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03 News

October 26th 2010 New election system for postgrad reps announced Rory McDonnell The election for UCC’s post-

graduate representatives will be taking place next month, with a new system aimed at improving the postgrad experience. The new system hopes to lend a stronger voice to the 4,000 taught and re- search postgraduates and create a community whereby postgrad stu- dents can push for better services collectively rather than alone as some feel it has been in the past. “Postgrads feel isolated and

alone” says SU Education Officer Greg Higgins. The new election system, he hopes, will ensure that “elected officers will be able to throw their weight around” and get real results based on postgrad stu- dent’s needs.

In previous years, postgraduates

have been represented by a part time officer who, while carrying out his or her own post graduate studies, represents the entire post- grad community and has a seat in all committees and meetings. The SU argues that post graduates “cannot be fully represented by one person.” Postgrad students are being

urged to use their votes in Novem- ber’s elections to elect the Post- graduate and Deputy Postgraduate Officer they feel will push for bet- ter services and amenities and ulti- mately make their remaining years in UCC less stressful and, of course, more enjoyable. The upcoming election is just one way in which it is hoped the

postgrad experience will improve, and the SU and Graduate Officers urge postgrad students to become more pro active in voicing their opinions and disputes. “The post- grad officer position is not a paid one ... it is very difficult for them to sit in on all meetings” acknowl- edges the Head of Graduate Stud- ies Michelle Nelson. “Nothing happens unless people push for it. It is up to the students to get enough student rep to push for bet- ter services” Among other things, the SU

hopes to extend library and restau- rant hours on campus during the summer. “The library and restau- rants close at four during the sum- mer months while students are trying to write their thesis,” Greg

Higgins points out. “The main complaint is ‘space’, there’s not enough of it for postgrad students,” he added. When asked for their opinions

on the new election system two postgrad students said, “We do need a stronger voice in the college community. We shouldn’t be over- looked just because we’re a minor- ity... it should have always been this way.” Post graduate services have

come along in leaps and bounds over the last three years. Pro- grammes, such as Life Matters, have helped to greatly improve the post grad experience in UCC. Michelle Nelson explains that “the Life Matters programme helps stu- dents to recognise when they are

stressed and how to deal with that stress”. Other facilities such as the UCC

Student Dispute Resolution pro- vide a platform where students can bring disputes to staff outside of their own department so as to not interfere with their studies and re- search. The SU are also trying to organise coffee mornings and com- munity talks so as to bring post graduates together and get a con- sensus on what needs to be changed and improved. The Post Grad Rep elections

take place from the 8th to the 10th with the winning candidates to be announced on the 11th. Votes can be cast in the SU Reception and in the Graduate Office on the above dates.

Israel issue sparks heated debate Enda Kenneally ‘Rape or consent’ was the

choice facing Israel, according to speaker Tom Carew who was op- posing the motion: “That this house believes that there should be a cultural boycott of Israel“. He was making the point that Israel’s right to exist had to be supported or else it would be annihilated. Philisoph Auditor Kieran O’Sulli- van stated that the debate would be interesting because the issue at hand was so topical. Thus, the de- bate could get heated. While the minutes of the last

meeting were being read out, as is the tradition in Philisoph debates, one member of the audience felt moved to ask when the debate would actually start and O’Sulli- van revealed that the Guild had asked for security to be organised in case things went out of control. Nevertheless, despite some heated moments spectators felt the debate itself was frank, fair and well chaired. Raymond Deane, of the Irish

Palestinian Solidarity Movement, was the first speaker and he was supporting the cultural boycott of Israel. As a composer, he had had links with Israeli musicians but re- cent events had made him turn to the idea of a cultural boycott. He lamented the failure of the Oslo

Process and lamented further the worsening conditions faced by the Palestinians. Mr Deane laid a portion of the

blame with the USA and the EU for being ‘complicit’ in supporting Israel and the building of the Sep- aration Wall. He went so far as to say that the EU had taken Israel into ‘its bosom’. He underlined the need for a cultural boycott because the Israeli Government equated culture with propaganda and justi- fied this stance by paraphrasing Nelson Mandela when he said boy- cott is not a principle but a product of circumstance. The success of boycotts on

apartheid South Africa framed the wider stance on a boycott on Israel. He concluded by saying that this stance was not anti-Israeli as many Israelis were boycotting theatres and other cultural buildings as a sign of protest. Tom Carew quickly defended

Israel’s right to exist because the Jewish state was surrounded by en- emies. He strongly opposed the motion and declared that the de- bate should be held on April Fool’s Day. April 1st has significance also as it was the day that Hitler boy- cotted the Jews and Carew pressed the point that the Jews are a histor- ically oppressed people. Later, when giving his reaction to contributions from the floor,

Raymond Deane countered by say- ing that anyone who mentioned Hitler lost the debate. Hamas were the present danger to Israeli civil- ians and he used examples of peo- ple he had met in Israel that had been traumatised by Hamas rock- ets.

Mr Carew finished by stating

that the Israeli state was a remark- able achievement with a free media, free judiciary and free trade unions and that Israel embraced

Arabs and so was not an apartheid state. This was later disputed by a Palestinian woman in the audience. A support for the motion, he in- sisted, would betray the victims of Palestinian violence and that sup- port for the boycott was a support for violence. The motion that there should be

a cultural boycott of Israel was passed with a strong majority. Both speakers expressed satisfaction with how the debate went, praising

the UCC crowd for their conduct. Tom Carew revealed that there had been more trouble when he had spoken in UCG on behalf of Israel. While he was extremely dissatis- fied by comments from a man con- tributing from the audience, he felt that the comments were an excep- tion to an otherwise good debate. Raymond Deane shared Carew’s feelings and indicated that similar debates in Dublin had been more unruly affairs.

Raymond Deane (left) looking contemplative during a heated but well received debate. Photo: Emmet Curtin

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