Nominations for class rep candidates closed last week with just over 160 nominations for the 204 seats available for Union Class Reps (UCRs) at UCD Students’ Union Council. Only 52 of those seats were contested, with 103 seats being left vacant altogether.
UCDSU Campaigns and Communications Officer Paddy Guiney was satisfied however that he ran a successful ‘Run for Class Rep’ campaign, saying: “The results came out and I’m happy enough with the results to be honest. It was a very good campaign and I’m very happy with how the Convenors and the other Sabbatical Officers worked and Exec and Campaigns Coordinators. I think it is a good result.”
This year’s nomination results show a huge issue arising in terms of representation within the Union of postgraduate students, with nearly 90% of graduate seats remaining unfilled. Guiney puts this down to a “lack of interest” but he feels next year this problem won’t be quite as prevalent as the new Constitution introduces a full time Postgraduate Officer into the sabbatical team. “I do have quite a lot of graduates sitting there but… I think the introduction of the Postgraduate Officer seat next year is a huge step forward in that sense, but in the mean time we’ll be working to fill those graduate seats.”
Guiney is happy with progress made this year in terms of reaching out to smaller faculties. “I always continuously hear that the Union isn’t very well perceived in the smaller buildings traditionally so I put a large emphasis on Agriculture and Veterinary. In Veterinary, for example, this year four of those stages are contested: first, second, third and fifth year. Numbers are up on last year for small buildings.”
The elections are due to take place today and tomorrow (October 2nd and 3rd) with the first Union Council taking place on October 4th. Class rep training will follow this Saturday, and according to Guiney, the costs traditionally associated with the event have been cut dramatically. “Class rep training isn’t a weekend away this year. We got an offer of having it completely free of charge in a college in Maynooth, so we’re going to take council members to Maynooth at 9am and we’re going to do a day’s training there. It’s significantly reduced on last year; we’re not really spending any money on it.”
Next week, the campaign for class reps will begin again, to elect the secondary class reps the new constitution requires. These class reps are not voting members of Union Council but will assist the Union Class Reps with many of the more social and entertainments responsibilities of the role. Guiney explains: “I’ll be running informal elections for class reps and it’s literally a hands-up approach; that’s how they’re elected. These class reps will act as an overflow for the UCR, they’ll work with the UCR. Each class will have a class rep along with the original seats of UCR.”