The SRC 2021 Spring Elections open at 9am Wednesday 3 March and close at 5pm Thursday 4 March. Here’s what went down at the sabbatical hustings, as well as the links you need to find candidate manifestos and where you can vote.
Yesterday, the Students' Representative Council held their Spring Elections hustings via Facebook Live, allowing candidates to briefly introduce themselves and take questions from the virtual audience. All four of the sabbatical positions are contested this year.
We have provided a quick run-down of what happened at the sabbatical hustings to help you decide during this week's vote. Votes can be cast here or via the UofG Life app.
Vice President of Student Activities
Sam is a fourth year Geography student who, after sitting on the SRC council for the last two years as a school representative among other leadership experiences, will be running for vice president of student activities for the upcoming year. If elected, he promises his experience on the council will allow for a “seamless transition”. He wants to make participation in clubs and societies easier by introducing a standardised online membership system, similar to the one recently implemented by GUSA, and facilitate collaboration between clubs and societies across campus, especially during initiatives such as RAG week. Sam suggests creating social media accounts with the aim of promoting the wide range of student clubs and societies across the university. With regards to Freshers’ Week, Sam will strike a cautious balance between in-person and online events, if restrictions allow, while increasing advertisement to ramp up student engagement with these events. Cross-campus collaboration, at risk of becoming the buzzword of these elections, are vital for Sam and he wants to increase interaction between the four student bodies through more informal meetings. Another key ambition he has is to promote environmental awareness in the lead up to Glasgow hosting COP26. He wants to encourage more environmentally conscious events and behaviour on and around campus. Overall, Sam wants the university to set an example as a world leading institution.
Tigerlily has held positions on multiple committees such as Student Theatre at Glasgow and the Entertainment Committee of the GUU and wants to use this experience to improve how the SRC works for students and societies. She plans to kick the next academic year off with a bang detailing her plans for a collaborative and inclusive Freshers’ Week, focusing her efforts on helping societies most affected by lockdown restrictions this year. She will cautiously organise Freshers’ Week, creating a plan corresponding to different restrictions based on Scotland’s tier system with decision-making deadlines. Tigerlily acknowledges the need to welcome postgraduate students who arrive at different points of the year and suggests having a postgraduate freshers period with campus tours and postgraduate-specific events. SRC engagement is important for Tigerlily as she hopes to increase awareness of the work the SRC does and play a more active role in engaging with students, especially first years. If elected, she wants to encourage cross-campus collaboration, dispelling rivalries between the student bodies, and get more students involved with RAG week. Finally, Tigerlily highlights the importance of the role clubs and societies play in student welfare and wants to invite society board members to take part in welfare workshops such as Mind Your Mate to better equip them for this key part of their role. She also stresses the importance of societies being accessible for everyone and would make sure events occur in physically accessible spaces.
Experienced in many different aspects of student life as well as previously holding the role of present student member for the GUU, Ruaridh pledges to promote environmentalism and collaboration across the university if elected as vice president of student activities. He believes the University must act now stating, “climate change is not coming, it’s already here”. Ruaridh proposes a Freshers’ Week style schedule of events leading up to Glasgow hosting the COP26 and will urge the University to prove itself as one of the main hosts of the summit through these events, suggesting large media projects and a green technology fair. One key point Ruaridh emphasises is his desire to create more cohesion between student media and encourage the pooling of resources between these groups, avoiding outside contractors in favour of student-led initiatives.
For Freshers’ Week, Ruaridh understands the challenges faced this year and promises hybrid events, making the week accessible for all students and using technology to strike this balance between in-person and online events. He also wants to encourage societies to work together and provide more opportunities for clubs and societies to mix informally highlighting the benefits of this for students in the long term. Lastly, Ruaridh promises to help the student community bounce back from the effects of the pandemic and wants to introduce a pairing scheme to match up different types of clubs and societies and encourage them to work together and create new opportunities from cross-campus collaboration.
