Final year education and training student Olivia Sneyd wants to use her “wealth of experience” and understanding of student issues to create a level playing field for each and every DCU student as VP for Diversity and Inclusion.
If elected, Sneyd has a priority of introducing a zero-tolerance and anti-discrimination policy at DCU, to ensure there is “no grey area” when it comes to racism or discrimination.
“I would definitely want to get black students and students of colour to come in and talk through their experience with me, and then in partnership, we could draw up a clear step by step way that students would be able to file a complaint and its clear how that complaint will be dealt with.
“If I am elected, in my period I will be able to get [a zero tolerance policy] done, if not I want to get it 90 per cent done, and I want whoever comes after me to literally be stamping it and approving it.”
She continued: “With the year we’ve had with the Black Lives Matter Movement, we need to start bringing that into the university and really start giving those students a voice.
“I’d love to see more representatives within the SU from that cohort of students, I just don’t think their voices are heard enough,” said Sneyd.
Sneyd’s goal is to make the reporting process of racism and discrimination as hassle-free as possible, so victims have a straightforward and safe way to speak out with confidence.
The mature student also wants to use her experience as a student ambassador and class representative to tackle issues like increasing supports for Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) students and Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) students, as 1 in 5 students enter DCU through the HEAR or DARE schemes.
“It’s about listening to the students and taking it on as an individual one by one case. I think it’s unfair to say that every DEAR student needs ‘this’ support, and I think it’s about getting acceptance out there.”
She continued: “I have friends and they came through that route and they’re very reluctant to say it and that’s their own personal choice.
“But I would love it if was more open and it was more spoken about.
“You’re just as valued in the community as any CAO entry or mature student. So I think I would want to work very closely with the access office and then the disability office to bridge that gap between supports they’re providing and what we as a university are providing them as a student body,” she said.
Supporting and creating advisory groups for mature students and LGBTQI+ students is also high on Sneyd’s priority list, along with providing financial support for international students.
“One thing is, I’ll never make a promise that I don’t think I can keep”, she said.
International students from outside the EU pay 50 per cent more in fees compared to Irish and European students: “Our international cohort is so big and they bring so much to the university,” Sneyd said.
Voting for DCUSU elections takes place on March 24th and 25th, information on all candidates can be found at https://www.lead.dcusu.ie/
Image credit: Olivia Sneyd