SU Presidential Election

 
 

PRESIDENT: Bond v Brophy v Hanratty v Redmond

CHRIS BOND
Age:
23
Course and year: 3rd Sociology and Politics
Do you drink, smoke or take drugs?
I drink, I don’t smoke or take drugs.
What is the most important part of the position of President?
I think to lead and represent.
Is there any SU officer that you admire?
Jane Horgan-Jones because she took a lot of initiative on important issues.
Do students really care about the SU elections?
The turnout is quite depressed as there’s 22,000 students and only 4,000 vote. I think there’s a good core of people who are involved who care about the elections but there’s a problem of community spirit in UCD.

FORMER Arts & Human Sciences Programme Officer, Chris Bond, currently works with Labour Youth as Public Relations Officer. Bond has been a class representative for four years and while he may not boast the Students’ Union (SU) positions that his competitors claim, he has been heavily involved in student campaigns against the introduction of gates at campus residences and against charges for the Student Health Service.

Bond’s main priorities, if elected, span both national and UCD-based issues; continuing the fight against the introduction of third-level fees, establishing a positive relationship between campus security and students and improving academic facilities. He prides himself on being a solid negotiator and a strong campaigner, when necessary, adding that he will use direct action but not “at the drop of a hat” and describes such behaviour as “irresponsible”.

Hoping that his experience, as both an elected representative and as a leader of student campaign groups, and personal skills will ensure he takes the president’s office next year, Bond is quietly confident and honest about the role of the SU. He rejects the idea of a polarised union and stresses his plans to make the SU officers more relevant and accessible to students. He would also like to see a referendum run to ensure that international students are also protected by the union throughout their time in UCD.

Bond criticises the university’s upper management structure yet is not idealistic in his promise to press university authorities to divert funding from salaries into academics. Stating that he will campaign both for “proper public funding”, Bond will also push for the university’s budget to be “allocated in a fair and efficient manner” in his efforts to calm the university’s financial troubles.

Bond’s proposals to attempt to cover the cost of STI screening for students, and cut down on costs of promotional material are simple but possible. His promise to cease his work with Labour Youth if elected and the importance his places on decisions made by students over those of his own make him a most attractive candidate for what looks to be a turbulent year.

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JULIAN BROPHY
Age:
20
Course and year: 2nd Science
Do you drink, smoke or take drugs?
I drink, I smoke but I don’t take drugs. I have in the past.
What is the most important part of the position of President?
Primarily, representing and giving a voice to every student in the SU.
Is there any previous SU officer that you admire?
Dan O’Neill – he’s an absolutely great guy.
Do students really care about the SU elections?
Sadly no, because the turnout seems to be about 10 per cent each year. There’s a lot of apathy amongst us young folk. I don’t think students think they have the power to change things and I’d really like to empower them.

ONE of the three Free Education for Everyone (FEE) candidates, Julian Brophy is a fresh face to Students’ Union (SU) politics. Apart from his role in FEE, Brophy hasn’t been active in UCD life, explaining that he hasn’t been involved in any societies, political parties or the SU. Despite this, he believes that he has the skills necessary to be a good leader and is confident in his ability to relate to students.

Brophy argues that the threat of a re-introducion of university fees, lack of student services and student welfare will be the three main issues concering students next year. He suggests “massively raising corporate tax”, and cutting salaries of senior management, to solve the university’s financial crisis, arguing that he would fight to ensure that “cutbacks wouldn’t threaten the academic and personal livelihood”.

If elected, Brophy hopes to fight for students living in campus residences to have full tenants rights. Although a similar attempt by the SU failed a number of years ago, Brophy says that he will “campaign for this until the bitter end”. He also believes that students don’t require any supervision while living on campus, and is confident that an awareness campaign, instructing students how to behave while living on campus, will suffice.

Promises to push for another crèche and an underground carpark provide solutions for campus problems however as the university has already made concrete plans for both a multi-storey carpark and a larger crèche, it can argued that both of these will take shape regardless of whether Brophy is successful.

While he praises the current SU for their performance, Brophy states that he “would have given more of a say” to the Campaigns and Communications Officer, promising to provide “more funding” to Womens Week and various society events.

Brophy argues that he would use direct action “when I deem it necessary… in the likelihood when talking around a table and discussing will not get you anywhere”. This may be what students want to hear, however his assertion that “the law sometimes isn’t absolutely everything” may harm his campaign more than Brophy believes.

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DONAL HANRATTY
Age:
20
Course and year: 2nd Medicine
Do you drink, smoke or take drugs?
I drink, I don’t smoke or take drugs.
What is the most important part of the position of President?
Main representative of the SU on a wide range of committees and is in charge of SU finances.
Is there any previous SU officer that you admire?
Barry Colfer. His Please Talk campaign was innovative and it reached out to every student.
Do students really care about the SU elections?
Maybe some people don’t. Many people who plan to vote, don’t. I’d like to see a figure of how many students come into college on those days.

