Welfare Officer: Cody Byrne on Equality Working Group and year goals

After a first few hectic weeks as DCU’s Vice President for Welfare and Equality, Cody Byrne says he is finally starting to settle into his new role as he outlines his plans for the months ahead.

Byrne has started his tenure in the role, which was formally known solely as VP for Welfare, by creating DCU’s first ever ‘Equality Working Group’. This includes nine people representing the female population, the male population and minorities across all campuses.

Describing his initial goals for the group, Byrne said “For International Women’s Day we are going to walk from Glasnevin Campus to St. Patrick’s Campus and we are going to do a piece on ‘It doesn’t matter what I am wearing, it doesn’t mean you can have sex with me’ which is about victim-blaming.”

“I also want to bring in a few disability days, as well as a Diversity Week which will be all about equality, in week 10 of semester one.”

Kicking off the academic year, Byrne and his Welfare team released a video called ‘Advice For My First Year Self’ for Freshers’ Week to help the integration process for incoming students.

Plans already in place in conjunction with the Union of Students in Ireland include the launching of a card on campus which contains five hotlines that people can call for 24 hours as part of Suicide Prevention Day, the Repeal the 8th Nursing Protest next week, a potential protest for teachers and the student loan protest in October.

Despite a bright start to his new job, Byrne expressed the difficulties that come with being VP for Welfare and Equality, none harder than the fake accommodation page scamming of international students in Dublin over the summer.

“The toughest part of the job for me is the international students getting screwed over,” said Byrne. “There’s no support available for them as far as I’m concerned and I’m a qualified psychology student with no legal experience.”

Byrne said the job he envisaged was easier than reality, but feels if he improves on relieving his own stress that comes with being VP for Welfare and Equality, the job can become much more manageable.

He said: “Eve Kerton who was Welfare Officer a few years ago told me that I wouldn’t know what I was doing until December time but I feel like I already know what I am doing.”

“It is definitely a manageable job although it is also really difficult balancing work with other things.”

Brein McGinn

Image Credit: Laura Horan

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