Union Class Representative (UCR) Elections take place this week on the 1st and 2nd of October. Nominations closed on Friday September 20th for representatives who will attend UCD Students’ Union Council on behalf of their class alongside the organisation.
Campus-wide elections are held for these positions and many more constituencies are contested this year than in recent years. This election coincides with the impending referendums that UCDSU has asked students to take a stance on concerning abortion and also a smoke-free campus.
The UCRs are now working with the part-time Union officers and Convenors, of which there is one per faculty. Over 100 UCRs are voted in each year and UCDSU President, Mícheál Gallagher, attributes the recent escalation of class representation to “the change in Union structures finally paying out and the move away from having a full-time Campaigns and Communications Officer and the local convenors; the part-timers really put the work in.”
This has facilitated a domino effect across the board, resulting in an increase in graduate representation also. While Gallagher concedes that “[he’s] happy where it’s at” at present, “it has been increased [significantly] in one year and if we can do that again, we’re looking at full representation.”
Gallagher puts the Union’s success down to its perseverance through “the ground work with lecture addressing and talking to our members one to one.”
A large boost for the Union is the fact that female class rep nominations are now slightly higher than those of their male counterparts. Female nominations are up from 46% last year to 51.5%.
This rise in female participation in student politics follows UCDSU’s Women for Election campaign, which encouraged young female students to run for class representative. A workshop run by the group the day before nominations closed was well attended and increased publicity surrounding the campaign.
Gallagher emphasised, “There simply aren’t enough women involved in student politics and we are delighted to work with Women for Election to help change this situation. They do fantastic work in creating a space where women feel they can run for office.”
SU Gender Equality Coordinator, Rebekah McKinney-Perry, endorsed the initiative affirming her approval of “this fantastic and innovative partnership between UCDSU and Women for Election. The lack of female representation in politics is a national issue and one that is endemic in UCD.”