Running on a campaign of supports for LGBT+ students and those dealing with mental health issues, Kylie Roche wishes to be a fresh face in the union.
Kylie Roche is a Social Science student running for Welfare Officer. Something of an outsider to SU politics, her experience comes from taking calls for the ISPCC and as an access leader in the UCD Access and Lifelong Learning centre, as well as seeing “first hand the effects of a lack of mental health resources on people, families, and entire communities.” She sees the role primarily as an advice and referral service, and hopes to focus primarily on case work. “I don’t want to be a political candidate, I want to be a person that helps the students, basically,” although if elected she will attend marches and protests organised by the union, and has some ideas on campaigns she would like to run.
“I haven’t done anything in the Students’ Union so a lot of people will find that refreshing and that I’m not just going to say stuff that I don’t mean.”
Roche was unaware of who the president of UCD is, or what constitutes union council. As she explains “I haven’t done anything in the Students’ Union so a lot of people will find that refreshing and that I’m not just going to say stuff that I don’t mean.” She is not alone as an outsider, and she believes that many first years find coming to UCD intimidating, “particularly for those who don’t know anyone.” To help first years with this, she plans on running workshops and other, less formal, events to inform them of how to get accomodation, where to get cheap food on campus, and what services the SU provide.
On Roche’s manifesto she promises to campaign to ensure “free, safe and legal abortion in Ireland,” although as the referendum will have occurred by the time she takes office she will be dealing with the aftermath. Roche explains “what I wanted to do… is to advise people on what they can do from there… [on] whether they can get an abortion in Ireland or whether they can’t.”
To keep her somewhat ambitious manifesto promise that she will “ensure no UCD student will ever be left waiting for support, guidance and treatment,” Roche proposes bringing in external services. She says “I do know of some very good counselling services outside of UCD that just let you pay what you can pay, so you can pay €5, or €30 or whatever. They can discuss that with you when you go there, and the waiting list is about a week.” Roche would consider “anything that would alleviate the waiting list” for counselling services.
Roche wants to fully support “the LGBTQ+ community and its members with their specific needs.”
Roche wants to fully support “the LGBTQ+ community and its members with their specific needs.” She has promised to give her full support to the UCDSU LGBTQ+ campaigns team, though she has not yet met with the current LGBTQ+ campaigns coordinator. On the topic of what still needs to be fixed in UCD for LGBTQ+ people, Roche said “I think just engagement with the LGBTQ+ community, to let them know that it’s not just the [LGBTQ+ society], it’s accepted overall.” To help achieve this, Roche plans on having union nights to the George and PrHomo.
On the topic of consent classes, Roche believes that “consent classes should be the norm in UCD and other universities, that they should be optional, as it could be difficult for victims of sexual violence to sit through them.” By “the norm,” Roche explains that she means to run consent classes “not just in September and the end of January…but to have them randomly all over term time instead of once a semester.” By making consent classes optional, Roche is aware that the attendance may be quite low but she believes she could propose solutions to encourage people to go. Roche thinks “humour would be better to get people in the door, because throwing [serious and upsetting topics] at them straight away would be a bit daunting. I would not want to go myself if that was the case. So I think humour is the best way and if we can get interest in the consent classes, have a more serious tone after that.” She also proposes having a more accepting tone, by targeting the classes at men and women, and “making sure they know that this isn’t us pointing the blame at them. They’re not going to be judged if they go to the consent workshops. They’re just there to engage.” Roche would also like to offer free food, tea, and coffee for those attending. In her manifesto, Roche also pledges to support victims of sexual violence “from counselling to reporting the crime to supporting victims in the courtroom.” She has not yet spoken to the current Welfare Officer about progress on consent this year, nor on any of her manifesto ideas.