On-Campus voting takes place on the 4th and 5th of April.
Running for a second term as UCDSU Graduate Officer, Marc Matouc offers students a continuation of the status quo, but this time, with the addition of the knowledge and experience he’s gained during the year.
A vote for our current Graduate Officer is a vote for evolution, not revolution, but all signs point to a more mature and informed Matouc than last year. Matouc has acknowledged that he came into the job last year as an outsider with a learn-on-the-job approach, this time around, he has a year of experience under his belt.
What has changed? Marc says his focus next year, should he be elected, would be “far more boots on the ground” and his aspirations are “far more realistic” than last year due to his new familiarity with the bureaucratic structures in the University.
Matouc’s manifesto is aesthetically basic, and its content is no different. He focuses on working with the Postgraduate Worker’s Organisation and furthering postgraduate students’ inclusion on campus, which is so important to him that he repeats it as two of his four manifesto points!
Increasing inclusion on the UCD Smurfit Campus is his primary goal next year, this point has been informed by the Smurfit Community Survey which Matouc heralds as a considerable achievement of his first year in the role. While his manifesto is light on specific promises or actions to “improve the student atmosphere, culture, spirit and amenities” on the Smurfit campus, Matouc was well able to elaborate on this in his interview.
After bringing the results of the survey to Smurfit management, Matouc says he agreed on five key action points – improving transport links between the campuses, returning a chapter of the International Students Society, more presence from the campus newspapers and the greater provision of recreational rooms in Smurfit. Matouc even mentioned ambitiously looking into the possibility of a gym on Smurfit, “I’m not going to say that’s full-on achievable [next year].” With so much focus on Smurfit, Matouc does acknowledge that he may be focusing on postgraduates based on Smurfit over those on the main campus.
Another of Matouc’s focuses is on working with the Postgraduate Worker’s Organisation, a merged national movement of postgraduates campaigning for better working conditions. He argues that his experience working with this movement in the past… and stressed that he will push the movement to have on-campus protests and to improve their “signposting” with collaboration.
His plans to help students with mental health issues and burnout is to hold consistent events and to try linking up with the UCD Counselling Service with a view to holding coffee mornings for postgrads with counsellors. Given the Counselling Service is consistently understaffed and has reached record levels of outsourcing to cope with counselling waiting lists, this promise may be difficult to achieve. He says the bulk of his planning around his promised mental initiatives will take place once he is elected.
Matouc noted concerns about the importance of UCDSU’s sovereignty within USI, should students vote to rejoin the national students’ union. “I have no issue with a USI that represents us on a national level, helps us collaborate and secure funding.” He stressed that the national union needs to show a level of commitment to UCD by having an on-the-ground presence in Belfield, asking for USI to commit to a physical presence, not just online. However, despite admitting that “I’m not as familiar as I’d like to be” with USI and its structure, Matouc said he was in favour of the passing of the USI referendum.
While he stressed that he was not against the ongoing constitutional referendum, Matouc was open to future discussion and amending of the removal of the requirement for the Graduate Officer to “maintain and advertise office hours in the Blackrock campus at least once per week.” (Article 10.6.4).
The current Graduate Officer was not present at hustings, explaining to the College Tribune that he had committed to fly abroad to a family wedding and was unable to attend virtually due to poor internet on his cross-continental flight.
Hugh Dooley – Co-Lead of Investigations