6th November 2023
We are well into Student Officer elections week! Have you cast your vote or do you need more time to decide? Lucky for you, we have the inside scoop from the official Elections Press Launch, thanks to interviewers Alejandro, Iona and Robyn. We hope these questions bring you a bit more clarity on those standing and help you pick your future President. You can cast your vote and review their manifestos here.
My campaign is really bold and it’s really different. I’m really trying to get the university to push themselves and get the Guild to push themselves too, in terms of what they do for minority communities.
I’m looking at decolonising the university. This means there’s better diversity and inclusion in our curriculum but beyond that, in our services, such as mental health. Making sure there’s more in place for minority people to feel comfortable in those spaces.
I’m looking at diversity and inclusion in the Guild, in general. I’ve been working on my ‘More than a Month’ initiative, it’s been my baby, my little project. Making sure that we’re looking at liberation dates, such as Black History Month, LGBTQ+ History Month. Disability Awareness Month as well, it’s another one that’s really important. Making sure that the Guild takes account for that. Also making sure that they’re looking at that beyond the respective liberation date; to make sure we are doing more work around it as well.
Looking at online examinations, looking at how we get students having more autonomy in their learning. A lot of students really like the fact that they got to be online and have a bit more control, a bit more time. I really want to continue that. Making sure that we’re also taking advantage of the fact we do have such a long exam period; so why are we being forced to do three examinations in the same week? It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t allow people to produce their best work.
Also, looking at making it easier for people to access extenuating circumstances. For example, if someone has dealt with bereavement, they’d have to keep applying for extenuating circumstances over the year, which is definitely not fair and something which they shouldn’t have to keep going through, so making sure that’s a single access process, not too long, not too draining.
I’m also looking at safer nights out. So that’s by ensuring I continue my work with Liverpool Council. I’ve been in talks with Liverpool Council and local student unions about creating a policy to ensure that we are better training staff members that work there but also making sure that when we’re hiring security that they’re there not just for their physical aptitude but also for their emotional aptitude. Making sure that if you see that girl that’s going home drunk alone, you don’t let them go home alone.
Those are the things I’m working on, I’m very passionate about it. I’ve been working on all of these points during my time as Vice President. I want to keep doing that essentially!
I’m Vice President currently. The reason why, is I’m really passionate about this work. I’m telling you right now, the hours aren’t great, the pay isn’t great but I love my job! I get to help students and most of my work focuses on people who are from minority backgrounds and making them feel included. Left out students, like international students, disabled students, LGBTQ+ students, looking at bringing them into the Guild and making them feel like it’s their space as much as it is for everyone else.
Well this year, I’ve been the Vice President but when I was a student, I was part of Bar Society, Vice President of the Afro Caribbean Society (ACS) – which is actually the reason that led me here. The former President, Adnan, invited me to be part of the renaming process for Gladstone and I got to be able to speak to Black students about how they felt about Gladstone; what it meant to them, the impact. That led me to be able to present that to Janet Beer, at the time, and got that changed to now a Black woman, who is Dorothy Kuya. So yeah, I was really active and I really enjoyed my time.
I feel like I’m very confident in this job, I know what I’m doing and that should be enough to hopefully get my space! I’m really passionate about this job, I care about the people I work for, which is the students, and I just want to continue doing that.
Most of the work I’ve done is on EDI – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. It’s looking at minority groups, focusing on the left out students and bringing them in.
So, I stand for changing mental health services mainly, like long wait times and how they deal with bereavement. I’ve noticed that the grief and bereavement services at Liverpool are really, really terrible; you only get one semester of academic consideration during your bereavement and everyone knows that grief lasts way longer than that. Also, the long waiting times – personally, I’ve been on the waiting list for therapy for five months, despite having chronic depression, so it seems that people who might not have already been diagnosed with disorders might have to wait even longer than me and I don’t think that’s acceptable.
Also, to improve job opportunities, so connections with employers. Improved student housing because it’s way too expensive to live in student halls and keeping landlords in check so they don’t keep students in bad contracts. Lastly, to improve sexual health accessibility, so free pregnancy and STD checks and classes about sexual health.
I believe that the minorities I’m a part of don’t have enough representation, especially in politics positions. I do Politics myself as a course, that motivated me to stand for this, I feel it’s quite close to my heart to be helping others and changing systems that I believe are flawed.
