Ife Oyedeji is running in the 2022 SU elections for the role of Liberation Officer. Impact’s Jasmin Lemarie caught up with her to ask a few questions about her campaign.
“I would describe myself as someone who’s super passionate”
Q1: What do you think makes you a good fit for this role?
I would describe myself as someone who’s super passionate and community based. Just based on the intersections of my different identities, I have this huge drive to campaign and this very activist spirit; I always want to be fighting for liberation. With my experience at the University Festival, and my experience of supporting marginalised communities, it might be good to use my voice to platform the rest of the student voices. I thought that this would be an amazing role to do in terms of making campus a truly diverse and inclusive space.
Q2: Why did you run for the role of Liberation Officer?
I’ve occupied some EDI roles in the past and I’ve been running societies, like the Feminist society, and the UoN Queer People of Colour society. I want to be Liberation Officer because I want to make sure that minority students have a voice in the rooms where decisions are being made. Also, I just want people to feel like they have a friendly face that they can come to; to report, ask for support, ask for things that they need and feel like they’ve been listened to.
Q3: What do you think is the biggest challenge that minority students face at university today?
I think there’s so many challenges.
One of my main manifesto points is decolonising UoN. We need to stop seeing race as white or non-white, which groups people into one, homogenous hub and silences the different voices within that group. I want to make sure that every single student from every single community feels like they can voice what they need.
I also feel like there is this very performative activism by the university; with Black History Month and LGBT History Month, I feel they only ever focus on the main issues then and they aren’t really giving us the support and community that we need. I don’t think the university addressed the fact that people historically have not felt represented by the SU and have not felt like their voices are being heard. We haven’t started targeting the issues that affect marginalised communities and maybe that level of silencing feels like students can’t access support and general spaces on campus.
Q4: How do you plan on decolonising the university?
The previous Liberation Officer already started working on the Decolonise Network, which is something I’m hoping to continue, if I am elected Liberation Officer. I want to create a space to do that activist level work, to give students resources to learn to call out their own bias, the bias that’s being presented in universities, and working both on a student and staff level to host workshops and trainings.
The fact is that if you don’t actually decolonise the space, then you can’t expect that place to be inclusive or diverse, because you’ve not done the work to break down the systems that are preventing it from being inclusive. I feel like once we decolonise, we are able to bring in things like increasing accessibility, making space for people with visible and invisible disabilities, and ensuring that students feel like they have access to all the support services on campus.
“Hallward is so awkward”
Q5: Do you prefer George Green or Hallward?
I’m a science student, so I must say I have always enjoyed George Green. Hallward is so awkward. I started off doing medicine and a few days ago I decided not to. I have always been in George Green and most of my friends are STEM students as well. When I have come to Hallward with my humanity friends, I think “Oh my gosh, this is such a weird vibe.”
Voting for the 2022 SU elections closes at 1pm on Friday 25th March.
You can read Ife’s manifesto and vote in the elections here.
Featured image courtesy of Chiara Crompton. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image courtesy of Jasmin Lemarie. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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