On-Campus voting takes place on the 4th and 5th of April.
Ryan Corley is a final year Physics with Astronomy student running in the only contested Sabbatical race this year for UCDSU Campaigns and Engagement Officer. He is opposed by Miranda Bauer, a final-year international student studying Modern Languages.
Speaking to The College Tribune, Corley said that his experience as the Science College Officer and what he achieved in this role make him the ideal candidate for the position. He stated that he has done “a good job as a College Officer at getting out and listening to student’s concerns.” He sat on the Constitutional Review group this year and fought against food insecurity in Pi to bring down prices. He also elaborated by stating that he “managed to get microwaves and social seating spaces around the science building which other College Officers have been trying to do for years”.
This year microwaves were a new addition across campus in buildings such as Newman and Sutherland. While his efforts certainly deserve thanks, it seems this was a common introduction to buildings around campus regardless of the role he played.
The housing crisis was highlighted in his manifesto and this is the main issue he wishes to campaign on. He said that his experience of being homeless for the first six weeks of college means he can work effectively with groups such as Raise the Roof and will ensure that UCDSU collaborates with these organisations to have a “best of both worlds approach”. This would involve raising UCD student participation rates in national protests by inviting groups to campus.
Responding to questions about further campaigns and organisations he wishes to work with, Corley said that he is yet to look into it, but as an access student, disability rights and awareness is something he is “passionate about and has experienced”.
Engagement is clearly emphasised in Corely’s campaign. “I am for the first time a candidate who is not prioritising the political stuff. I don’t feel too politically active, I must admit, and this is something I will work on with the current team and other officers. I will focus on students’ political issues, but my priority is the students themselves”.
When asked about what sets him apart from other candidates, both this year and previously, he credited his determination to interact with students. “The other Officers have come in with all these plans. They come in with their workload packed with what they want to do but they forget that it is a dynamic role. Students will come to you with issues if you allow them to and previous officers have not allowed time for this.” He stated that student engagement is his number one priority.
Corley’s manifesto has faced criticisms for being sparse and not promising enough. His reason behind this is his desire to leave time to “hear student concerns and fix their issues. I have a track record of doing the things that students want to see”. He has previously reached out to other streams in science, such as Financial Maths and Computer Science, that did not feel as though they were involved in the school and helped to “envelop them into the community”. This is a problem that he feels exists throughout the entire university and many courses have not had the representation or feel “disenfranchised” from the Union.
When questioned on the fact that his manifesto did not address international students, a key issue in his opponent’s campaign, he apologised for making anyone feel excluded. He does not want to “disregard” their issues and again referred to his experience with disenfranchised courses as a way he can help minority groups in UCD.
He says that this is the purpose of his weekly coffee mornings. He wants to create a “comfortable space where students can pop in without an appointment” and voice their concerns easily. “The Union are accessible but not approachable. Approachability is the priority”. This was also his solution to better participation in elections next year as it would make it easier for people to see the role of a sabbatical officer first-hand.
Corely is in favour of rejoining USI and when asked what he would do if students vote against the move, he feels UCDSU is “strong enough to push through”.
Ella Waddington – Assistant News Editor