SRC Hustings – what you missed and what you need to know in the final hours

Published

Credit: SRC

Bethany Woodhead, Tara Gandhi and Inanna Tribukait
Editors-in-Chief and Deputy Investigations Editor

The SRC Autumn Elections close at 5pm today, on Thursday 17 October. Here’s what went down at the hustings, as well as the links you need to find candidate manifestos and where you can vote.

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) hosted their “2019 Autumn Elections Hustings” yesterday, which gave all candidates running for SRC council positions the opportunity to speak about their experiences and manifestos, as well as take questions from the audience (both live and from Twitter, with many students watching from the live stream at home).

Voting is open until 5pm today (Thursday 17 October). Visit www.gla.ac.uk/vote to cast your votes. If you were unable to attend hustings last night, or watch it online, all of the candidates’ manifestos are available at https://www.glasgowstudent.net/about/elections/autumn-elections-2019/manifestos/?mf=undefined.

While all the candidates have shared their manifestos online and on social media, it is interesting to see them speak in person and face questions from a crowd. Here’s your run-down of the hustings to give you that extra bit of information before you make your decisions today.

Undergraduate College Convenor – Arts
Emma Hardy:
Emma is a fourth year Archaeology student with two years experience on the University Senate and two years experience sitting on the SRC council – one as vice-president of education and one as the School of Humanities representative. She has also been a student reviewer for the Quality Assurance Agency.
Emma highlighted some of her main goals for this year, should she be elected. She spoke about the lack of community within the College of Arts; to remedy this, she suggested more communal events, such as BBQs, balls and swap shops.
Emma highlighted some of her main goals for this year, should she be elected. She spoke about the lack of community within the College of Arts; to remedy this, she suggested more communal events, such as BBQs, balls and swap shops. 
She also emphasised the issue of employability, stating that many students are simply unaware of some of the employment options out there for them. She would like to host meetings and coffee mornings between undergraduates and postgraduates, as well as working to broadcast career options more widely.
Moreover, she stated that feedback and assessment procedures need to be reformed. Previously, she worked with the Dean of the College of Arts to redesign this. She would like to push for more creativity, arguing for possibilities like video feedback and scrapbook assessments which will allow students to develop new skills and utilise different learning styles. 

Charlotte Sleith Green:
Charlotte is a second year Theology student, who has previously worked for the SRC as a representative supporting students, as well as sitting at University-level committees. Charlotte emphasised that she does not want to simply work on academic issues, but on building a community and social relationships. To do this, she aims to work closely with school and class representatives and also host events that the whole department can get involved in. For example, college-wide coffee mornings, she said, would allow students from a variety of subjects to meet on a regular basis and get to know each other, rather than just annually at one ball. 

Undergraduate College Convenor – Social Sciences
Patrick Aasen:
Patrick is a third year Sociology and Politics student. Previously, he has been a first year SRC representative and a class representative for two different courses in his second year. Other positions of responsibility include deputy team leader amongst the freshers’ helpers during Freshers’ Week and treasurer of the University’s Malt Whiskey Society.
He emphasised some of his main goals, such as a push for lecture recordings across all subjects, creating an interdisciplinary studies representative for students at the Dumfries campus, peer support programmes, and building a stronger sense of community by hosting college-wide events.

Ao Tong:
Unfortunately, Ao Tong could not attend yesterday evening’s hustings; however, his manifesto can be found online, following the link at the beginning of this article. 

School of Chemistry Representative
Jenny Newton:
Jenny is a third year Chemistry and Physics student, who described herself as “motivated, determined and wants to see change.” She stressed three main goals for the year: to increase recognition of students amongst staff, for past paper solutions to be provided to aid revision, and to work closely with the Alchemist Society to incorporate the social with the academic. 
Jenny discussed the difficulties faced by joint honours students who lack support and feel isolated, with one particular problem being of massive concern: the clash of lectures and labs between two disciplines. 
She also spoke about creating more accessible society activities for people who are perhaps “put off” by current ones, such as “people who have children, live far away from campus, or do not drink alcohol.” She aims to make events more inclusive.

Katie Fish:
Katie is a second year Biology and Chemistry student. She has been involved in many aspects of university, such as freshers’ helping and being a part of Women in STEM, the Zoology Society, Weightlifting Club and the Music Club.
Katie said that she has enjoyed getting heavily involved with the social sides of university, but this year she’d like to be the first point of contact academically, as a school representative. 
She stated that progress is being made, but much more needs to be done; such as the push for lecture recordings across campus. 
She’d like to encourage more student engagement and link younger years with their senior peers for mentoring sessions. Furthermore, she spoke about the rate of Chemistry students decreasing this year, and would like to find out what can be done to promote the subject and provide better support to students.
Katie also said she wants to signpost more resources to students, such as how to rearrange labs or find locations of lectures. This is something she said she struggled with massively in her own first year, citing that she often had to try and find help in person to apply for good cause etc. – something which is not always plausible for students actually seeking extensions and good cause. 

