President Candidate: Rebecca Hart
By The University Observer Team | Nov 21 2017Rebecca Hart has become somewhat of a fixture of the union. She has been class rep twice and Health Science College Officer twice. She also ran for Arts Convenor (before switching to a Nursing degree), and President last year.She believes that this experience will stand to her as president. She understands that she does not know everything but says that “obviously anyone that I’d need assistance from would be able to help me.” She says that she is not afraid to ask questions.Hart describes the role of president as “equal to the other officers” but also says that “I feel like the president is just there to oversee that the students are well represented from campaigns, welfare, education, postgrad.”As someone has worked with the current sabbatical team this year on the Entertainment (ents) forum, particularly since the Events & Marketing Manager Paul Kilgallon left the union, Hart envisions no difficulty working with the team if she is elected president. Hart admits that the union faces an “uphill battle” for the next few years as recent controversies have “absolutely” weakened the union.
One of her most unusual ideas is to combat the accommodation crisis by having students move in with elderly people. In exchange for the student providing some form of work for the house owner they would pay a reduced rent in exchange.On her manifesto, Hart speaks of making college more affordable for students, and is particularly concerned about parking on campus. Hart respects that greener options are being sought but she says that: “you can’t stop a student coming in from Clondalkin driving into campus. They’re not going to be able to cycle.”When asked about resit fees she seems to forget that they are mentioned in her manifesto but then adds “It is in my manifesto as a small point but it’s not like I will push to cut down fees.” She believes that the Education Officer Rob Sweeney is doing enough to combat resit fees, and praises his work.One of her most unusual ideas is to combat the accommodation crisis by having students move in with elderly people. In exchange for the student providing some form of work for the house owner they would pay a reduced rent in exchange. “It would be a companionship as well, they could maybe do the hoovering, some of the housework, they would provide a service in exchange for living there.” Hart explains this option is currently available to healthcare students, but she would like this to be available to more students.
Hart aims to combat the long waiting list for counselling in UCD by bringing external counsellors into UCD.In terms of making UCD accessible Hart says that she has not spoken to the SU Disabilities Coordinator but has spoken to the Access centre and has worked with the current Health Science College Officer looking at access doors on campus that do not always work. Hart would like a greater connection between the students’ union and the Access centre and would like the students’ union to attend the orientation access talks so that the students attending them know who their union are.Hart aims to combat the long waiting list for counselling in UCD by bringing external counsellors into UCD. As the waiting list is so long many students are given vouchers for external counsellors. Hart would rather have external counsellors come to UCD because “It’s not overly far but still, going out to cabinteely, donnybrook, dundrum, blackrock, it’s difficult enough for some students to try to get out there.” She says that this option had been done before and she wanted to know why it did not continue but she has not asked the Welfare Officer about this.Consent classes have been a hot topic issue for the union in recent years, and when asked about consent classes Hart says that she does not think that they should be mandatory but would support the other officers if that was what they wanted. She suggested having more about consent in orientation but that “I haven’t sat down and actively thought about it and absolutely I’ll have a think about it.”
Hart believes that the Repeal campaign can be very loud and in your face and she would like to do something “that bit more fun.”In terms of recent mandates, she is passionate about a United Ireland and believes that because of Brexit there are many opportunities for UCD to be a part of the conversation.Hart believes that the Repeal campaign can be very loud and in your face and she would like to do something “that bit more fun.” A suggestion she had when she ran for president last March was called Reveal for 8 and it would involve people wearing revealing clothing and having an 8 written on their body. She says that she would put that idea to this year’s team.Hart she was initially quiet about the impeachment referendum but says that when she saw that the union “was being dragged through the mud and the name was being tarnished.” She says that she felt the need to stand up and say something and so she campaigned for the impeachment of the former president. She says that she did not do this so that she could run for president.Hart insists that she will not be running for president again for next year. [hr]
AnalysisHart has five years of experience within UCDSU, which she believes makes her a better candidate than current acting President Barry Murphy. A concern to many is that her lack of training as a sabbatical officer, let alone president would be a difficult obstacle to overcome.Hart takes the view that the training required to bring her up to speed of the president’s role and duties would be manageable despite her missing out on sabbatical officer crossover training and three months preparation that sabbatical officers obtain over the summer months.Hart appears to have little vision for the future of the union if she is elected president. She has ideas for individual projects however, such as students cohabiting with the elderly, an idea that would probably hold little appeal to the student population at large.Hart’s solution to the counselling waiting list to bring external counsellors in UCD has been tried in the past and failed due to difficulties with the internal system in UCD. Had Hart discussed the feasibility of this plan with the current Welfare Officer, she would have known that it does not appear to be a possible option.Overall, Hart would be an addition to the sabbatical officer team who would cause little disruption, but require full training for the role.