I’m a part of Labour Students mainly, I’m their Disability Officer. I also go to the Meditation Society on Mondays, I can’t make it every week but I like to consider myself a regular.
I would say, I’m hoping that they’ll see that the groups that I’m a part of are perhaps underrepresented and want to represent them more. To help people who struggle with mental health or have struggled with sexuality or struggled with sexual assault, to get a foot in the door to get their voices heard. I would love to be that person for them.
I would say, I guess not being represented has led me to be passionate about representation. So, even people who aren’t a part of the groups I’m a part of or people who are part of other minorities, I’ve seen what it’s like to not have your voice heard. It makes me really upset so I feel like people can come to me with an issue I might not have raised and I’ll want to raise it for them.
My main campaign point is university = equality + opportunity + security. They’re the main things university should be. Everyone should feel safe and have opportunity, equal opportunity. With my campaign that’s what I’ve tried to do, to make it equal for everybody. I think that’s something the Guild is doing at the moment but could possibly have a bit more of, so that’s my main reason why I’m standing, to make everyone feel as though the Guild is there for them and that university is something that they can feel safe and secure in, whether that’s to do with fees or just making sure they’re having a good time and enjoying themselves.
I feel like the Guild should be a place where everybody feels safe and that everybody is welcome.
In terms of going on nights out, I feel that we should have either a safe taxi scheme or a night bus scheme, just something so that everybody feels that they can go and enjoy a night out without fear or anxiety.
Whether that’s in academia or job-wise; the Guild is a wonderful place where we should have more jobs for students and having a job at the Guild means there’s security there and again, I feel the Guild should be a hub for all students, from all walks of life. Everyone should have a good time and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m standing.
I’m trying to be a familiar and friendly face, so you might see me down in the Sphinx now and again! I’m always just to have a chat with people, so if there are any issues or anything, I think that’s the main thing is having someone you feel you can approach with confidence and also feel like they will say something and I feel like I am that character.
Also, I’m keen to make the Guild, a student Guild, more welcoming for students and have more events and also making sure that everyone feels safe. Obviously, we’ve had ongoing issues with spiking and I feel like there could be some more presence with awareness towards it and that everyone feels safe because we go to university not just to get a degree but also to have a good time. I feel like the Guild should be a place people can go without fear of anything happening to them.
It’s a little bit of a plug but I’m part of Liverpool University Drama Society (LUDS). There are a few plays this week, I’m involved with The Wonderful World of Dissocia, which is out in May. I also do Radio for Liverpool Guild Student Media on a Monday night. I also do the pub quiz at The Cambridge and the pub quiz at Peter Kavanagh’s, so I’m here, there and everywhere and I’m normally wearing a flamboyant jacket, so there we go.
I’ll try and get my face out there. If you’ve seen my Instagram, I’m quite embedded in student activities with my quiz and stuff like that. I’m always in and out of the Guild, so you’ll see me wandering about sometimes, you might see me playing some records on a Monday night. I always try to get involved with students and be around students because that’s why we go to university, to meet new people and meet new students. I’d also make it so I’m always approachable, my social media is always open if anyone has any issues or even if you wanna stop me in the street and say, “hi”, that’s great. As long as I can see you and you can let me know what the issue is or even if you just wanna say, “how’re you doing” or “I like your T-Shirt!”
As I’ve said, I think the Guild should be the hub where everyone is represented. I think there should be more society roles, I know we have our elections coming up, but I think there could be more roles for students to be involved with stuff so that there’s an equal demographic in terms of societies. I also want to make sure that even if I’m not selected or if I’m not your first preference, just making sure that people are voting so that we have a good turnout. We should have more so that the people selected are representative of the student body itself. Also, more jobs for students – that’s the brilliance of the Guild, it’s for students! So it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your background is, it should be a place where everybody should have equal opportunities.
Essentially, I’ve spent a year talking to loads of different students about my campaign because I ran last year as well. I formulated these aims on the basis that I understood the role and I wanted to make something I could plausibly do.
So, my first one was to create a streamlined exam extension process, which is just an easier way to get extenuating circumstances. I’ve spoken to students at different universities and I know the University of Exeter has an automatic extension process for, I think, three times for a whole year and then you have to show proof.
My second aim was to introduce self-defence classes, I just thought it would be a great way to build a community at the university and get people to interact with each other.
