UPDATE 3.30pm Tuesday: University union passes motion to restrict role to women
James Ritchie will be the last male-identifying person to hold the role of Northern women's officer in the University of Tasmania's student representative council.
On Tuesday, the state university union passed a motion that meant only candidates identifying as female would be able to contend for the role.
The move was in response to a ''large outcry'' over Mr Ritchie's recent election to the role.
A media release issued by the Tasmanian University Union state council stated that ''discrepancies in position descriptions held by state council and the executive officer'' meant that the position description advertised for the women's officer role was wrong.
Read more in tomorrow's Examiner
EARLIER: THE University of Tasmania's student union will investigate its options regarding the election last week of a male as the women's officer.
The Tasmania University Union held a by-election for vacant student representative council positions around the state two weeks ago.
Results were released on April 1, and saw the Northern women's officer role won by James Ritchie.
He is understood to have been elected 112 to 88 against a female candidate and it is the second time a person not identifying themselves as a woman had been elected to the role.
On a number of University of Tasmania affiliated Facebook pages, there was fiery debate as to whether a male could fill such a role.
The university's Women's Collective has started a petition for Mr Ritchie to resign and for the TUU SRC North to apologise to women students, on Change.org.
The issue is also gaining national coverage.
It has been further complicated by the upcoming Network Of Women Students Australia (NOWSA) 2015 event, that allows only women to attend, therefore restricting Mr Ritchie.
Union president Heidi La Paglia told The Examiner yesterday that when she realised the advertised electoral position description for the women's officer was different to what she had for the role and what had historically been the case, she feared it would blow up as it has.
According to her description, the position could only be open to nominations for someone who statutory declares themselves as identifying as a woman.
Ms La Paglia said that she would discuss the matter with both the electoral and returning officers, as to the mistake with the position description, on Wednesday.
Mr Ritchie said that he would much prefer all the attention be to promote the cause for women and gender equality and if people think there's a problem then he is open to talking.
"It's not a publicity stunt and I'm genuinely interested in helping women whatever issues or feedback they give me, I want to help them do that and I think that's good for women and good for men and that's good for the community," Mr Ritchie said.
Mr Ritchie said he would be consulting with women as to their concerns, look at campus safety at night and raise greater awareness of the HeForShe campaign.