Last Friday came the announcements of results from the DCUSU Election 2017/2018 year. This year saw an unprecedented 11 Postgraduate candidates running for the Postgraduate Officer position, the highest ever competition for a PG Officer position or any other within DCU SU’s history. The candidates ran with a united stance on improving conditions for DCU Campus Residents and for greater representation of Postgraduates within the Student Union.
The Postgraduate accommodation crisis played a central role in motivating candidates to run for the Postgraduate Representative Office, below Peter Brennan provides statistics on the current accommodation situation effecting many students:
Interesting results from @TheUSI student housing survey. 58% of students declared the monthly cost of accommodation of €251-500; half of them have an income not exceeding €500/m #DCUVotes https://t.co/6buMt83rAV
— Peter for DCU PG Officer (@_DCU_PGO) 5 March 2018
Other comments made made by students and candidates regarding the Postgraduate election include:
And despite what others would tell you, you’ll find that a lot of management in the uni would be very happy to see a GSU in DCU. They recognise the benefits outweigh the uppitiness.
— Steve Conlon (@stevenconlon) 27 February 2018
When asked about the Postgraduate accommodation crisis President-elect Vito Moloney Burke had this to say “I disagree with [Peter Brennan’s] stance that students who live in the Postgraduate Residences are entitled to stay there for the duration of their studies. This school of thought, in my opinion, is completely unfair on other students who are not fortunate enough to secure the accommodation first time around, and sends a message that those students who are lucky enough to live there for one academic year, have more of a right the next [year]”. Moloney Burke was the only candidate for President this year, and has been elected despite a 40% decline in voter turnout.
Peter Brennan reiterated his stance that DCU Accommodation is the primary residence of many Postgraduates and that Campus Residence have mislead students into believing residential security for their academic term within the University. Along with the following sentiment on Twitter:
— The College View (@thecollegeview) 6 March 2018
Voting turnout for Postgraduate officer saw an increase in 30% this year. The 11 candidates included Simon Creane, Peter Brennan, Paloma Ozores Diez, Antonio Alacron Miguez, Prashant Prashant, Julie Bruckner, Patrick Rogers, Giuseppe Avella, Hassan Bhatti, Mohammad Hosseini & Lana Camilli. In the last count of the election, Lana Camilli & Peter Brennan remained. Peter Brennan was soon after elected as Postgraduate Officer for the 2018/2019 academic year.
— The College View (@thecollegeview) 9 March 2018
Even as the campaign for Postgraduate Officer is now over, the DCU accomodation issue still remains a primary concern for the community with residents association remaining in effect and looking for a solution towards better terms for PG residents. Peter Brennan shared statistics on the current accommodation situation effecting many students:
#DCUVotes it’s incredible the explanation for that graph tends to be “It’s the market” – It’s still cheaper – … So the aim is to make money, like landlords on the estates market? Could be louder but not clearer @DCURooms (p.s.: Love that R square! 🙃) pic.twitter.com/iPlAoxbbaC
— Peter – DCU PG Officer (@_DCU_PGO) 5 March 2018
Despite being a controversial and divisive issue within the SU, it is a landmark achievement for the Postgraduate community and shows a continuing commitment from Postgraduates towards a more wholesome and representative Students’ Union.