In the first hustings event of the 2023 DCUSU Presidential Elections, incumbent Thomas ‘TOD’ O’Dowd and final-year Media and Politics student, Brandon Perry, laid out their platforms.
TOD had five main points to his manifesto: to promote student nightlife, develop careers for students before and after graduation, engage with staff in the SU through a review of their positions, combat the cost of living crisis, and improve post-graduate representation.
O’Dowd wants to work with businesses on campus to ensure there is a specific allocation of jobs for students so they can earn “a bit of extra money” while studying in the University.
TOD wants to improve student nightlife and says he can use his “contacts in town” to get discounts for Clubs and Societies events. He also advocated for alcohol-free alternatives.
He said that he wanted to bring national attention and lobbying to the, unbuilt, 1,200 room accommodation building, which has had planning permission for over four years.
O’Dowd told The College View, “This isn’t something that I, myself, [can do]. I can’t build that many rooms… But I think what we can actually think of improving is our engagement with the Ministers.”
He added that the lack of action following from the walkouts and demonstrations was because of pressure was not maintained, something he would like to improve if he were to be re-elected.
Brandon Perry, a self-labelled “ordinary Joe Soap”, wants to give “power directly to the students” as DCUSU President through the use of townhalls, transparency, and allocated office hours.
He also wants the SU and societies to be more representative of the wider student body, with more working-class and minority representation.
Affordability was a “key point on everything” and said that he wanted to introduce “affordability around campus” and regulation on the costs of events that societies can hold.
Perry wants to bring a “grass-roots” approach to DCUSU and said that the “main focus is to bring power to the people.”
He checked the student population of the University with O’Dowd, sitting to his right, before saying that the 18,000 students should be given more power than the “dozen or so” elected people who make the decisions.
Perry complimented TOD’s time as DCUSU President, saying that he has done a “great job”. Perry added that O’Dowd has built “a great foundation,” but he wants to “take it up a notch” and “redirect power away from a select group, and to the wider student body.”
He says that DCUSU doesn’t have enough transparency with students on the ground, but did not expand on his plan to correct this. Perry also wants to improve engagement with students, but when asked by The College View about TOD’s record, he praised the incumbant’s engagement with the student body.
TOD said, “I think we’ve been extremely transparent, it’s just about how we get that information to students.”
You can view the presidential and the questions from 2hrs 9mins 18secs below:
Muiris O’Cearbhaill & Liam Coates
Additional Reporting: Matthew Joyce
Image Credit: DCUSU on YouTube