Interview and manifesto analysis: Jenny Benson – SRC Vice President Education candidate


Austen Shakespeare
Manifesto Analysis

The SRC (Student Representative Council) VP for education candidate stressed the importance of academic workshops where staff and students could come together to discuss issues. Benson has already run a workshop with staff and students and wishes to build on this. However, there were still issues including attendance as not everyone who signed up for the workshop ultimately turned up. It seems as though there is still the issue of making time on both sides for this particular policy.

The rising of tuition fees is of course a hot topic for the SRC and Benson includes this issue towards the bottom of her manifesto pledges. When pressed as to what course of action the SRC would take, the discussion did not evolve past simply expressing student displeasure and potentially organising protests, with Benson concluding that the SRC would have to cross “that bridge when they come to it”.

Benson’s manifesto states that she wants to build on the projects of previous VPs such as the establishing a feedback portal on Moodle. When asked why it could take two VP terms to accomplish this she was quick to blame staff’s unwillingness to change, despite her apparent success with feedback workshops where staff were open to new ways of doing things.

Feedback was a major feature of Benson’s manifesto, as was the desire to improve it. When asked about the problem of getting essays and exams back without delays so that people could get feedback, the specifics were again lacking. Benson claims she desires to put across to lecturers and markers how important it is to students to have feedback returned in a timely fashion.

Another area of concern was the diversity and equality of teaching. When asked what this meant, Benson referred to engineering texts only using the pronoun “he”, and believed this was potentially offensive to the LGBTQ community. However, when asked if she had been contacted by the university’s own LGBTQ organisation on this issue Benson said she had not.

Finally, on the serious question of uncontested positions in the SRC, Benson defended those running uncontested stating that candidates still care about these roles, the SRC and students. However, no solution was offered concerning how to get more students engaged in the SRC.