School of Culture and Creative Arts
Beth O’Hare:
Beth is a fourth year Theatre Studies student who has been a freshers’ helper for the last two years, one of which she was a deputy team leader. She has also been an inclusion representative for the Irish and Northern Irish Society and got involved in a Drama Festival in London. 
Beth said her two main focuses are to create a good sense of connection and community across the school’s different subject areas, as well as creating more career-focused events to show students what opportunities await them.

Tomasz Kleczkowski: 
Tomasz is in his third year of a Music BEng degree and has previous experience as a class representative, both for the School of Engineering and also the music department.
Tomasz emphasised the need for class and school representatives to work closely with staff and have feedback clearly heard. He aims to create more common spaces for students, as well as improving ones which already exist. He stressed the importance of improving accessibility to buildings, the need for more career events, better support necessary for joint honours students, and more instrument storage space on campus. His manifesto also argues for lecture recordings to be available for all subjects. 

School of Education
K.L McGlone: 
K.L is a mature secondary PDGE student, having just graduated in June. She has previously been the representative for Geography and has been a freshers’ helper for three years, amongst a host of other extracurriculars which she believes will aid her in this position, such as being a member of RAG and a student ambassador.
She highlighted a lack of integration with the education department and the rest of campus, and suggested this could be remedied by workshops being held in the St Andrews Building, rather than just the McIntyre Building, as well as scheduling the workshops around placements, to ensure education students can attend them. Following this, she also pointed out the need to change the way placements are allocated, as the current algorithm does not take travel costs into account. She also emphasised the need for communication between students, class representatives and the school representative.

Ning Zhoo:
Unfortunately, Ning Zhoo could not attend this evening’s hustings; however, her manifesto can be found online, following the link at the beginning of this article.

School of Humanities
Xy Zhang:
Xy is a first year History undergraduate and a self-proclaimed good problem solver. She has past experience from working as a teacher’s assistant in school and proposes that a closer relationship with class representatives would allow for issues to be highlighted and resolved. She also plans to make best use of emails to keep in touch with students within the school.

Austen Waite:
Austen is a fourth year Philosophy and Theology student who has been involved with the SRC for a number of years. Austen has spent three years as a SRC freshers’ helper and was a class representative during the UCU strikes two years ago, something he feels has prepared him well for this role. He plans to increase communication and schedule regular face to face meetings with class reps, as well as organising academic revision groups. Austen points out that he has been a member of three out of the six subjects within the school, so believes he will be able to bring people together and improve community.

School of Law
Kirstin MacKay:
Kirstin is a fourth year Maths student with a huge number of extracurriculars that she claims have prepared her for this position. She highlighted the need for clearer communication between staff and student,, and proposed a number of solutions, such as meetings before and after essays, as well as posting office hours clearly online. She also highlighted the need for increased disability and mental health support within the school, and general guidance for when students are looking for placements.
When questioned on the aforementioned ideas, Kirstin clarified she wanted to provide specific support solely for law students, rather than taking any resources from CaPS.

School of Maths and Stats
Damien Ealey:
Damien is a third year Stats student who previously sat on the society board for Maths and Stats, as well as being an SRC freshers’ helper this year. He wants to create an outreach programme, and galvanise the school to do things, rather than a large proportion of responsibilities falling on the society. 

Jen Reid:
Jen is a fourth year Stats student who has been a freshers’ helper for two years. She stressed the need to reform exams to relieve some of the stress put on students. 

Yuanmin Zhu:
Yuanmin is a previous Stats representative who would like to increase the support for first and second year students, as well as improving the school’s Moodle use and keeping engagement high in between classes with emails and introductory information sent out during the holidays. 

When the floor was opened to questions all three candidates stressed the need for good lines of communication and more support for students in terms of careers services.

School of Medicine
Lewis O’Connor:
Lewis is a third year Medical student and the current medical school BMA representative, something he believes has perfectly prepared him for this role. He pointed out a complete lack of knowledge about the SRC amongst students within the medical school, and pledged to improve awareness were he to get the position. He has been a class representative and has previously worked to rewrite exam guidance and feedback for the school. He also pointed out the negative impact increased GUU and GUSA prices are having on students, who need the outlet of socialising and exercising.
When questioned on the latter point, VP for Student Support, Tom McFerran, pointed out to Lewis that the funding for the unions all comes out of one pot, so for the GUU and GUSA to get more money, that would mean a reduction in SRC funding and a subsequent effect on student services. However, Lewis pointed out the swathe of money invested into infrastructure from the University, suggesting perhaps they should be increasing the grant for unions overall. Lewis was unaware he would also be representing nurses and dentists within the role, but pledged to reach out to the respective student bodies and open a line of communication. 

School of Psychology
Gregory Kobkinidis:
Gregory is a fourth year Psychology student and has been heavily involved in the SRC in the past, from being a freshers’ helper and a class rep for two years, to being on the committee for four years. Gregory proposed to increase representation within the school, as well as increasing awareness of opportunities available to them. He wants to increase communication throughout the school, including getting personalised exam feedback and the introduction of study groups.

