NUIG Students’ Union (NUIGSU) Education Officer and Vice President Louis Courtney has resigned after 4 months in the post to return to full time education. The position will be filled at a by-election on 27th September.
Courtney, who campaigned for a ‘No’ vote in the referendum on the eighth amendment, became the Vice President and Education Officer of a pro-choice Students’ Union in March of this year. Courtney was deemed elected on the first count at NUIGSU elections after receiving 52% of the valid vote. He received 1,560 votes to rival candidates Cian O’Shaugnessy and Stephanie Koennecker, who received 1,133 and 244 respectively. The role of Vice President and Education Officer is a full time position within NUIGSU.
A message posted on the Union’s Facebook page contained a letter from Courtney in which he stated: “When I ran for a position on this Union, I ran on the premise of not taking a year out of my Medical Studies.”
“However, on reflection, I have decided that I need to prioritise my education and focus on my dream of becoming a Doctor. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that today I am announcing my resignation as Vice President / Education Officer.”
A total of 47 students put themselves forward as candidates for NUIGSU positions in March and April of this year, according to the Union’s annual report. The election was the first since a referendum held in February merged several positions in the Union and created 5 new posts.
The full text of Courtney’s ‘Letter of Goodbye’ is as follows:
“In March of this Year I was elected as the Vice-President / Education Officer of the National University of Ireland Galway’s Students’ Union. This was a huge honour for me – to be elected by a huge 1,600 votes and to win on first count. It makes me incredibly proud that the students of NUIG would place as much trust in me, an individual who had never been involved with the Union before, as other individuals who have worked tirelessly with the Union for years upon years.
For the last four months I have worked with this Union and I have seen the great work it does for the students of this college. Since the middle of June, I have worked tirelessly, in order to make the life of a studying student easier. I promised in my campaign manifesto that I would do my utmost to allow a student who has failed a module to carry it on and repeat it the following year. I am delighted to say, that the ball is finally rolling in this endeavour and it will hopefully be in place within a year. It is my honour to have met with and discussed the problems of many students confidentially. These problems ranged hugely from financial issues, to issues with their exam results, and much more. I have met with over 200 students individually, assisting them in difficult circumstances such as SUSI grants and addressing deficiencies in some of the University Systems which has made their Academic Life difficult. I have officially advocated on behalf of over 95 students, defending them, and arguing on their behalf on the Board of Appeals so that they may enter their successive college year. I can proudly state that almost three quarters of these students were successful. I have also assisted 24 students in receiving their SUSI grant after much time and effort – and countless phone calls. I have managed to give numerous students an alternate Exam Sitting, after many of them were simply too sick or had other grave and personal circumstances whereby they could not attend the original sitting. The appreciation that they have all shown to me has given me reason to feel proud. I have made many, many lifelong friends within the confines of my small office.
When I ran for a position on this Union, I ran on the premise of not taking a year out of my Medical Studies.
However, on reflection, I have decided that I need to prioritise my education and focus on my dream of becoming a Doctor. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that today I am announcing my resignation as Vice President / Education Officer.
Finally, I would like to thank you all. I would like to thank the students’ union staff for helping to run such a fine establishment. And I would like to say the best of luck to both Clare and Megan for the coming year. And I would also like to dearly thank you, the Students of NUIG, for placing your trust in me.
To my successor, good luck. You will make many memories in our Union. Memories of joy, sadness, passion, love – and an appreciation for how hard work pays off!
Yours in good faith,
Vice President / Education Officer”