Interview and analysis: Mata Durkin QMU Presidential candidate


Mhairi Harris
Advertising Manager

Mata has been involved with the QMU for two years and is currently holding the position of Vice President for Board of Management this academic year.She discusses what she has achieved with her time on board during this time which included improving conditions for its members and the staff that work there.

On the discussion of wider issues in terms of the QMU’s financial situation, she clearly shows care for the union and its survival. However, her tactics do not seem drastic enough for the current situation. She comments on small changes which would be slow to start and could take a year.

Max Sefton (president 2015-2016) previously was quoted saying “With cash reserves of just over £400,000, it is true that losses at that level would be hard to sustain”. Is this good enough for the union and its strict time limit for switching things around?

Mata discusses challenges the union has faced as a result of the Learning and Teaching build and how it has affected its traffic. She comments on its daytime traffic in particular and wants to challenge the University for the effect it has had. She doesn’t however, lay out a solid plan of how she is going to push the University. She discussed talking to Frank Coton (Vice-Principal for Learning and Teaching), yet one could argue if this is the right contact and will the University listen. The discussion didn’t really elaborate on other routes to go down or how she will hold the University accountable. A suggestion is given in terms of working with the SRC president but does not mention if the SRC would be willing to work with them in this endeavour.

Overall, Mata is a clearly passionate candidate who has done a lot internally to improve the union. However, people may worry that her manifesto is not ambitious or drastic enough for the union’s current situation. Within the interview, her talking points seemed to be more on what she has previously done rather than looking forward to next year. The union’s financial situation is an important topic for the presidential role and I would have liked her to focus more on it. Mata comments that fewer risks should be taken. However, are simple small changes going to be enough in the time limit that the union has? I hope that she proves this analysis wrong if she is to be elected this week.