Miranda Bauer is a 25-year-old Modern Languages graduate, earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2023. Born and raised in Argentina, she is currently the UCDSU Campaigns and Engagement Officer and the first Latin American Sabbatical Officer at UCD. She is currently running to be the UCDSU President as she believes that her time within the Union has highlighted problems that she wants to tackle and overcome.  

This year, the race for the Students’ Union President is contested and Bauer is competing against Marc Matouc, the current UCDSU Graduate Officer, for the role. When asked why students should vote for her instead of her competitor, Miranda said “I feel like I would be an all-encompassing leader and president” she explained that while her manifesto references community building, a large component of Matouc’s campaign, “the reality is that you can’t have community if you can’t afford to come to campus and access education.” She added that, if elected, she would take this into consideration and fight for student’s welfare and academic journey on university boards and committees.

One of Bauer’s missions in relation to student welfare is to fight for rent freezes for on-campus accommodation. When asked how she intends to achieve this, Bauer said “changing our methods of action. I feel like in the previous years we’ve been more indirect maybe trying to shake hands a bit more. I think that hasn’t been working that well, to be honest. So, I think if students want and if there’s enough support from the ground up, I think trying direct action would be something worth trying to see whether we can achieve this.”

The Presidential candidate references the recent success of the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) to fight for a rent freeze on campus.  In September, TCDSU and other student groups blocked the entrance to the Book of Kells exhibit to protest the College’s decision to raise the price of student accommodation by 2%. Following this, the TCDSU President, László Molnárfi, sent an open letter to the provost demanding a two-year rent freeze. The rent freeze was announced at the end of October last year.

Bauer has also promised to extend the opening hours of the libraries if elected, she explained that her reasoning behind this is that “a lot of students are really struggling with James Joyce closing at five thirty on Saturdays, which is pretty early to be honest.”

Bauer continued “I will try to start with expanding it to at least match Sunday hours. But again, that’s something that will have to be in collaboration with library management and with students, because I also want to make sure that whatever staff is there to work in the library on Saturday evenings, for example, gets paid properly.”

When asked why she would include a promise like this without consulting the library staff beforehand, Bauer said that she imagines library staff will be “quite cooperative” as they need to take into “consideration that a lot of students might be working during the week on the evenings and they can’t go to the library or study during the week, and that’s why they choose to study in the weekends.”

The role of President requires student representatives to engage with campaigns and initiatives across all six sabbatical areas. Bauer explains that she has a specific interest in working with the Postgraduate Workers’ Organisation (PWO) to fight for better pay and working conditions for PhD students at UCD. Similarly, she wants help to improve the mental health facilities on campus. Bauer hopes to achieve this by relocating the SU offices from the Student Centre to Building 71, the old student bar and the provisional home of the Architecture Studio.

Bauer explains that she “got in touch with the counselling service, I was like, how can we, as a union, help you get more resources for the students? And they said that currently, the thing that they’re struggling with the most is physical space, which I think is something that we could definitely work together to tackle. At the moment, as you know, the SU officers are right underneath the Health and Counselling Services. By moving the SU into Building 71, the current SU officers would be free for the Health and Counselling Services. And that’s something that the current president of the Union and the previous president of the Union have also been working towards. So just we’ll be continuing that. More space for both services means that they both can provide more discreet and serene areas for students and hopefully expand.”

In her manifesto, Bauer calls for the total abolition of fees, when asked if this was realistic, she said that many other countries have no fees for third-level education and cites her home country of Argentina as an example. Bauer said “There’s public universities that don’t have to pay fees, and they’re really good universities. Argentina is economically doing worse than Ireland. So, I think it’s something that in the long term is possible.” Bauer concedes that students should not expect free tuition in the coming year but explains that she will fight for it regardless of whether it is realistic or not.

A vote for Miranda Bauer is a vote for equity. Many proposals made in her manifesto, such as funding mandatory field trips and financially supporting clinical placements, suggest that she will fight for all students to have a well-rounded college education regardless of their economic background. In addition, she wants to review the training given to class reps and college officers to ensure that they are familiar with Union Council procedures so that Sabbatical Officers can be held accountable for their work.

A vote for Miranda Bauer is also a vote for a politicised union. This election season has unearthed discussions and debates about the role of politics within a students’ union. Bauer has consistently and actively protested the conflict in Gaza since October and led the campaigns for ceasefire that have been organised by the UCDSU and the UCD BDS group. When asked how, if elected, she would balance the local, national, and international elements of the Union, Bauer said:

“I think, in my manifesto, my main priority is UCD students. And you can see that I talk about housing, I talk about fees, and I talk about student life on campus, and the academic journey etc. But I don’t think that means that we should not focus on more national issues, especially things like cost of living because yes, that affects and then the nation and everyone in Ireland, but I mean, we are in that part as well.”

She added that a lot of her campaigns will happen in collaboration with the fights of other students across the nation, as a lot of her campaigns will involve government funding. She concluded that she “wouldn’t feel right” within herself to “not pay attention to student needs of students that are abroad” such as the students and citizens in Palestine whom she will continue to fight for, regardless of whether she is elected UCDSU President. 

You can vote for your preferred SU candidate, either online or on-campus, on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April. 

Emma Hanrahan – Co-Editor