The third is to introduce Guild student club nights, so that’s the same, I just thought personally, my years at university have been so affected by Covid that I just wanted to create something that would allow loads of different people from different modules to get to know each other and you meet people outside your course. It’s also a great way to tackle spiking and sexual assault by creating a safe university environment.
My fourth aim is to introduce a Sphinx loyalty card.
As I said, I ran last year and I became so passionate about the role, started to understand it more and got so invested in it! Now, as a third-year law student, I thought I had to pick myself back up and try one more time, especially since I lost by like literally a vote.
Currently, I’m President of the Bar Society, so I have really good experience with advocacy, talking to people, communicating with people. I’ve done it for three years now altogether, not Presidency but mooting and stuff like that. Also, I’m part of a load of societies that are very random! I’m part of the Meditation Society, Liv Yoga, all the law-based societies. I’m also part of Strength and Conditioning, which is an Athletic Union (AU) club and I quite enjoy that as well.
I’ve kind of been doing that because I knew I was gonna run, like, “I know I have to run!” All my ideas are based on the wants of students I spoke to for the past year. So it’s valuing what students want, what they don’t like, sharing ideas with them.
Well, as part of a minority (I’m half Greek and half Jamaican), I think it’s so important to be able to hear all different people, from different backgrounds, different genders and to make sure no one is isolated or left out or not heard. So, for example, with my Guild club nights, I want to do events celebrating different cultures as well, so like an Afro Caribbean night, I think that would be great, just from my background. Maybe, I could branch that out a bit more. I wanted to do the streamlined extension process because loads of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds struggle because they have to work while studying at university, I just wanted to make it easier for people of that background too.
My main points are making the university more sustainable, bringing night busses back in and making them cheaper or creating a student ticket and getting the university to divest from companies that are complicit in Israeli violations of international law and lowering student rent.
I want to start a boycott Barclays campaign, due to the massive investment they have in the fossil fuel industry. I also want to get the university’s net-zero goals to include indirect emissions and make the plan very easy for students to hold the university accountable for. Also, move the net-zero goal forward because 2035 is too late for that.
I want to stand for Student Officer because the three years I’ve been at uni have been interesting ones with corona and all of that. Seeing the marketisation of education increasing, I was working on the ‘Student / Staff Solidarity’ campaign for HMS47 in the summer, which is when the university tried to fire 47 members of the Life Sciences staff, for basically no reason. So just saying all these kinds of things, I just want to have the student voice out there, speak for the students.
I’m President of Student Action for Refugees (STAR). I’m a member of the rugby team – I would be playing in the Christy Cup today if it wasn’t for all of this! It’s not necessarily a student group but I’m part of an activist group called Green New Deal Rising, which is a youth group, so I’ve done MP challenges with them and we went to COP 26.
Hopefully, I think the main four points of my manifesto are things that students care about. Like, the price of university should be cheaper, it should be more accessible, it should be fairer and the university should be more sustainable. Also, what I’d do as Student Officer isn’t limited to my manifesto points. I basically care about the university being a safe space for everyone and for them to reduce their impact on both people and the planet, so anything that relates to that, I’m there to stand with. Whatever students want will reflect that, hopefully.
Obviously, I can’t represent everyone, everyone faces different issues on campus. The main thing for me is, not just those four points but making the university a more equal space for everyone. So, whatever that will involve, I’m happy to change and help with those issues. I will take on whatever people refer me to, hopefully, people see me as approachable and will let me know the issues that they face and then I can help with that.
My manifesto consists of three points.
The first of which is getting better help for students with mental health issues and learning disabilities, that you can’t get help for through the uni. These students end up failing because they didn’t get the help they needed from the uni, so obviously to get better help for these students.
The second one is spiking and getting better emergency help which pretty much explains itself, but how I’m going to do it is I’m going to partner with local taxi companies so that we can get students cheaper taxis, quicker taxis that would get them to emergency help centres, or accommodation if that’s what they need.
This is definitely my priority – pairing up or partnering the university with local taxi companies for help. In my flat, we’re 8 of us and three of them have already been spiked. If they hadn’t gone out with friends or they hadn’t had friends around, they wouldn’t have come home and god knows what would’ve happened. So, obviously get that so students can themselves quickly get taxis, quickly get to emergency help centres. I will also try to partner with the bars and clubs around Liverpool to make sure that the bouncers, before kicking people that are too drunk out, make sure that they are not spiked, and that they’re actually not harmed instead of just kicking them out thinking that they’re drunk.
