Katie AscoughRunning on a broad platform, Katie Ascough’s campaign focuses on broad issues designed to make student day to day life better.[br]THIRD year science student Katie Ascough is running for president with little previous experience of the Students’ Union. One of the main aims of Ascough’s campaign “is to focus on the small domestic things to make UCD run a bit smoother for students in day to day life”.On her reasons for running, Ascough explains “[I have] really enjoyed my time in UCD, really enjoy interacting with students…I just kind of felt it might be a good experience.”As part of the wider issue of healthy food on campus, Ascough states “I have a few ideas about microwaves because it is actually something I’m quite passionate about”. She further explains “I think it’s ridiculous that we don’t have better DIY food facilities in UCD” and that there needs to be more healthy food options on campus.Mental health is also a priority listed by Ascough as she plans to work with the Students’ Union mental health co-ordinator on facilities in UCD. “That’s [the] role as the mental health co-ordinator, he’s obviously going to be involved with the mental health services… we would have frequent meetings because obviously it is a matter of great concern to myself and to all the students of UCD.”
I have a few ideas about microwaves because it is actually something I’m quite passionate about.However Ascough was unaware of all details of the student health service and was not aware of the campaigns forum.Speaking on other areas of mental health in UCD, Ascough noted the potential to work with societies to raise funds and awareness through events like the Fashion Show or other pub quizzes. She also drew attention to other fundraising activities in UCD “the rally for life [sic] is coming up, I know that’s a separate issue but all these great things happen in UCD. If we can communicate with the societies we can co-ordinate something that can make a difference”.Consent is also a prominent part of Ascough’s manifesto, with plans for workshops and campaigns on the issue. On the recently cancelled consent classes by UCDSU, she states “I believe the Students’ Union was trying to run them but they had problems with attendance numbers and I know there’s been discussion of potential mandatory classes.” Ascough outlined plans to review the classes and “tweak” what didn’t work, to organise the classes again.Despite previously being publicly open about her own decision to remain chaste until marriage, Ascough doesn’t feel that this would hinder any campaign she would run. “I don’t think it particularly matters what one’s personal experience is when it comes to this issue, I think what really matters is they’re willing to do something about it.” She agreed that the students’ general opinion consideration of an issue is more important than the candidates’ own.However, one of the obvious omissions from Ascough’s manifesto is her position on repealing the 8th Amendment. A prominent pro-life campaigner, Ascough has been involved in the “Yes for neutrality” side of the union’s preferendum on abortion last semester.Contrasted with a union that has a mandate to support repealing the 8th amendment, Ascough claims this will not affect her role as President. Ascough asserts she will “delegate” campaigning to the Welfare and C&C officers and does not plan to march in any pro-choice campaigns.Ascough also states that the President of the union is “the chief spokesperson of the students’ union” though does not deny she may canvass to save the 8th amendment if a nation wide referendum were called during her term as President.On her personal stance, Ascough noted that it would be a shame for a candidate to distance themselves from their previous beliefs.Her involvement in the Yes for neutrality campaign and with other organisations such as Students for Life or her column in Catholic magazine Alive is not mentioned on her manifesto.On accommodation, much of Ascough’s focus appears to be the city-wide student accommodation crisis. However, she does note the potential of approaching the Irish Strategic Investment Fund to fund more accommodation, “they have a mandate which is to invest in student accommodation they see it as an area of investment.”
Whatever way the students vote is the way the President will act.She also noted that “accommodation is a huge area for many students when it comes to being able to afford college, to access college.” However Ascough was not aware of the most recent hikes in on-campus accommodation or that the UCDSU had already lobbied the University for this funding in 2015, though did indicate her intention to continue this position.Like most of the other candidates, Ascough is opposed to the level of resit and repeat fees. She suggested include reviewing the cost or trying to arrange subsidies.On the general fees referendum Ascough states that she will work with the mandate that students choose but they her focus will on trying to ensure the best deal for students. “Whatever way the students vote is the way the President will act”.This is echoed in her stance on USI and the unity referendum, saying that she will continue to follow the student lead.