UCDSU President Conor Anderson spoke in the Literary and Historical Society’s debate this Wednesday, defending the motion: “This House Supports the SU’s Response to UCD’s Covid Guidelines.” 

Many students have had their university experience compromised in the last year due to the pandemic and feel that certain accommodations and adjustments should have been made by UCD to reflect these challenging circumstances.

Many students feel that UCDSU should have fought harder to receive better conditions for students. In the debate, many points were raised, such as the “No Detriment” policy and students’ fees. 

Responding to the claim that UCDSU did not try hard enough to fight for these accommodations for students, Anderson stated that he feels there is a broader issue regarding the student body’s understanding as to how much power the union has within UCD.

UCDSU Conor Anderson
UCDSU President Conor Anderson

Anderson went on to address the issue surrounding students fees, and how many students have complained that UCDSU should have “lobbied harder” to reduce the fees. His response was that “I have lobbied [UCD]. I have gone to meetings with the registrar and I said, ‘you should reduce the fees’, and they said, ‘No’, and that’s as far as my institutional power stretches.” 

Anderson: Union needs more student engagement

Anderson continued by explaining that if the student body were more involved with UCDSU then they might see more radical changes. He stated in the debate that “The only way things are going to change on UCD campus is if the spirit of activism and organisation amongst the student body increases by a significant degree. If the union gets 1000 votes in the next election, we’re not going to see change.” 

Ellen Healy, who is the auditor for women in STEM society, responded to Anderson’s plea for more student activism. She  raised the issue of the No Detriment Policy: “We got a No Detriment [policy] in all but name and then there was a complete U-turn on that, by UCD.”

She then explained that it is difficult for the students to “have that buy into UCDSU that Conor [Anderson] talks about if anything that they accomplished is just immediately walked back on by UCD.”

Sarah Connaughton – Reporter