With the floor open to questions, Gregory pointed out the reason that lecturers may be targeted with bad reviews in NSS surveys is due to students’ anxieties about bringing issues up in person – something he wants to tackle. He also pointed out the issues with the school’s online presence and the ways this may be hindering students, as well as addressing the need for more support for fourth year students returning from study abroad.

School of Social and Political Sciences
Duncan Henderson:
Duncan is a second year Politics student who has previously been a SRC freshers’ helper, as well as a class representative. He highlighted the confusion over how to succeed within the 10% given for tutorial participation, and pledged to increase transparency when it came to grading methods. He wants to use both the council position and a strong relationship with class reps to help increase awareness of the ways issues can be resolved. When questioned, Duncan discussed his desire to promote the SRC’s Mind Your Mate workshops within the school, as well as pushing for broader lecture recordings across the subjects. 

Yung Yung Tang:
Unfortunately, Yung Yung Tang could not attend this evening’s hustings; however, her manifesto can be found online, following the link at the beginning of this article.

Gender Equality Officer
Julia Hegele:
Julia is a fourth year Theatre student who has previous experience working in the field of gender equality. She is currently working as the campaigns manager for the Global Women’s Caucus, as well as previously dedicating herself as the welfare representative for Student Theatre at Glasgow, organising the International Women’s Week Festival, and working on public health policies in the United States and various other places, to increase health and well-being support for women and non-binary individuals. She wants to implement a more reliable support network for trans- and non-binary students, destigmatise menstrual care, and initiate a regular round table with societies that address gendered issues.

When questioned about how to advocate for trans-/non-binary students, Julia said that she would approach the GULGBTQ+ society and aim to elevate the voices. Julia said it is crucial that allies allow people to speak for themselves and she wants to provide a safe, reliable and trustworthy link of support to break open institutions. She was also asked about how she wants to deal with societies with different views on abortion rights. She responded that regardless of her personal opinions, she wants to include all SRC affiliated societies in a round table and make sure they listen to each other.

International Students Officer
Stephanie Mason:
Stephanie is a PhD student with seven years experience supporting international students. Amongst others, she has previously been involved with the Language Cafés and the charity Refuweegee. She wants to use her experience to put forward the ideas and suggestions of international students, stimulate cross-cultural relationships and point out opportunities available to international students. Stephanie said she wants to encourage students to take initiative in using the existing resources, as well as use social media to increase awareness. When asked about students struggling with mental health, Stephanie said she would accompany students to events if needed.

Shruthi Prasannavenkatesh:
Shruthi is a second year Physics and Astronomy student. She wants to bring her own experience as an international student to the role and work towards equal opportunities for international students on the employment market, champion racial and ethnic diversity and make settling into university easier for internationals.

Zeyun Li:
Unfortunately, Zeyun Li could not attend yesterday evening’s hustings; however, her manifesto can be found online, following the link at the beginning of this article. 

First Year Representatives
This year at hustings, everybody was blown away by the enthusiasm and dedication shown by the candidates for First Year Representative. There are eight students running this year: Ananya Venkatesan, Ilse Jansen, Emma Lindquist, Angela Ng, Katarina Zivkovic, Andrej Bederka and Eugene Ritchie. Calum Macleod was unable to attend the hustings event. They all have a number of experiences in leadership and representative positions prior to university, with full details provided in their online manifestos. 

All the candidates expressed a strong desire to focus efforts on improving mental health provisions, ensure representation for LGBTQ+, disabled and BAME students, as well as try to resolve issues with Moodle and MyCampus, and create a platform for first years to voice their concerns – some suggesting an anonymous platform being the best way to do this. Moreover, many also stressed that they would like to set up links between first years and their seniors in the form of tutoring and mentoring groups.

General Representatives
General Representative is one of the most hotly contested positions, with eight students running for the four positions; Alejandro Serrano, Anastasiia Korosteleva, Avantika Bhardwaj, Basel Shehabi, Daniela Stark, Kal Aryal, Luke McBlain, and Matthew Wilson. Kal Aryal did not appear at hustings. All candidates brought up the need for increased mental health support, alongside some more innovative proposals, such as Matthew Wilson’s pledge to get free hot water in the library and Anastasiia Korosteleva’s suggestion that exam timetables should be released earlier to allow international students to book more affordable flights home. When questions were opened, all candidates stressed the need to make the students more aware of the services provided by the SRC, and fighting for better mental health provisions on campus. The candidates all summed their campaigns and goals up with three words or short phrases at the end of hustings:
Basel – Ambitious, big, exciting
Anastasiia – Representation, communication, commitment
Daniela – Impact, positivity, support
Luke – Realistic, ambitious, needed
Matthew – Get it done
Alejandro – Couldn’t agree more
Avantika – Innovation, passion, community

Votes close tonight at 5pm so make sure you head to gla.ac.uk/vote to get your voice heard!