The third one is more cultural expression across campus. So, as an Indian myself, I don’t see enough expression, enough of my culture, we would just celebrate major festivals and holidays from all over the world, as we did with the Chinese New Year, celebrate Diwali even, celebrate Eid just on campus or outside the Guild so everyone knows it’s happening.
During the first term, I saw a lot of things in the university and how the uni deals with certain things that I don’t exactly agree with. As a Student Officer, I would try to change them for the better and to make little tweaks, that would make the student experience better.
I’m currently working with the Woman’s Refugee Connect. We basically raise money, we hold events, for women by women. We help raise money for refugee women in the UK and all of the money we raise during these events is for charity, none of it comes to us. I’ve also recently joined the rugby team, also we won a match! We won the Christy Cup this week, big up for that. I didn’t play but all of them did, they did an amazing job.
I plan on getting a Google Forms link and putting it up across all social media channels of the Guild, so you can just go on it, vote on whatever issues you are facing and then we would tally all of these. The most numbers of students that voted on that same issue would be prioritised obviously.
I don’t want to look at them as people of colour specifically, I want to look at them as students, I don’t want to treat anyone differently just because they’re people of colour or because they’re not. Obviously, I would try to make sure culturally I represent as many people as I can and make sure everyone feels included just the way they are.
I want to decolonise the university. To increase sexual health awareness; to provide free menstruation products, pregnancy tests and condoms. All these vital products are still surrounded by shame and stigma. I also want to prevent sexual misconduct on campus; we’ve seen quite an increase with that, especially with the spiking epidemic. I also want to push further investment into mental health services and curb unexpected course costs.
It was Decolonise UOL that inspired me. So many issues were raised in that society that made me realise how much still needs doing. I just really want to be that person that people can talk to. I want to listen and try and make that change.
I’m currently just part of Decolonise UOL, I love it, it’s such a great society. There are so many great events that they’ve done and you just learn so much.
I’m reaching out to different societies and faculties, like course reps. I’ve got quite a lot of friends in different areas; I’m just hoping that they spread the word and people resonate with my policies.
I want to reach out to lots of different students and my position is to listen. I really want to listen to students and to make sure that their voices are heard, I don’t want to take away from them.
Well, I want to make sure that in light of recent years (Covid), the next year will be fun and safe but the Guild continues to do good work. I want to make sure the Guild can host events and enjoy the Sphinx but then people need to feel safe and secure at those events, so we need to have a bit of emphasis on peoples’ safety. The ‘Green Guild’ initiative is already doing good work, I think they can promote that to local authorities and local charities and it can be even better than it already is. Litter in Liverpool is astoundingly terrible, when I walk down Smithdown Road to campus there’s litter everywhere, I want to rally some zeal to get that sorted. Then also, I think it’s a travesty the bus route is not 24 hours still.
I’ve had four fabulous years here at university; I’ve been online, on campus, I’ve done a semester abroad and a semester in industry. So I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of what it has to give and I’ve had a lot of fun, a lot of experiences. I think I could give back and channel those experiences into doing something good.
Currently, none. I’m focusing on my final year, about to graduate. I used to be in the boxing society. That was very fun, I was never very good but you get a good sweat going!
I think the best way is just to talk to them and explain my policies. I think I’ve got some good, reasonable, achievable policies, which are beneficial to students and once they hear them, they’ll consider it and think, “yeah, this guy knows what he’s talking about.”
As a straight, white man, who’s just a hair above six foot as well, I’ve only really suffered from pogonophobia with the moustache. I think myself and then my other fellow Officers would just rely on our ability to listen to students. Students know what’s affecting their lives more than I know what’s affecting their lives. They can come to us and explain their troubles and we can take it up with the university or whatever relevant entity is needed.
So for my campaign, the theme is to try and make students every day experiences better. I’ve got five policies:
It’s trying to make our experience better, reduce the cost and make the campus a safer place.
I’m standing because I’m really passionate about making sure that students get the best. I think I’m quite organised and dedicated. I want to make sure students get the best experience at university.
I’ve been Secretary of Labour Students for the past two years. I’ve been really involved with the ‘Student / Staff Solidarity’ campaign, supporting striking staff on the picket lines. Most of my stuff has been around Labour Students and supporting the strikes.
