Posted on Wed 28 Feb 2018 at 18:07 by Benjamin Davies
Hi Alisha, do you think your lack of experience within the Diversity & Support groups will be a struggle to understand the issues that those groups face on a daily basis at the University?
Also as part of your manifesto you said you wanted to “Provide training to media groups at the beginning of the year on how to cover D&S groups respectfully and effectively.” What have you done in your role as Editor-In-Chief to tackle this issue as you are in the perfect place to do so?
Hi Ben, Thanks for the question! I don't believe that I would struggle to understand the issues of D&S at all as a person who falls into many of the categories represented by the D&S groups. Critically, I have created 'how to be inclusive' training which covers a variety of equality and diversity issues and delivered this training alongside Ben Palmer SU Bath to a variety of students and student leaders across campus. This is also in addition to my experience as a politics and international relations student and as student journalist who has covered issues relating to the D&S groups experience throughout my time here.
With regards to your second question, I believe that the 'how to be inclusive' training could easily be re- tailored and delivered to media groups when they go through their libel training at the beginning of the year. We can also provide meetings with the chairs at the beginning of the year to further broaden the scope of this training and to work collaboratively across execs, similar to what LGBT has done for Nightline earlier this year. Media groups will also be familiar on issues pertaining to D&S groups which they would be able to cover more effectively, providing more of a voice to different parts of the student population which is always the goal of student media!
With regards to my specific position as EIC I have covered issues relating to the experiences of minority groups on campus, but there is always more to be done and it can always be done better, and that is would I hope to achieve should I be elected.
Hi Francesco, what would you say to people when they question your experience for the role compared to the other candidates?
Also as part of your manifesto you say you want to “Ensure students’ personal tutors receive mental health training prior the beginning of the academic year.” Have you thought out how you’re going to implement this? Academics are notoriously hard to get to do anything outside of their job description. Are you thinking a physical training session or an online one?
Hi Ben, thank you for your questions! What I would say to people who question my experience is that this campaign is not as much about me as the issues that I raise, the students that I look to represent and the causes that I advocate for. Not having experience within the ladders of the SU does not mean that I’m an unprepared candidate at all. In fact, I can provide a fresh perspective to how the SU is being run and on the issues that the student body feels strongly about. Furthermore, my voice in the SU matters just as anyone else’s, and I want all students to feel like they have a platform to advocate for the issues that matter to them.
In regards to your second question, as part of tutors’ induction, I would make it compulsory for them to physically attend basic mental health training. The tutor’s role description states that students should seek their support for welfare and personal development, as well as academic issues. Therefore, to perform this role successfully, they need to undertake the relevant training so they’re equipped to address students’ needs, as well as being able to refer tutees to the relevant welfare services already available on campus. This training should help tutors as much as it will help students.
Hi Zeid, you’ve been quite vocal about your criticism of The SU and people who work here as well as with a lot of the work we’ve done this year. Why do you want to work in a place you’ve openly slated so much on Social Media? If you’re wanting to make bigger change do you not think you should have run for President? How will you ensure that you represent all students not just those who shout the loudest?
Also on your manifesto you talk a lot about part time officers, over the last year the Community Officer has done a fantastic job without the use of part time officers. What would you say to people who might think that this just looks a bit lazy and like you don’t want to do some of the work yourself?
I want The SU to be the best it can be. That means criticising its flaws. When I have criticised The SU, it has purely been of its work and criticising the work of the SU Officers and The SU as an institution. It has never been criticism of SU staff. This criticism has mainly taken the form of SU review panel which is a quarterly meeting which I sit on along with a number of student reps where we review Officer performance and make sure they are doing their job. I do not believe that it is purely down to the SU President to enact change on our campus. It should be open to all students, all Officers, all volunteers. I have also not run for President because that is not where my interests and experience lie. I have consistently tried to amplify the voices of students who are from minority backgrounds whether that be LGBT+, Black or Minority Ethnic or disabled students. I have done this within my roles on Equality and Diversity committee within our University. As well as NUS Black Students’ delegate, NUS LGBT+ delegate, NUS Black Students’ LGBT+ rep, NUS LGBT+ Black subcommittee rep and Diversity and Support Exec member. I always try and make sure that the quietest voices are amplified in my work to make sure that they are not shut out in discussions and decisions.
Yes the current SU Community Officer has done some great work this year. However, I have seen him stretched to his limit. In the two years before Ben Palmer, the Community Officer failed to cover certain elements of the Community remit. This left student volunteers and student groups floundering. Part Time Officers are not a new idea; from Bristol to the University of East Anglia, Part Time Officers are a critical part of how the SUs work. Making sure that they are running at full capacity.