Hughes is an individual with experience of the SRC and its systems, having served as LGBTQ+ Equality Officer. They discussed the fact that in this role they had also worked with supporting disabled students and students who have mental health issues. This experience, which goes beyond just the LGBTQ+ community and towards a wide range of students, means that Hughes has more than enough experience for VP Student Support.
Mental health is a key area of the VP Student Support role that was generally absent from Hughes’ manifesto, but they were able to explain thoughts and ideas they had in this area in interview. They wanted to expand on SRC services in this area – praising Nightline and wanting to keep the service, carry out lobbying of Counselling and Psychological Services (CaPS) to improve it, as well as mentioning that they wanted to diversify exam de-stress activities. These ideas are achievable, but more may need to be done to make a greater impact on this front which is so vital for many in the student population.
When questioned on the proposed landlord reporting tool, they seemed to indicate that this was a way of making students aware of SRC services and building a body of evidence for any potential legal case against landlords, rather than stopping the landlords directly. They want to work with VP Student Activities to create new events at Freshers’ Week for “non-traditional students” like mature students, and gave the example of a night event that would be for those students and not for younger students. As well as this, they want events that are aimed at bringing socially isolated students into the fold, and will look for promotion to make sure these students are aware of these events and the fact they are open to them. Barring employers that have been reported for discrimination or not allowing professional growth from the Careers Service is another solid idea.
Overall, Hughes seemed to have a good grasp of the specific areas they want to work on and the kind of ideas they want to implement. Their experience also cannot be faulted. However, they did seem slightly flustered by the interview process, and with the VP Student Support role being a pressurised one, this must be taken into consideration. It’s a step up in expectation, but if Hughes is successfully able to deal with that, then they would be a good fit for the role.
Read Iona’s manifesto here.