I’m trying to gain the support of students by having policies that will directly affect them. So like, reducing the cost of drinks, I think that’s something everyone would quite like. With the rise of living costs at the moment, students don’t want to be spending fortunes on rent when you could get it reduced.
I will always make sure that minority groups are involved in any decision making, I’ll make sure that their voice is projected and heard and that students can come to Student Officers for anything they need.
My priorities are the safety and wellbeing of students, awareness of activities going on around campus and more dietary options. Also, a reduction in fees. All the things which students want and need, all the issues for students that should be resolved, this is my focus. Listening to them, helping them decide on issues and preparing an action plan and execution of the action plan.
I’m standing for the election because it is the main position where I can make a change, the position to make a change for the students. I can meet a lot of different people, with different backgrounds and become their voice. So, your voice is my voice – you can vote for your voice.
Before this, I’ve gone through many activities, such as Help the Homeless Society, having done some charity work and running food drives. All these kinds of activities, I’ve taken part in.
Now I’ve got my election campaign pack, I will raise awareness of all my priorities and advertise myself. Hopefully, if I get elected, I’ll make an execution plan and execute it with the help of committee members and major members of the university staff.
I will be ensuring all the students will be represented and I will be listening to the students of every background and having chats with them. Moreover, making sure that all the problems of the students of every background are listened to and resolved in my priorities.
Currently, I’m a Course Representative, of course, I know student matters. I collect lots of feedback from students. The first thing is there are no plug sockets in all lectures and seminar halls. This, I would change. The second one is, why are there so many apps? We’ve got Liverpool apps, library apps, timetables. Why don’t we make them just combined together for more convenience?
As a Course Rep, mainly just writing an enhancement project is not enough. Therefore, I’m standing to be your Student Officer of the future. I want to make a real change rather than just writing the enhancement project as a Course Rep, so if you vote for me, I’m gonna make a real change, that’s why I want to do it!
I’m Malaysian, so of course, I joined the Liverpool Malaysian Society! The second thing is, I love watching anime, so I joined the Anime and Otaku Society. I’m a law student, so I joined the law societies.
They will just send in messages for me.
Again, I’m a Course Rep. I constantly receive student feedback, it’s a responsibility to have this role as Course Rep, so I want to do something about it.
I think that someone has to take a stand for the change, especially for the students across the world, not only for the people who are well known here who might want to take a stand for change. For the people across the world who have things where they may want to be taken into the university’s consideration and they can’t show themselves and ask them, “this is what we are looking for”. so, I want to take that stand and be a part of the change.
It’s not a very generic one, it’s a specific one, that there should be a change. There should be a change that everyone can express their ideas and show their talents across the uni. So, I just want that to happen. It’s not really on the study part, I’m mostly concentrating on the culture part or the inter-socialisation across the students. So, that’s where I’m running in this election and that’s my main policy.
I just want to implement a few things which are really required for students who are coming to the uni from across the globe. To showcase their culture, their creations, so that they’ll also get to know the other countries’ culture, traditions, fashions, whatnot. That’s why most of the international students arrange to come to other countries, to study, apart from studying, they can get to know the other factors. They want to learn those things, which they aren’t getting now, as of my knowledge, as I’m also an international student. That’s where I felt is a gap, I’m able to study and everything is going on but the cultural part is not filling up, it’s not coming to the students. So that’s why I’m standing, to fill up the gap.
I’m currently part of three activities. So one is part of my course, the Accounting and Finance society. Another is the Postgrad Society. Then also the Liverpool Indian Cultural Society. So these are the societies I’m in, these are the groups.
I’d like to talk to each and every one. If they like my policies, I can immediately get their trust or support. I’m not looking at the end result, I’m concentrating on the process. I’ll do it first by explaining my manifesto and my reasons why I’m standing and everything, by that I understand that I can gain some students and I’m already in the process of that.
That’s really difficult because you know, the university is very big and if you want me to represent each and every student, that’s very difficult in this initial stage right now, before the elections have ended. In the time of campaigning, it’s very difficult to represent every student. I can confidently say, that I can concentrate on and represent the problems that students want to get solved. I’m pretty sure on that part, I can cover. To reach out, anyone can contact me at any point in time, I’ll be standing for the purpose of representing them at any point in time.
Cover Image taken by LGSM