Manifesto Reviews: Postgraduate Officer candidates

Hannah Walton-Hughes, Olivia Conroy, & Lottie Murray

A team of Impact’s contributors came together to review candidate manifestos. The team, consisting of Sophie Robinson, Kit Sinclair, Olivia Hughes, Laura Scaife, Hannah Walton-Hughes, Lottie Murray, and Olivia Conroy have summarised the main manifesto points and given their opinions on the overall manifesto. Some candidates did not submit a manifesto. Voting closes on Friday 17th at 1pm.

River Butterworth:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Empowering Postgrads
  2. Student Wellbeing
  3. Better Conditions
  4. Better Opportunities

“My three main goals are to: end casualised teaching contracts for postgraduate teachers, increase stipends and provide better representation.” 

“Lobby the university to implement an alumni discount of 20% across all postgraduate course in line with the national standard imposed by almost all other universities by the end of the year.” An organisation of “Postgraduate Forums” and “Postgraduate representation sessions”, and working alongside postgraduates, in order to understand “cross faculty problems” and a “move towards diversification where needed” in the “current curriculum.” River also wants an “audit of current Postgraduate Study Spaces, and lobby for an increase”.

“Fight for better working conditions for postgrad teachers”.

River wants to “end deadline clumping”, “ensure hardship funds are more accessible and not invasive” and “gain financial support for international students that offset rising NHS surcharge fees and visa renewals.” They also want to reform “Extenuation Circumstances to have self-certification”, and “campaign to remove requirement for evidence for both physical and mental health conditions.”

“Fight for better working conditions for postgrad teachers”. “Fund any hidden course costs and push departments to be transparent with the true costs of their courses.” River wants an “increased bursary for all students” and “conference grants for PGT students.” Finally, “launch a postgraduate cross department interdisciplinary conference that focuses on rewarding and recognising the work of postgraduates.”

Increase “funding and support for postgrad socials.” Economically, “fight for an increase in all funded PhD stipends to at minimum match inflation”, “create scholarships for student refugees and asylum seekers”, and “guarantee affordable campus accommodation for all new postgrad students who want it.”

A manifesto focusing heavily on equal opportunities for postgraduate students at UoN, and many ideas on promoting diversity and the overall wellbeing of postgrad students on campus. River appeals to a wide range of students from different social and financial backgrounds.

Ran Ran:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Act as a bridge between the student and school team
  2. Represent the different perspective of different student groups
  3. Summarise and feedback on student ideas
  4. Ensure decision made by the University are in the best interests of students and are open and transparent

Ran Ran is running for Postgraduate Officer, and as an international postgraduate human resource management student, pledges to provide the link between students and university.

Working to improve the range of perspective and diversity of student groups

Ran’s manifesto boasts responsibilities such as representing their peers at the university’s Learning Community Forum and being a student representative for Kaplan International School. Their recognition that Chinese students, despite making up the majority of international students, tend not to express their opinions voluntarily allows Ran to stand for and to represent these students.

Working to improve the range of perspective and diversity of student groups will be greatly appreciated, along with Ran’s promise to work closely with and support the university when making important decisions for postgraduate students, whilst still ensuring an open and transparent conversation with students.

Despite these excellent points and past experience in bridging the gap between students and university, Ran appears to lack clear goals. Although listening and improving communication will be vital to the role, a concise plan would also be beneficial. Additionally, whilst appealing to many students who do not currently feel represented, there is a danger in appealing only to this niche within the student body. All postgraduate students will need to feel understood by Ran in order for them to be successful.

Yukta Swamy Shivanna Kumara:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Here to listen to your voice
  2. Be a strong advocate for your needs
  3. Work tirelessly to ensure our postgraduate community is recognized, valued, and supported
  4. Deeply committed to improving the experience of all members of our community

Yukta directly addresses her ‘fellow postgraduates’ and presented a personal manifesto to her peers.

Yukta says that together we can create a brighter future for ourselves and future generations of postgraduates.

“Let us stand together, with passion and determination, and create a community we can all be proud of”

Yukhta believes in the power of community.

She is confident that we can achieve great things when we stand united.

“Let us stand together, with passion and determination, and create a community we can all be proud of.”

Editor’s Note: This review was based on a previous version of the candidate’s manifesto, which has subsequently been updated. For a full version please see the SU’s website. Other candidates in this election are: Aditya Sabnis, Min Zhong and Bini.

Hannah Walton-Hughes, Olivia Conroy & Lottie Murray

Featured image courtesy of Lottie Murray. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image. 

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