing the capacity of the Graduate Conference fund from 20 students to 35, the creation of new funding platforms for incoming postgraduate students and the continuation of existing relationship-building tools put in place by the previous Graduate Officer.
After no candidate reached the quota at the first count, Reopen Nominations (RON) was distributed to the three candidates. No candidates reached the new quota on the second count (Gummerson: +3 = 40, Nagargoje: +1 = 23, Shah: +1 = 22). Nagargoje was eliminated on the third count, with her votes distributed (Gummerson: + 6 = 46, Shah: + 6 = 38). As no candidate has reached the quota, the candidate with the least amount of votes was eliminated. As Shah was eliminated from the race, Gummerson was elected on the third count without reaching the quota.
101 students in total voted in the by-election, there was 1 abstention. The total valid poll was therefore 100 votes. Only registered postgraduates and final year undergraduates are eligible to vote for the Graduate Officer.
Shah made a concession speech congratulating Gummerson on her election win, saying that he hoped she would carry out the promises she had made in her manifesto and wished her the best of luck in the role. This was followed by a victory speech from the newly elected Graduate Officer, Carla Gummerson. Rekha Vishnu Nagargoje failed to attend the Zoom call on Friday evening and therefore did not make a concession speech.
This outgoing Graduate Officer Conor Anderson was elected President for the upcoming year, running on a promise to continue the vocal action against university commercialisation and maintain pressure on issues such as high rents on campus.
This year’s main SU elections saw less than 4% of students vote, in what was likely the smallest turnout on record. The elections fell during revision week for UCD, before an online assessment period which saw an increase in assignments for students in the absence of in-person exams at the RDS. The SU were also forced to abandon plans to spend expenditure on sponsored content for social media platforms.
Voting for the by-election happened online using the same system the SU used in the elections at the end of April. Membership Services Limited (MSL), a UK company that specialises in university society and union elections, continued to provide services to the SU for the by-election. Technical issues arose with the voting system in April. iPhone users who opted to vote through a link within Facebook or Instagram apps may not have successfully voted, causing the Returning Office to take actions in informing registered voters of this error.
Next year’s elected Executive and College Officers for UCD Students’ Union are as follows:
Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences College Officers – Lauren Maunsell and Sophie O’Leary
Business College Officer – Liam Coyle
Engineering and Architecture College Officer – Corey Power De Jong
Health Science College Officer – Marta Geszczak
Irish Language Officer – Tadhg Maloney
Law College Officer – Míde Nic Fhionnlaoich
Science College Officer – Emily Moore
President – Conor Anderson
Education Officer – Hannah Bryson
Campaigns & Engagement Officer – Leighton Gray
Welfare Officer – Ruairí Power
Entertainments Officer – Sarah Michalek
Graduate Officer – Carla Gummerson
Hugh Dooley – Deputy News Editor
Conor Capplis – Editor