Vice President of Student Support
Eva is a fourth year Sociology and Politics student who has strongly promoted student welfare and campaigned for more environmental policies during her time as general representative, helping to write the Green New Deal. If elected, one of her key concerns would be mental health, specifically increasing funding for the university’s mental health services and would campaign for specific funding for marginalised students. When asked about non-clinical measures to combat mental health issues, Eva said she understands this to be a broad issue and states there is a clear link between mental health, student welfare, access to adequate accommodation and equality, so would approach the issue with this in mind. Drug and alcohol addiction is an important point for Eva and she promises, if elected, she will spread awareness of these issues and create an environment where students feel safe about coming forward and asking for help. Eva also wants to tackle gender-based violence and the way it is regarded in the university community as well as fighting racism, pushing the university to go further in its anti-racism work. On racism, Eva was shocked by the findings of the racism report and acknowledges the failures of the SRC on this point, advocating for change, such as a mentor system for students of colour, and rejecting tokenism. Finally, if elected she would campaign to make the university a more accessible space especially with regards to assessment and sport. She says we must recognise the niches of the disabled student experience rather than viewing disabled students as one group and using blanket labels. She promises to listen and remain conscious to not speak for marginalised students. She will look to other universities for inspiration for how to solve some of the big issues facing students and use these examples to pressure university decision makers, showing them that real change is possible.
Julia has substantial experience in activism and has been involved in the SRC as Gender Equality Officer as well as sitting on the Learning Teaching Committee. She promises long-term commitment to the issues she sets out in her manifesto and says she will stick to those promises if elected. She wants to ensure better support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, campaigning for university services to have increased funding to support this. Julia wants to see better representation for estranged and home students and plans to create a position on the council for an officer to represent these students. Controversially, while holding her role as a court assessor, Julia also personally promotes the student-led initiative to boycott the annual NSS questionnaire as a means to hold the university accountable for its investment in the arms trade as well as its response to the climate emergency and gender-based violence. She justifies this saying students need not be afraid of peaceful action and that she is, “a student first and court assessor second”, reiterating her dedication to student interests. Julia believes the SRC have not done enough on racism but now, off the back of damning evidence, the University’s leadership have a real opportunity to amend its failings.
As VPSS, welfare would be a key aspect of her work and she wants to work alongside clubs and societies to implement mandatory training for executive board members using already-established courses such as Mind Your Mate. Julia also wants to introduce a face-to-face welfare forum where students are able to drop in and speak about their concerns. She wants to encourage sex education and create more safe spaces on campus. On safe spaces, Julia believes there should be reform on the SRC and university policy prohibiting segregated events due to their legal standing on the prevention of discrimination based on protected characteristics. Julia hopes to modify these regulations to allow for safe spaces in the form of segregated events exclusively for certain societal groups. She acknowledges the challenges she would be up against with her ambitious plans stating, “anything can change and I believe that with enough elbow grease it probably will”.
Vice President of Education
Mia has previously served on the SRC as one of the general representatives, as well as having experience training class representatives for the last two years. Her time training class representatives has emphasised the importance of them to her, which is the reasoning behind her push for them to be elected as a standard across university. She plans to create Microsoft TEAMS channels for Class Representatives to instil better communication between them and school representatives, in an attempt to better engage class representatives with the SRC Council.
Currently a part of a postgraduate taught programme herself, Mia empathises with many of the issues postgraduate students face. She believes postgraduates need to be treated with the same value as undergraduate students and argues for named advisors to be introduced as a standard.
Mia aims to ensure disabled students are as supported as their able bodied peers, by pushing for extra time for assessments to be reintroduced.
One of Mia's key manifesto points is to promote the inclusion of more innovative modules into the curriculum, to ensure students are educated on the climate crisis and basic equality. She thinks certain courses should be compulsory. Mia is also passionate about decolonising the curriculum.
Furthermore, Mia is in favour of advocating for greater support measures for students during and following the pandemic. Mia plans to adapt last year's No Detriment policy to suit 2021 circumstances. She argues that some elements of online education should be retained, such as online readings, transcripts, and office hours. Mia asserts that a gentle easing into physical learning will be needed to support students transition back into education.
Mia is against affiliation with the NUS, arguing that she believes it to be too expensive and there to be a lack of student interest, however, she would be in support of another referendum if called for by students.
Mia's manifesto can be found here, with her interview and our manifesto analysis available here.
Thomas is a second-year Common Law and Philosophy student. Thomas leads with a triple-A approach to the position, focusing on advocacy, accessibility, accountability.
Having spent the last year as class representative for philosophy, a key point of Thomas' manifesto is mandating that all class representatives are elected. To boost interest in the position, Thomas plans on inviting previous class representatives to speak of their experience in the role as well as ensuring all departments publicise the role effectively. He believes class representatives play a key role within the SRC and need to be better incorporated into the body.
Going forward, Thomas plans to ensure all lecture materials are recorded that can be accessed at all times with transcripts attached. He believes this to be essential both for disabled students and students struggling with mental health. Beyond this, he believes more needs to be done to support disabled students in education, highlighting that disabilities need to be treated on an individual basis. Therefore, he would also lobby for extra support measures for those students, such as extra time for exams and extra space between assessments (for example, to benefit those with chronic fatigue).
