Graduate Candidate: Niall Torris

 Running for the second time, Niall Torris wishes to focus on getting a Post-Graduate Student Advisor, a Seanad vote campaign, contraceptives for the Smurfit campus.

Niall Torris, aged 25 was previously studying a higher diploma in Psychology and is now running to be Graduate Officer again. Before he became Graduate Officer he was Mature Students Coordinator for the Union.

As he is already a member of the sabbatical team he knows the inner workings of the union well. He talks a lot about what he had experienced this year as Graduate Officer and the issues that he had experienced with post-graduate students who do not get on with their supervisor.

Torris suggests that most issues with supervisors could be handled by a Post-Graduate Student Advisor.

Torris suggests that most issues with supervisors could be handled by a Post-Graduate Student Advisor. Currently such a position does not exist in UCD. Torris believes that the role could take a lot of the work from the Graduate Officer. He spends the majority of the interview on this topic, managing to bring it up in response to most questions and saying the words “post-graduate student advisor” 13 times.

He does not believe that this position would render the full-time role of Graduate Officer obsolete. He says, “I see it as freeing up a lot of the graduate officer’s time from work that’s probably not exactly appropriate for an elected officer to be handling.” He also says that it would give him the time to have a more community-based role, focusing slightly more on social opportunities and student engagement. He states that having a post-graduate student advisor would allow “the graduate officer to be the full-time role that it ought to be and not the one that it needs to be currently in order to fill a gap that’s been left by the university.” He also adds that having a post-graduate student advisor would mean that there would be some consistency in the treatment of and services available to post-graduate students even when a different Graduate Officer is elected.

Torris would like to extend a month-long campaign he ran to get post-graduates students registered for the Seanad vote. Any person who has an NUI degree can sign up to vote for the Seanad. Torris says that in that month he managed to get 111 people registered. He would like to roll out this campaign for the full year by handing out and collecting forms in post-graduate lectures throughout the year.

At the beginning of the year. a rep from the Smurfit campus pointed out in council that Torris was not doing weekly office hours in Smurfit. “When we got to the first council I think it was two or three of the five weeks I had kept office hours.” He apologised and rectified the situation immediately. He explains that “the reality of it was that we were going through the issues with the Wingin’ It handbook with Katie and stuff like that and sometimes it felt impossible to leave the corridor and to leave that problem behind.”

Torris lists things wanted on the Smurfit campus, pregnancy tests and condoms are on his manifesto, and he adds a kettle, for broken laundry dryers to be fixed, and for there to be more social opportunities. He says that he is investigating some of these.

Torris was previously in support of joining USI but says that being in the role of graduate officer has changed his mind. He says that for graduate students it seems that “they don’t do a whole lot.” He says that “for undergrad students it’s probably a good idea” but adds that as they do not have a specific officer for post-graduate students and it is very expensive to join that he could not advocate for joining USI.

Torris would support a boycott of Aramark on the UCD campus and when speaking on the possibility of a motion on the issue passing in council he says “I’d also be personally delighted to see it happen.”

Torris admits that he has not done what he said he would do on last year’s manifesto but says that the new manifesto is born from experience and knowledge of the position.

Torris endorses Barry Murphy as a candidate for president as he knows what it is like to work with him and believes that that knowledge would be helpful in the role. He also says that Christine Brown and Stephen Crosby are great candidates for Education Officer.