SECOND-YEAR Medicine student, Donal Hanratty is the current Students’ Union (SU) Irish Langauge Officer. He has never been a class representative, however Hanratty states that he has been involved in organising class events and football competitions between campus residences. It is these types of events, “with an emphasis on fun not competition”, that Hanratty hopes to run as SU President if elected.

Naming the possible reintroduction of fees, allocation of funding in UCD and students’ “enjoyment of UCD life” as the top three priorities for students, Hanratty hopes to campaign in an effort to inform students as to how university funds are spent. He also believes that he will be able to encourage senior university management to “look at their own salaries before they take away from students”.

Hanratty is positive about the performance of this year’s SU officers, adding that they have “faced a very tough year… and have handled it very well”. The single change he desires to make is to introduce “regular events to encourage students to participate in physical activity and to get to know each other”.

Hanratty also hopes to introduce a system whereby students can obtain a qualification in a language alongside their degree, however is unable to elaborate on how this system would work in practice. Focusing on plans to campaign and in cases when campaigning fails, reiterating his point to university authorities, Hanratty believes that he has the personal skills necessary to negotiate and convince university staff of student opinons. Hanratty is confident that he will “be able to work with people… [and is] friendly, approachable and honest.

Naming Barry Colfer as a SU officer that he admires, Hanratty states that he intends to build on the Please Talk campaign if he is successful in his bid for President. He also promises to encourage academic staff to make their lecture notes available on Blackboard.

One of the least experienced of the presidential candidates, Hanratty says that he would only use direct action, such as sit ins, when “students feel it is appropriate…. after engaging and not getting a response”.

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GARY REDMOND
Age:
22
Course and year: Computer Science, currrently taking a sabbatical year as Entertainments Vice-President.
Do you drink, smoke or take drugs?
I enjoy a good pint, I don’t smoke or take drugs.
What is the most important part of the position of President?
The president is the chief spokesperson for the union.
Is there any previous SU officer that you admire?
Dan Hayden because he was seen as being approachable and he built a profile for the SU.
Do students really care about the SU elections?
Some students do and some don’t. This could stem from students not knowing what the SU does.

COMPUTER Science student, Gary Redmond is currently working as the Students’ Union (SU) Entertainments Vice-President. At 22 years-old, Redmond has worked on previous SU election campaigns for James Carroll, Dan Hayden, Brian Doyle and Stephen Qunlivan and is a member of a number of student societies. Having been a class representative, Redmond then went on to work as SU Events & Logistics Officer.

Complimentary when speaking of his colleague, Aodhán Ó Deá, Redmond’s sole criticism is that Ó Deá had a slow start as President as he had to build fresh relationships with university staff. This is a problem that Redmond is confident he won’t encounter, if elected. “I’ve a lot of experience and have excellent working relationships. I can walk in and start from the start, delivering from day one”.

Listing library opening hours, the campaign against third-level fees and student welfare as the most important student issues, Redmond has a number of interesting plans for SU if elected. He promises a pay freeze for SU officers in his manifesto but when questioned, agrees to SU pay cut and states that all SU officers will have to show their expenses to class representatives.

Redmond also intends to campaign for weekly presentation time with the university’s senior management team so that the SU “can get into the day-to-day management of the university”. These proposals are accompanied by promises to campaign for a 24-hour study facility and a bar license for the Students’ Club.

While some of these campaign promises are impressive, others are not convincing, in particular, Redmond’s promise to break the SU away from its image as a clique by running “the biggest campaign” for class representatives.

Redmond believes that protests or sitins should only be used by students when “absolutely necessary”, recognising the importance of “keeping public opinion on our side”. As a current SU Vice-President, Redmond does have more SU experience than any of his competitors having been a class representative, staff officer and Ents officer, however it is not clear if this who the students want leading their union next year.

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Election Analysis by Danielle Moran

Following two years of unopposed races, this year’s four presidential candidates are each selling themselves on their varying levels of experience.

FEE candidate, Julian Brophy is by far the loudest of the four candidates, however it is doubtful that this alone will ensure a victory. Third-level fees are clearly a matter of deep concern for students and while Brophy is clearly passionate about this, he has few other realistic proposals that are not already in the works.

In stark contrast to Brophy, SU Irish Langauge Officer, Donal Hanratty appears quiet and is unconvincing, appearing ill-prepared when considered for the role of President.

Current Entertainments Vice-President, Gary Redmond clearly outshines the others in this area and while his campaign promises are more realistic and developed than those of his competitors, his manner and boyish arrogance may alienate many voters and seriously harm his campaign.

Redmond, however, faces relatively stiff competition from former Arts & Human Sciences PRO, Chris Bond. Claiming experience within the SU and even more from campaigns where he has worked on the ground with students, Chris Bond appears capable, quietly confident and friendly however his success depends on how well he can stand up to Redmond once the polling booths open.

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