On the evening of Monday 4th March, the candidates running for the position of Community Officer participated in a hustings. There are two candidates running for the position: Jacob Collier and Edward Koffler.
The hustings opened with a speech from Jacob who expressed that he was proud of the work that he’s done so far. He stated that there is a real impactful nature of the Community Officer role and it is possible to effectively achieve change.
Edward Koffler, who as Chairman of Sutton Bonnington Guild, emphasised the importance of listening to students problems or queries and finding the best way to alleviate these issues.
The first question asked was addressing what methods the Community Officer candidates would use to tackle crime not just in popular areas in Nottingham such as Lenton, but other areas where students reside. Edward stated that with his experience working with different councils in Nottingham and “going to meetings with the council” he highlights the importance of being in the room and being able to represent the student body at the council level.
Jacob agreed with Edward stating that a council presence will “ensure that we lobby for more police on our street to increase community awareness.” Jacob also made an important point of encouraging students to speak to the police about a crime that they have faced and not just making posts on Facebook.
“I am aware of the issues within the black community and surrounding issues such as stop and search”
The next question was for Jacob, questioning how he will be able to reconcile the sensitivity and safety of BME students and his desires to increase police presence in Nottingham. Jacob responded by firstly, recognising the sensitivity of the issue “I am aware of the issues within the black community and surrounding issues such as stop and search.”
He also went on to highlight the importance of the work that the BME Network do to ensure that BAME students have a good university experience and feel safe within the university community. Jacob promised to work closely with the BME Network and speak to BAME students to ensure that his policy is fit for all.
Following from that question Jacob was then asked what had stopped him from connecting with the BAME student body during his time as Community Officer this year. Jacob answered stating that he is “looking forward to being reverse mentored by BME students in order to empower their voices.” He also admitted that this is an area where he could improve and he looked forward to doing so.
The next question was for both candidates and it was regarding the Kosher food policy. Jacob expressed that he’s been happy to support the Jewish community during his time in office and went on to bring light to the importance of “working closely with the Jewish community to know how to implement this policy.” Jacob then went on to say that “it is unacceptable and injustice that we don’t have kosher food available for Jewish students.”
“As a community officer, we need to stand for all people in the community”
Edward agreed with Jacob stating that “As a community officer we need to stand for all people in the community” and not let any student feel like an outcast on campus.
Finally, the candidates discussed what plans they would put in place to reinstate the policy that all staff is paid the national living wage. Edward stated that there should be a living wage for all levels of staff so that the working community in the university can all start on a level playing field. Jacob agreed to state that “we should value every staff member whether that be student staff or academic staff.”
Featured image courtesy of Ella Taylor.
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