UCD’s Student Union President, Katie Ascough, has been impeached with 4540 students in favour and 2032 voting against.
Calls to impeach Ascough – a vociferous anti-abortion campaigner whose father Tom is a board member of the Iona Institute – began in September after it was revealed that she ordered the reprinting of UCD Freshers’ magazine ‘Winging It in UCD’ with a page contain information about abortion services in the UK removed.
Though Ascough cited potential legal liability for her decision to order the reprint, opponents argued that the excised information has been freely available to UCD students through the SU for 20 years.
UCDSU President Impeached.
“This is a sad day for me but it is also a sad day for our university. Universities should be a place of freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of association.”https://t.co/a7ktjmDx7E pic.twitter.com/yNiQxW3eeu
— University Observer (@UCDObserver) October 27, 2017
“By providing abortion information in this way, they are not advocating or promoting abortion. No students’ union has been prosecuted for any breach of the 1995 act as a result,” Senator Ivana Bacik told The Guardian earlier this month.
The cost of the reprinting is estimated to have cost the student union €8,000. A breach of the Abortion Information Act of 1995, an offence under law, can result in fines of up to €1,900.
An initial petition calling for a vote to impeach Ascough received over 1,300 names in a single day, but was later dismissed by college officers for not containing student signatures, an essential requirement under UCD’s constitution. The group seeking to impeach Ascough submitted a second petition, which was accepted, on October 10.
There was a large turn-out for yesterday’s (October 26) impeachment vote, with many students queuing around corridors to cast their ballots. “Turnout for President at the last SU election was 3350,” tweeted The University Observer at 10am. “Total turnout so far estimated at 5,500.”
— University Observer (@UCDObserver) October 26, 2017
Overall 69% of students voted yes, with 31% of students voting against impeachment.
“This is a sad day for me but it is also a sad day for our university,” Ascough said after the results were announced.
“Universities should be a place of freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of association, fairness, respect for those who do not wish to break the law and respect for others with different beliefs.”
© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.