Third year Actuarial and Financial Studies student Cian Aherne is one of four people hoping to be elected as UCDSU President this week. A member of several societies and also a class rep, doctor Aherne is standing on an ambitious platform which promises several bold measures.
The overwhelming theme of Aherne’s manifesto is one of change. One of Aherne’s ambitious proposals is the lowering of resit fees, view which he admits is “probably the toughest thing to achieve in the entire manifesto”. He asserts that fees are as high as they are because “we’re subsidising exams for other schools where exams cost more”. When asked how he proposed to lower the rates, Aherne believed that the cost could be redistributed: “we are all subsidising the veterinary school with repeat and resit fees, so we would have to look into reducing the costs for everybody else by €10 in one year and maybe even increasing the costs on the veterinary school by €10 in the same year and see how students react. If this was viewed negatively we could always revert back to the old system, to make a sweeping change in one year is not something I would look to do”.
Aherne also wishes to see prices fall in the SU shop delis. When asked whether this would have a negative effect on the shop’s bottom line, he admitted that “I don’t have the accounts and the figures right now”, as he cannot get access to them. When asked if he had any proof that the SU shops were indeed failing to give the best possible price, he argued that “it would be naïve to assume that prices are at the best possible level”, although as of right now he cannot prove the contrary. Similarly with his plan to stop price hikes in the Clubhouse Bar, he believes that the bar would stand to make more money from lowering prices but as of yet cannot prove this due to not having access to the bars accounts.
Aherne wants to see some changes made to the James Joyce Library, such as the availability of extension leads for plug points during exam periods, and would “like to think the cost would be footed by the library” although he remains unsure of what the cost would be. He will also fight to see more library space be made available specifically for postgraduate students. He is basing the availability of space on research done by a postgrad rep, and says that “that’s something we can only look at after a feasibility study is carried out”.
It becomes clears during the course of the interview that changes Aherne’s manifesto propose appear to be suggestions for trial runs rather than researched aspirations. For example, when asked as to how he would implement lecture recordings, he admitted to us that “I haven’t thought that out fully”, as he couldn’t be sure whether or not lecturers would agree to be recorded or whether the system would involve lectures being put online or recorded, admitting on the issue of recording that “we’d probably have a limited amount of recording equipment”.
Diarmuid Burke & Cillian Fearon