Second year Economics, Politics and Law student, Sean Cassidy is no stranger to the DCU political-landscape, a self-proclaimed ‘student activist’, he has maintained an enduring presence in campus politics during his time as a student.
“At the moment I’m the largest policy creator in the Union, that’s a great thing for me to say. When I leave college I can say: ‘I’ve made more changes than most people do in college regardless of what positions they hold and I’ve done that as an ordinary student.’ ” said Cassidy. However he acknowledged a shift will occur in his role if elected: “If elected President I won’t be creating policy I’ll be initiating policy, I’ll be encouraging people to create policy which is the President’s job.”
Among his objectives if elected SU President are: the creation a self-catering area where students can heat their pre-packed lunches, transcending the SU into an “activist union”, strengthening engagement between students and the SU and creating a bike scheme between the Glasnevin (DCU) and Drumcondra (currently St Pat’s) campuses.
To rectify poor-postgraduate-engagement with the Union, Cassidy proposes the creation of a Graduate’s Students’ Union “The reason why they’ve stopped it is because you’re literally giving off a piece of Union funding to a Graduate’s Students’ Union. We’re just spending their money and they’re getting no value for it.” He continued: “They have vastly different needs than undergrads. Postgrads need to represent postgrads.”
Cassidy believes that stronger engagement between students and the SU can be created through a formal Class Rep address system. “This system will see Class Reps trained to address their class every two weeks, Faculty Reps to engage classes every four weeks and sabbatical officers to engage classes twice per semester.” He explains in his manifesto
On the impending merger of DCU, St. Pat’s and Mater Dei, Cassidy believes “collegiality” between the three respective unions is the only course of action. “The main objective of any union is the representation of its members to protect, defend and advocate for those members” He said. “If I’m on the Drumcondra campus the union is going to need to ensure that i’m going to get the same services that a student gets on the DCU campus.”
Asked about solutions to hefty fines imposed by campus accommodation on students, Cassidy said he is considering establishing a campus residents’ association to represent tenants.
“Residents’ association are recognised by any company that rents residential areas. But that would take buy-in from the residents and to be honest, that would be a bit of a challenge. I think it could be done. I think there is buy-in from campus residents.” Alternatively he says: “It’s literally about shaming them out of it. It’s literally turning around and saying: ‘ you are making one to one point five million euro every year. You’re making a massive amount of money and at the same time, you’re having these restrictions on undergrads.’ ”
Explaining why he is partaking in the Presidential race, Cassidy said: “I’m running for president because I want to build a union where participation is encouraged, where progress is made for students and pride is taken in the work of our community.” He said. “I ran this year because I think it’s time.”