DCUSU Election Hustings: An analysis

By Liam Ashton

Niall Behan speaks at the Glasnevin hustings. Credit: Rebecca Lumley

The second day of the DCUSU Election hustings took place on the Glasnevin campus on March 9th, in which candidates had the opportunity to talk about their manifestos and answer questions from an audience.

With hustings sessions taking place the previous day on St. Patrick’s Campus, candidates had the opportunity to fine tune their speeches.

The hustings were moderated by SU Returning Officer Cat O’Driscoll who kept proceedings smooth and professional. When inappropriate questions were asked to the candidate of VP for Education and Placement Matthew Davey, such as “are you single?”, O’Driscoll was quick to cut it out.

There was an unusual occurrence in both the hustings for VP for Engagement & Development and VP for Welfare & Equality as candidates in each were unable to attend due to work placement.

Shaun Kerrs, running for Engagement & Development prepared a short video explaining why he was applying for the position. Student James Carr read out both his and Welfare & Equality candidate Maria Lawlor’s manifesto respectively.

Due to the renovation of the new Hub, the usual location of ‘The Venue” was unusable causing the hustings to be held in a small lecture hall in the business building.

The location change may have contributed to a poor crowd turnout seen as there were plenty of empty seats in the room by time the main event of the SU President husting began.

The small attendance may also be down to the fact that candidates for eight of the fourteen positions are currently running uncontested including VP for Academic Affairs and VP for Education and Placement.

The candidates for SU president came from different backgrounds in the college:

Eimear is already a member of the SU as she is current VP for Engagement & Development. Ricardo is a post graduate international student studying for his doctorate. Sarah comes from a club’s background and is closely working with the gym towards including gym membership in student fees. Niall is also heavily involved with clubs. He has experience with event management and is currently business faculty rep. James is a fourth year B.Ed student on work placement who has experience in business and event management.

Incumbent SU President Dylan Kehoe tested the candidates by questioning the feasibility of hosting large on campus events which candidates have outlined in their manifestos.

The questions that came from current sabbatical officers, members of the audience and from Twitter tested each of the candidates giving a diverse range of questions. The audience engagement picked up with the presidential hustings as there were considerably more questions being asked than in previous sessions.

The main questions put to the candidates were how they would allocate equal time to each of the DCU campuses, what separated them from the other candidates and why they believed they were best suited to the role.

Although it was apparent to all involved that the event wasn’t at the same scale as previous years the hustings efficiently carried out its role in introducing the candidates to the student body. While there were testing questions and heated debate between candidates there were none that stumbled over questions.

Liam Ashton

Image Credit: Rebecca Lumley