Hustings 2020: Non-binary inclusion, tri-campus engagement and microwaves

Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque

Engagement, LGBTQ+ inclusivity and microwaves were just some of the things discussed at this year’s students’ union (SU) hustings in Glasnevin.

Candidates running for Vice President (VP) of Welfare and Equality were asked how they would ensure the university is more inclusive of non-binary students.

In response to said question, Cian McBride said he would re-introduce “give it a go” week, a week which encourages students to attend events of clubs and societies of which they are not a member.

Meanwhile, Kate Stafford said the topic isn’t discussed enough. “I think that if there was more talk about it – more emphasis from within the clubs and socs – it wouldn’t be an issue,” she said.

Finally, Dean O’Reilly said the university gave him “a lot of push back” when he tried to get the college to recognise non-binary students in their gender identity policy. He explained how this has affected non-binary students in DCU.

“Stuff like making sure that non-binary students don’t have to put their gender down as male or female when they start university,” he said. “Things like changing their name on their student card. None of these things are guaranteed to non-binary students.”

Later on in the hustings, the four presidential candidates were asked about how many previous SU presidents they had contacted to prepare for the role.

“I’ve talked to Michael D Higgins, Barack Obama, George W Bush,” Evan Faul joked.

Presidential candidates were also asked how they would ensure all three campus are represented and engaged. Katie Fay said that engagment decreased while the student centre was under construction, but it’s “slowly, slowly starting to come back” and she’d ensure the SU team was working on all campuses.

Faul said there’s a disconnect between the Glasnevin and St Patrick’s campuses, with an “alarming” number of students on St Patrick’s campus not even knowing the SU also worked there.

“Just engage with people on the actual personal level. Because the majority of students are not connected to the students’ union and I would like to change that,” he said.

Fearghal Lynch responded by suggesting more events on all campuses, citing the Halloween Ball in the All Hallows campus as an example. He also mentioned bringing back the house cup between Glasnevin and St Patrick’s.

Finally, Olivia Forde discussed how she’s been active across the three campuses as VP for Education and Placement and added that: “I don’t think there really is an issue in regards to [sic] representing all three campuses.”

Running unopposed for VP for Education & Placement, Chloe McMorrow was asked how she would improve the INTRA portal system – which hasn’t been changed since 2007.

She said information from INTRA should be on Loop while they’re updating the system and that, “I know it’s a massive job to update the website, but it is possible and work has obviously gone into it since 2007, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t move forward.”

Polls open tomorrow at 7 am and close Thursday 9 pm.

Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque

Image credit: Swiss Facades