As it happened: SU Election Hustings at Class Rep Council

Hustings for the 2014 Students’ Union elections are about to take place at today’s Class Rep Council. Candidates running for a position on the SU sabbatical team will give a brief introduction of themselves, outline their manifesto and the floor  will then be open to questions.

18.32 Candidates for the position of SU President have taken to the stage for today’s hustings at Class Rep Council.

18.33 Kenneth Browne is first up and told the audience that extending library opening hours is his main aim.

18.33 Allan Stevenson reads a reference from a close friend about his ability for job as SU President.

18.34 Dave Whittle “borrowed ideas” from Class Rep Council and told the council that he will represent them.

18.36 Allan Stevenson wants to engage more with students and be “on the ground meeting students.” He doesn’t want to make any major changes to DCU.

18.37 Candidates are asked if anything can be done to increase the amount of laptops available on loan in the library.

18.38 All candidates for SU President agree that they will look into the amount of laptops available on loan in the library if this is a problem next year.

18.40 Speaking about sustainability in DCU, Browne specifically wants to look into increasing the number of “online submissions for assignments to reduce paper usage.” Stevenson thinks that the taps in the toilets around DCU “waste an awful lot of water and the problem needs to be addressed.”

18.43 Asked about the sustainability of building the new student centre on campus, Whittle believes that looking into “builders and architects that are mindful of this will be important.” Browne thinks solar panels would be ideal for the new centre for long-term sustainability.

18.45 Class Rep Seán Cassidy asks the candidates how they plan to work with the USI next year after the recent referendum result. Dave Whittle is pro-USI and supports affiliation with the USI. Browne says that he is “looking forward to giving it a go working with the USI if he is elected.” Stevenson wants to make sure that DCU will get the value of their money for joining the USI and believes that we “will get a lot of ideas from them.”

18.49 Candidates for the position of Welfare Officer are next to take the stage.

18.50 Catherine Conneely wants to work towards more awareness on mental health and healthy eating.

18.51 Eve Kerton has asked each school what they are looking for and rather than “looking for votes she has asked people what they wanted when she was constructing her manifesto. She wants to focus on more awareness about sexual health.

18.52 The third candidate Ciaran Martin wants to introduce stress workshops at the beginning of next year and focus on mental health.

18.53 Class Rep Seán Cassidy asks the candidates how they would deal with a situation where “a student comes to you with a crisis pregnancy, how would you deal with it?” All candidates agree that they are there to support students in every way and not advise on the situation because it is a very personal decision.

18.56 A referendum was held in UCD this year on having a smoke-free campus. Candidates are asked whether this is something that they would look into bringing to DCU. Conneely says that ” if it is something that students want, she will try to facilitate it. She said if the situation arises that she would try to represent both sides fairly.” Kerton replies that “maybe even four zones designated around campus to smoking might help the situation.”

18.59 Asked on whether e-cigarettes should be banned on campus or in lectures Conneely says she “doesn’t understand the relevance of the question. But that if students support it then she will facilitate them.”  Martin thinks that if “e-cigarettes are proved to be harmful it would be an issue that he would look into.” Kerton agrees with him on this.

19.03 Kerton wants to revise SHAG week if she is elected especially in relation to LGBT couples. She said it should be more than “handing out free condoms.” She also emphasizes that one in ten college students in Ireland have had an STI and this needs to be looked at.

Conneely wants to build on banishing taboos surrounding mental health if she is elected next year.

19.06 Current Education Officer Ciarán O’Connor asks the candidates what they will do next year about the current lack of accommodation for students around DCU.

Martin says that ideally a “forum that students can go to where everything is uploaded would be ideal.” Kerton says that she wants to get a “core part of the DCU website designated to accommodation maybe as soon as the CAO results are out so that students can get it sorted early.”

19.11 Current Welfare Officer Lorna Finnegan praises the candidates and “wishes them the best of luck.” She jokes that if she could “roll the three candidates into one she would.”

19.13 Finally the three candidates running for Education Officer take to the stage to introduce themselves.

19.14 Gary Gillick proposes that maybe a peer mentoring system of class reps might help students settle into the role. He also wants to introduce database to the portal page.

Fionnuala Moran thinks that her manifesto “has something for everyone”. She wants to focus on extending library opening hours and getting more e-books introduced.

Seán Rooney wants “common-sense solutions to commom-sense problems” in DCU.

19.16 Class Rep Seán Cassidy asks about the candidates experience for the job. Moran says that “as the only candidate with a part-time position as Humanities convenor she thinks she has good experience from this.” Rooney says that “he has a background in public policy and knows how to get things done.”

19.19 SU President candidate Kenneth Browne asks “If elected how will the Education candidates reform Class Rep Council and get more attendance?”

Rooney believes that they will have to take on a campaigning approach to increase the numbers attending. Gillick says that he “wants to see Class Reps take more responsibility.”

19.21 Sustainability is proving a hot topic amongst the crowd as many questions are centred on the issue. Asked on whether students can be educated better on sustainability, Gillick says more campaigns are needed to make the entire campus aware of sustainability. Moran says if she is elected that a campaign “saying eg. we could have raised this much money by turning off switches, would make students more aware.”

19.24 Class Rep Seán Cassidy asks the candidates “what would they do if DCU took a stance on something that the students do not agree on?” After confusion about the question, Gillick says he thinks “I would have to be in the situation and sit down to have a good think about it.”

Moran uses the example of the thesis on her course being cut. She says “working closely with lecturers is important.”

Rooney thinks communication with the students is key to solving these problems. “Taking days of action when they are needed is also important.”

19.29 The hustings at today’s Class Rep Council have come to a close. Class Rep Seán Rooney makes the final comment by commending the Welfare candidates for the high level in which they answered the questions put to them.

 Ciara Moore

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