Thomas is "warmly positive" to joining the National Union of Students (NUS), and believes there to be a need for a referendum given the events of the last year.
Thomas' manifesto can be found here, with his interview and our manifesto analysis available here.
Miko is a fourth year Law student running to be SRC President. Miko spent his allotted three-minute introduction relaying an anecdote from his "rocky" childhood featuring a prominent disinterest of education, until the turning point of when a guest speaker, a homeless lady, explained how she blamed herself for her own misfortune. Miko felt angry about this, he said students were angry at the University, and thinks that channeling this shared anger is why he should be SRC President.
The main pressure point applied to Miko was regarding his key manifesto point of pushing to join the NUS. Miko's main reasoning lies in his belief of the collective bargaining power that joining NUS holds, feeling that the benefits would outweigh the cost. The topic of funding generated a back-and-forth between the current SRC President, Liam Brady, and Miko. Liam asked that if the NUS membership affiliation cost is 2.5% of the University's block grant, which he estimated would total around £30-35,000, and if Miko was to follow through on another point of his manifesto, which is to curtail private SRC advertising by disengaging with private landlords, which in itself would cut around £60,000 in commercial revenue, what services would Miko cut to afford this? Miko responded: "I don't think as a student representative body we should be driven by money."
Miko was also put in the hot seat about his ideas surrounding a "unified student media" approach, which swiftly became an even bigger buzzword than cross-campus. However, Miko's understanding of this approach appeared vastly different from Ruaridh's, who earlier in the night stated it would essentially be shared equipment use between the student media outlets. Rather, Miko intends to create a platform which all four student bodies use as a main channel to communicate with students. When pushed on whether this might overwhelm students, Miko argued it would actually streamline the unions' communications.
This raised greater concerns surrounding the four unions' independence from one another. Miko frequently argued that there needs to be a step away from any "tribalism" over what each union should be responsible for, particularly in relation to the Glasgow University Student Tenants Union's new anonymous procedure potentially distracting from the SRC Advice Centre. In response to any such allegation of it taking away from the Advice Centre, Miko responded that many students felt the SRC are not critical enough of the University, so by having multiple avenues for student support, it can only benefit the care of the students.
During the hustings, Miko also highlighted his experience in working with Westminster and Holyrood, his zero tolerance approach to climate hooliganism, and his wishes to campaign for No Detriment to be implemented for students both this year and next.
Over the course of the last year, Ella has been the SRC's vice president of student support.
Ella used her introduction to focus upon what makes her the best fit for this role, highlighting the work she has done over the last year, her two years serving on the Tennis Club Committee, and her time on the Glasgow University Union's (GUU) Board of Management. She believes this vast experience gives her a great understanding of both how the University and the student bodies operate. Recognising the difficult year that students have faced, Ella thinks that certain gaps in equality have widened because of the pandemic and believes in introducing realistic welfare-based initiatives that she can achieve in a year.
Ella's main goals appear to be continuations from previous work put in motion by the SRC, specifically the harm reduction campaign, the SRC's endorsement and work on the Green New Deal, and opening the Rape Crisis Drop-in Centre. Nevertheless, she does have some new plans, such as working with Glasgow City Council to introduce "rent pressure" zones in the West End.
She acknowledges that her time serving as a sabbatical officer for the SRC for the last year has made her privy to the "SRC sympathisers" of University management, which she believes is her main weapon against the intricacies of University bureaucracy. She aims to balance her relationship with university management through knowing when to pick your battles, and who to pick them with.
Ella disagreed with Miko's stance on the NUS, asserting that from her experience, she believes the cost of the NUS to be greater than any benefit offered. Underpinning her reluctance to join the NUS is her concerns about how this would affect the other three student bodies who would suffer the financial cuts, but she worries would not reap any material benefit, mentioning that these worries have been explicitly addressed to her over the last year. That being said, Ella then continued to mention some of the large benefits felt by UofG students as a result of the NUS' work.
When questioned on the SRC's outreach this year, Ella argued that better communication and advertising needs to be done by the SRC to highlight to students all of the services available to them. If she gets the role, she plans to increase engagement through the reintroduction of the "Meet the SRC" events and more social media activity.
Ella's manifesto can be found here, with her interview and our manifesto analysis available here.SRC elections (both sabbatical and non-sabbatical) open at 9am Wednesday 3 March and close at 5pm Thursday 4 March. You can vote here or via the UofG Life app.
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