UCD Student’s Union Vice-President for Entertainment Eoin Heffernan has confirmed that the Ents Executive is strongly considering the possibility of a referendum to reinstate the position of Entertainments Officer, which was abolished in last year’s Constitutional Review. Heffernan is hopeful that the role can be reintroduced particularly because he sees it as an area that “brings a lot of people” to the Union.
A motion is likely to be put to UCDSU Council in the coming weeks; however Heffernan says talks are still in progress. While he feels “very strongly” on the issue, he believes a clear reformation of the role is needed before any motion is put to a vote.
The alternative to passing a motion at Council is to pass it by petition, which involves getting signatures of support for the exact wording of the proposed change, from 3.5% of the total Union membership. Members of the Entertainments Executive are planning to explore this avenue in order to ensure the referendum goes ahead.
Heffernan is hoping that the referendum can take place alongside the SU sabbatical and executive elections in early March. If it passes, he envisions there being a separate Entertainments Officer election at a later date in the semester.
A meeting was held last Wednesday to discuss what changes and restructuring should be brought about within the job, were it to be reintroduced. Three main areas were identified, with problems being cited with officers profiting from outside events, too much focus on nightclubs and a lack of continuity between officers from year to year in particular. Heffernan stated that a restructuring of the role needs to take place to deal with the rising costs and losses of the office, and that there needs to be “tight controls so the same waste doesn’t happen again.”
The Ents Form and Committees are also being eyed for a shakeup. Heffernan believes some of the positions are badly defined and slightly “airy fairy” and that if they were to be stream-lined and more efficient, they could be very effective in revitalising Ents on campus.
Heffernan believes that “past Ents Officers and society Auditors are making full-time businesses of their old jobs, pulling [Entertainments] away from the campus for their own personal gain.” Though he is adamant that Ents should remain its own distinct and separate entity, he commented that in the future, Ents will need to work alongside societies and other students’ unions in Dublin in order to bring Ents back to campuses.
The issue of the referendum will make up part of Heffernan’s report, to be brought up for discussion at Council this week.