Liam Coyle is a 20-year-old Commerce student, hoping to win the UCDSU Presidential election with his business skills and anti-militant views
Coyle believes his experience as a class representative and Business College Officer will serve useful for the position of President. He plans to use his business skills to lead the SU in a different direction. Coyle is against radicalism in the SU “I don’t believe in a militant students union... [it]doesn’t really get anything done”, and instead his goals are achievable “through diplomacy, through negotiation and effective communication”.
Coyle believes the current SU’s militant approach has made the SU “less likely to be understood.. and.. taken seriously by UCD”. However, he admitted to not voicing these concerns as a member of either the Union Council or the Union Executive as “leadership should have a right to chart a direction”. Coyle doesn’t believe campaigns should be “100% student organised and led”, instead he believes the SU has a “facilitative role” to play, as it should not be students' responsibility to organise campaigns. When asked if he considers UCDSU to be a business Coyle stated he believes “for any union to perform well it must be run with a business mindset”.
Speaking on the rent crisis, Coyle outlined that although protest has worked in the past he believes it has “severe implications”. Coyle outlined his belief that protesting takes away multiple options, stressing that to lower rents there must be a “consensus” with UCD. When asked how he will work with sabbatical officers who are strong advocates for protest, Coyle stressed that he would use his business skills to effectively communicate with the officers and develop a plan most beneficial for students, letting them know there are other approaches.
Coyle believes his teamwork skills will set him apart, as it is important to: “work well in a team because you do not pick who you work with”. He believes the most important part of being President is the ability to “chart a direction and being able to lead every student to have a better student life, and give vision to the SU and make sure every single student is represented to the best that they should be”.
Coyle lacked some important information about UCD. He did not know the name of the Bursar and he did not know what FRAMC is or does. He also only named two of the boards the UCDSU President sits on. Coyle stated he is unaware of the budget for SU President, but states he would “definitely put it to brilliant use” if elected.
To ensure UCD offers more transparency and issues less misleading information Coyle plans to “establish a clear line of communication with UCD”. Coyle believes the SU should have taken more proactive steps to rebut what UCD said in September regarding face to face lecture. Coyle said if he was President he would ensure his strategy and steps would be “impactful” through diplomacy.
When asked how his desire for increased transparency in the SU fit with his breach of campaigning rules which lead to a two week suspension, Coyle stated that although it was an “honest mistake”, he had demonstrated transparency as he took questions from the floor of Union Council on the matter. Coyle outlined that the SU can be more transparent by promoting awareness regarding how the SU works and what it does to represent students, as gaining the trust and support of students will “create an extremely strong SU... we are nothing without the students' trust”.
Coyle stated that a “critical priority” for him is to implement a university-wide student consultation process to find out how students are coping. He outlined that the programme is important as mental health has been severely impacted by the pandemic and the programme may help students voice their concerns, as many remain in silence.
Coyle’s hopes to create a welcoming environment for students by ensuring “every single student is treated with utmost respect”. However, he stated he does not plan to pay particular focus to any one group as it “would be against UCDSU’S interest”. As President, Coyle plans to consult with Access to create an inclusive environment. From his experience as Access leader he believes Access can help every student feeling welcome. He plans to use Healthy UCD for mindfulness and managing stress campaigns, which he believes is “underutilised” and a “brilliant resource”. Coyle also added that he would like to expand on the role of student adviser to help get the service to those most in need.
Coyle hopes to avail of funding for student grants or subsidies from the government by highlighting the financial stress of the students. He plans on consulting with students as to what grants would be most useful. He plans on encouraging UCD to ensure scholarships such as Ad Astra are given to students from more disadvantaged backgrounds. Although he is unclear how much influence the SU President would have in this regard, he believes as President he could have a much “sway” using his approach which he described as “more akin to a business partner”. Coyle further described building relationships with parties such as UCD, SUSI and government officials as “critical in a first step in changing.. the way SU does its business”.