Vote Mary Collins #1 for Equality Hi there! I’m Mary Collins, and I’m running for the position of Equality Officer. I’m 21 and I have lots of exciting ideas to ensure UCC remains an equal, open opportunities campus for people of all backgrounds, capabilities and genders, creeds and cultures. If you want a dedicated officer with a fresh outlook, vote Mary Collins for Equality Officer on March 11th/12th. Disability I will fight to make the campus of UCC more accessible to disabled students, e.g. the SU building, or the old bar, are not wheel chair accessible. We also need to ensure that student venues, including nightclubs, pubs and otherwise, are not only wheelchair accessible, but project a wheelchair friendly attitude. The disability support service is a vital service here in UCC, but its resources are all too often stretched. As Equality Officer, I will organise fundraisers to help supplement the resources of the DSS, and promote I aim to continue the strong tradition of promoting awareness and equality for disabled people here in UCC, by running Disabilities awareness week again, but also by promoting UCC Disability Activism and Awareness Society. I also aim to encourage every student to get involved, but also ensure that they know how to do so. As a neuroscientist, I study the brain and nervous system to a high standard of detail, and this has instilled in me a understanding of the toll that psychological disorders and intellectual difficulties can take on people’s day to day lives. As Equality Officer, I aim to increase awareness of these conditions and also to combat any stigma associated with them. I intend to work with every society and club in UCC to help combat the isolation experienced by disabled students and ensure that there is an open and welcoming atmosphere to all students here in UCC. Mature It can be very daunting to come back to college, and this can manifest in isolation/ exclusion. I will work with the Mature Student officer to increase awareness of the Mature Student society to make sure every mature student feels welcome and wanted here in UCC. I will work with societies to ensure there are events that are mature student friendly. Some mature students may not be as available as younger students due to familial or other commitments, meaning they could miss out on bonding experiences with their fellow students. This can contribute to any possible feelings of isolation/loneliness and needs to be addressed by ensuring that there are more events at more flexible times, e.g. during the day, and promoting events that cater to a wide set of age groups.
LGBT This year I had the honour of being the Ally Officer on the LGBT committee here in UCC. In the role of equality officer, I will continue to advocate the equality of all people, regardless of orientation. I intend to continue to advocate the importance of the heterosexual community in supporting LGBT rights. As the LGBT community make up only approx. 10% of the population, we need the support of everyone to ensure we achieve equality for all orientations. I aim to combat the discrimination against those who identify as LGBT, and I hope to do this in a variety of ways. I will use events and campaigns to advocate legislation guaranteeing the LGBT community the same rights as people who identify as heterosexual, e.g. under the current system, there are 169 differences between a civil union and a traditional marriage. This discrimination is unacceptable and must be overturned. I will also aim to encourage a welcome, secure and safe environment here at UCC for people of all orientations, emphasising through education that homophobic bullying/behaviours are not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, Trans rights are seen as being up to 30 years behind the rights of other orientations in the LGBT community. This needs to be addressed urgently. As equality officer, I will promote an environment or understanding and security for those who identify as trans, through education and raising awareness in conjunction with the LGBT and other societies. Gender As a woman, I am keenly aware of the glass ceiling concept and I aim to combat this mentality with progressive campaigns designed not only to empower women and men equally but also to challenge the status quo in the workplace, e.g. women are pain on average 13.9% less than men in the same positions/levels of their career. This is unacceptable. Instead of pitting them against each other, we need to promote equality among the genders, and ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, receives the recognition deserved for their endeavours. Too many people believe that the number of genders is limited to two. As my time with the LGBT has taught me, there are many people who identify as both or neither, and these people also need to be catered to/ made welcome here in UCC. This also brings us back to the issue of trans rights and transphobia. I mean to take a firm stance, ensuring that such attitudes are not promoted here in UCC. International Ireland, though stereotypically portrayed as being open and friendly, can seem daunting to international students. Integration is both the main barrier and the key to ensuring all international students have a happy and enjoyable experience during their time in UCC. I want to bring together all the societies associated with foreign culture and languages, e.g. UCC Muslim Culture society, etc. to increase awareness of their characteristics/ values through big events and collaborations. The International Fest being held in UCC this year is a
wonderful idea, but I want to expand this to a steady all year round campaign to promote the reality that UCC is a multicultural campus.
Disadvantaged Personal assets and wealth are, unfortunately, a huge source of inequality here in UCC. I aim to promote an employment drive here in UCC, in conjunction with the Communications officer and Campaigns officer to help students supplement their income with the acquisition of part time jobs. I want to campaign for disadvantaged students against SUSI, which is very badly run. It is unfair and unacceptable to expect students from poorer backgrounds to survive with no feasible income while the grant system is â€œsorted outâ€?, and students need to be sure that they will always have a source of income to survive while attending to their studies. I aim to promote the Student Assistance Fund, so that students know that if anything serious should happen, even if they are not eligible for the grant, that UCC will continue to support them.