UCDSU Executive Elections: Hustings Day 3

The third day of hustings saw the debate amongst the three candidates for the position of Art & Humanities college officer

Day three of in-person campaigning for the 2024 UCDSU Executive Elections saw the debate amongst the three candidates for the position of Arts & Humanities college officer from 5pm in the Auditorium of the UCD Village. The husting for the Oifigeach na Gaeilge position was also supposed to take place, however the sole candidate Kate Lawlor was not in attendance. 

Ava Doyle, Alex Dunne and Aaron Duke addressed the crowd - which was considerably bigger compared to the first husting debates - on their manifestos; although different in approach, all candidates placed particular emphasis on the structural conditions of the Newman building. 

On that topic, a question was raised on what each would do to address ongoing issues such as leaks; Duke took the mic first, expressing his willingness to collaborate with utility companies on understanding why specific issues have been ongoing for so long. Dunne took a more proactive approach in his answer, emphasising the need for students to protest so that effective change happens. Doyle highlighted the strategic role of the Students’ Union to liaise with the “people in charge”, especially in order to obtain more funding that would tackle structural issues in Newman. 

The way all candidates answered the question attests to their diverging approaches. Notably, Doyle cites her council experience as a point in her favour, whilst Duke’s manifesto primarily focuses on matters related to community-building and highlighting the history of UCD. Amongst the three, Dunne has a more ‘activist-like’ approach, often emphasising the need for student mobilisation to enact effective change. 

The latter point especially comes across in Dunne’s manifesto in relation to the “fight” against the implementation of alternative assessment due to the rise in the usage of AI. This “fight” would be related to how these alternative examinations steer away from the ‘tradition’ of modules within the Arts & Humanities college.   

Conversely, Doyle highlights her willingness to empower student voices, particularly through feedback and by using class reps to ensure all students within the college are equally represented. This latter point comes across in response to how all three candidates would use SU council to ensure that students’ needs are met, to which Doyle expressed her intention to “hold class reps accountable” for their roles. 

On the same topic, Duke stated he would prioritise issues that are more doable, whilst Dunne hopes that the upcoming referenda will contribute to increasing engagement by having class reps being more involved within the SU. 

A question that seemingly took candidates by surprise related to improving accessibility for students with visual and hearing impairments, specifically the introduction of sign language; all candidates expressed their willingness to work on this matter should they be elected.