On Monday 4th March, all candidates running for the position of President participated in hustings. This year there are six candidates running for the position: Megan Rogerson, Claude Mahlich, Olivia Narayan, James Pheasey, Louis Connor and Osaze Sylvester Odiase. From the hustings event, Claude Mahlich and Osaze Sylvester Odiase did not attend.
Each candidate was given five minutes to introduce themselves before being asked how they would overcome some of the university’s biggest issues over the next academic year.
Louis started his introductory speech by talking about his experience as the President of Hall Committee for Broadgate Park and reflected on some of his restrictions in the role which prevented him from achieving more. He states that there are various ways in which he believes he can enact change for the SU, highlighting his key manifesto points, tackling safety, engagement and transparency.
Olivia stated that after taking a new leadership role as President of English Soc she has grown in confidence, believing that she has the skills and capabilities to make change. She emphasised in her manifesto the importance of welfare, issues in Lenton and rewarding students for their work.
“Wants to stop exploitation and increase support and representation”
James informed the audience of his seven months of experience as part-time LGBT+ Officer last year and went on to express his hope that he will be the last SU president here at Nottingham. He believes his first duty to university is its members, and wants to stop exploitation and increase support and representation for part-time staff and students.
Megan mentioned her current role as Director for Karnival and believes that this has given her key skills and understanding into how things work. She also mentioned her other experience as a manager at Mooch and the benefit of being a designated first-aider. She highlighted some of her key manifesto points, including improving welfare and wellbeing, giving more recognition to students and to encourage campus unity.
With all candidates reflecting on their individual experiences and skills, they were asked if there was anything else that made them suitable for the role over the other candidates.
“Her experience within the SU has allowed her to understand all aspects”
Megan, said that her experience within the SU has allowed her to understand all aspects. “[she has] been on various committees and worked in Mooch” and this will be vital for what she hopes she can channel into the role.
James stated that “being an Officer already has given [him] an insight into how the SU already works” and therefore is confident about how he can change it for the better.
Louis continued to reflect on his experience as a Hall President as his biggest asset. He also believes that his manifesto points are what sets him apart, stating that “this is what [he wants] to do, let’s work together and help you achieve what you want to do as well.”
“Dedication is what sets her apart from the other candidates”
Olivia believes that despite her experiences and skills her dedication is what sets her apart from the other candidates. She stated that she is a “very dedicated person who puts time and effort into ensuring what [she] does turns out well.”
Following on from their own skills, the next topic challenged the candidates actions and plans to tackle some key issues on campus, one being the rise of transphobia and how this can be prevented next year.
Olivia stated that she had not in fact been aware of the incident in question but believes that CCTV footage should be analysed in order to first find out who was responsible. She emphasised that “University shouldn’t be a place where people feel uncomfortable.”
Louis was similarly unaware that the incident had taken place but believes that “the most important thing is to work with student groups closely and be an approachable figure.”
Megan stated her frustration over the incident and went on to suggest that “[she] would like to continue putting on events that are inclusive and make people feel supported.”
James stated that he dealt with the issue directly at the time acting as LGBT+ Officer. He believes that the role of President “should entail developing networks and supporting part-time Officers to help deal with these issues.”
The next question was focused around existing policies, including how the candidates will develop Cassie O’Boyle’s current policy around Trade Union Recognition at the SU.
“[He] wants to support the Community Officer”
Louis agreed that this is a very important policy and that he “wants to support the Community Officer on working towards developing this.”
Megan wants every single member of staff to know their rights. She believes “implementing a union would be good since it allows every member of staff to have a voice.”
James emphasised that this policy is mandated until 2020 so it is something that the President will have to progress. He stated that “it makes sense to allow our staff to be part of unions.”
Olivia agrees that “the role of president is crucial in reflecting and representing members of staff that work within the university.”
Rita Faria Figueiras and Emma Heasman
Featured image courtesy of Ella Taylor.
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