On Tuesday 6th of March, the candidates running for the position of Community Officer participated in a hustings run by Dimitrios Potsos.
This year there are three candidates running for the position of Community Officer: Jacob Collier, Marisa Muramatsu and Tasha Bednall. Here’s how they answered some of your questions…
How are you planning to ensure the University becomes an accredited living wage employer?
Jacob said he’s a campaigner at heart, and plans to keep pushing the University for accreditation. He acknowledges it will have to be a collective effort, and it is important staff and students stand in solidarity.
Marisa said she planned to push for an accreditation timescale first.
Tasha described the campaign as “an amazing example of grassroots activism on campus.” She noted there is a policy that mandates the officer to work on the campaign, and mentioned action planned in November.
“Tasha plans to implement bouncer training in Ocean and Crisis.”
There is currently a lot of tension between Lenton residents and students living there. How are you planning to help resolve the tension?
Jacob proposed having a community day at the University where “we would open doors to outside community”. Students would be able to learn about local initiatives, and also showcase themselves to the local community. It would show that the problematic people are a minority.
Improving these relations is one of Marisa’s manifesto points. She hopes the problems can be resolved by working with the council and locals, establishing relationships so they do not call police straight away.
Tasha suggested that there was a lack of casual space for students in Lenton since Bag O’Nails shutdown. She wants to set up a casual space that “will really help reduce the emphasis on house parties.
“Jacob hopes to work with community protection officers and council to strengthen relationships”
How do you plan to increase safety?
Jacob hopes to work with community protection officers and council to strengthen relationships. He also proposes working with the police and adding a hate crime reporting service to the SU, so students can use it instead of going to the police. He said it is important that victims feel safe coming forward.
To Marisa, it’s all about working with local community and the police. She is hoping to introduce taxi schemes for women and collaborate with clubs to increase safety for women.
Tasha plans to implement bouncer training in Ocean and Crisis. She also hopes to tackle hate crime: “students need to be made aware of what constitutes hate crime.”
Students don’t engage in grassroots activism. How do you plan to get more students involved in activism?
He plans to talk to students on all campuses, and “motivate people to come out and campaign”. He says it is also important to make sure students are registered to vote and realise the importance of their voice.
Marisa hopes to get different groups involved by talking to them.
The problem is that problems seem too big to tackle, but Tasha wants to make campaign training more accessible, so students learn how to break these issues into more manageable achievement.
“Marisa plans to re-introduce a landlord rating system”
In recent years, there has been a lack of communication between community officers and the Sutton Bonington Guild. Do you believe the Guild should be more autonomous?
Jacob believes he can only represent students if he talks to them, so he’d go to all campuses to improve links. He does support greater autonomy for the Guild because “it’s a unique community.”
Marisa too thinks the Guild should be given more autonomy, but noted that the communication channels should remain open to ensure a holistic understanding of important matters is maintained.
Tasha noted she was eager to learn about the Guild students and how their situation could be improved. She believes independence should come down to Sutton Bonington students because they’re the most affected by the issue.
How are you planning to improve student accommodation?
Jacob proposes to introduce an accreditation scheme for housing, so unsuitable housing can be blacklisted.
Marisa plans to re-introduce a landlord rating system, make sure people are rating their landlords, and distribute information and tips on things like deposits.
Tasha proposed setting up a non-profit SU letting agency run by students. Such initiative is already running in Cardiff. Setting it up would take time, but it would ensure students are not getting ripped-off.
Follow our SU Elections 2018 coverage on Facebook.