The Student’s Representative Council held a hustings event for candidates of their four paid full-time sabbatical positions yesterday evening. Candidates for the Vice-presidential roles of Education, Student Support and Student Activities as well candidates running to become the next SRC President were posed questions by audience members and online viewers hours before polls opened.
The VP Student Activities candidates discussed the perceived issue of classes still being held on Wednesday afternoons, despite this time being allocated for sporting events and extracurricular activities. Candidate Mhairi Harris clarified her support for enhancing lecture recordings over Wednesday afternoons. Promotion of extracurricular activities arose also. Candidate Galina Misheva pledged to, if elected, create an online calendar of on-campus events as a means of promoting campus events.
Although all SRC sabbatical positions are contested this year, Iain French, one of the two candidates for VP Student Support was not in attendance due to illness. Candidate Erin Ross answered audience questions on peer support learning and improving Equaity and Diversity training. She said: “The current training is not LGBTQ inclusive. It’s absolutely terrible. Trans people are invisible. There’s already been some really good work that’s been started with GULGBTQ+ to get some society members in to speak.”
The issue of lecture recordings rose again during the VP for Education husting when one candidate provoked a negative reaction with his comments on disabled students. Salim Al-Wasity , a fourth year PhD student, was asked by an audience member what he would implement to enable the participation of disabled students and students with mental health issues who cannot always attend lectures fully, given his stated opposition to lecture recordings. Al-Wasity reaffirmed his opposition, saying: “I mostly disagree with recorded lectures. Based on my experience as a lecturer, I will not see the student anymore. They can download it from home, sit through it, whatever, I will lose my connection with them. They came to university for reading and writing, not for watching.”
“I agree that with special circumstances such as illness but for healthy students, no. Because [disabled students] have no other choice but to do their degree or sit at home and then die.”
The bulk of the hustings were occupied with quizzing the three candidates for the SRC presidency, UnaMarie Darragh, Ameer Ibrahim and Ellen Morton. The candidates were asked how they would assist the sexual violence campus campaign Let’s Talk as well as how they would improve inclusivity for postgraduate students. Candidiates were also asked their opinion of current SRC President Liam King’s tenure. UnaMarie Darragh commented: “I think Liam’s been at least a half-decent president. How much of that beige has been burned remains to be seen, it’s been singed maybe.”
All candidates stated that they would not support cutting services due to the budgetary pressures of the frozen block grant. Ellen Morton proposed cutting the salaries of the university’s highest paid employees to fund student services.
Ameer Ibrahim was forced to defend his record as the current VP for Student Activities amid criticisms of his role in the Movember campaign, reported yesterday by The Glasgow Guardian. He said: “In relation to my competency, I would say the vast majority of my fundraising efforts have generated surplus. I think looking at other achievements for the year such as consistent support to cubs and societies, being available to the wider population. I’ve managed to signpost them or find them solutions. I believe I have been the most visible member of the Executive this year. “
Voting opens at 9am today and closes at 5pm on Thursday.