Interview and manifesto analysis: Kate Powell – SRC Presidential Candidate (unopposed)

Austen Shakespeare
Manifesto Analysis 

Powell’s manifesto states that there needs to be a ranking system for landlords, in order that students can avoid landlords with poor reputations and poor private accommodation in general. When pressed about the university’s own accommodation problems, such as rents and quality, Powell claimed that there was an improved relationship between the SRC and Ann Allen who is director of Estates and Buildings. Specifics concerning rent changes or improved university accommodation facilities were not expressed. However, Powell hopes to build on the relationships garnered so far with the Estates and Building departments.

Lecture recording was another hot topic in Powell’s manifesto as she dismissed lecturer’s concerns over intellectual property disputes. When asked why it was going to be different this time around and why students would get this pledge now, Powell cited the fact that departments that already record lectures always class it as a successful policy and state that they would not go back on it.

Powell is also highly critical of what she perceives to be the over marketisation of the university and cites inflated student numbers as a problem. According to Powell, the university is ignoring the “student experience” for short term financial gain. Powell claims that if this area is improved then the university will attract higher quality staff and students. This will then open up more revenue for the university. Powell did not elaborate on how and why this would create more revenue.

Powell also wants to take implementation of policy in a new direction. It seems that the level of similarity between the manifestos of candidates for various SRC positions is not due to chronic unoriginality but down to poor planning and implementation, which is why previous promises like lecture recordings don’t happen. Powell seems to pride herself on her pragmatism, stating in the interview “realistic changes” are what’s needed, and that being a part of the SRC is not about “changing the world”.

Underrepresented groups were another area of concern in Powell’s manifesto. Powell wishes to use existing SRC positions to help various groups including the possibility of a Religious Equality officer to cater to the needs of faith groups.

Powell wants to improve the communication apparatus of the SRC by using social media more effectively to get a larger number of students involved.

While littered with the usual buzzwords, Powell’s manifesto overall has some solid points without the unrealistic or radical pledges seen in such campaigns. Ultimately underwhelming but safe, Powell has demonstrated an ability and desire to make some small but important progress.


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