Interview and analysis: Ailsa Jones – GUU Honorary Secretary Candidate

Published

Austen Shakespeare
Reporter
Manifesto Analysis

Jones wishes to continue the good work of the sexual violence prevention training. She intends to do this by getting already trained students to roll out sessions to help further the cause, something that has seen some success in other student bodies. Jones hopes for mandatory training for heads of clubs and societies. However, a specific policy on mental health, an area elaborated on in other GUU manifestos, is sadly lacking in her campaign. When pressed on this Jones stated that she would like to see more training in this area, specifically for spotting signs of mental health issues in others. She cited issues in past Freshers’ Week events, where people suffering from panic attacks were not dealt with adequately.

Jones criticised the current PR team at GUU, and states it needs to be more inclusive. It needs to head to halls of residence other than Murano Student village, and not preach to the converted.
When asked whether student unions are still relevant and offer unique features to students, she defended the GUU’s role in the lives of students. Although she did note that the GUU needs to keep in touch with students and not to become complacent.

Hive, Jones acknowledges needs to stay fresh, including having a monthly themed event, though the details on this remain sketchy.
When asked if a problem of female representation is still present within the GUU, Jones states that she could not recall anytime she had an issue owing to her sex. However, Jones did not deny that the GUU has had issues regarding women in the past. She states that the GUU is changing, and that she was positively encouraged to run and engage in the GUU, also mentioning the female quotas for competition GUU has introduced as an example of the changing tides in the organisation. What she fails to mention is this was done 4 years ago following “debate-gate”, and nothing concrete seems to have been done since.
She went on to praise the GUU President for his involvement in the sexual violence prevention training, and his relationship with the Isabella Elder Society.

Overall Jones’ manifesto has sensible points concerning outreach and getting the union out there to students who are often ignored. The targets and plans, though not groundbreaking, are certainly feasible and her past experience will no doubt help her in the role. As one of only three female candidates running for a position above PSM, her lack of commitment to increasing representation is disappointing, but she remains a very viable candidate.

[Edit: This piece has been edited to reflect that there are three women running for positions above PSM, not two as was originally reported.]