Community Officer Candidates did not appear to be too different from each other in terms of manifestos. Matt Humberstone, current community officer standing for re election is pitted against international student Daniel Murillo from Mexico. The distinction between the tired veteran of the SU and the enthusiastic naivety was clear between the two candidates and set them apart throughout the debate.
Both candidates from the get go placed emphasis on the housing issue and the need to focus on mental health issues facing students. However, when confronted with the question of providing an international men’s day to focus on mental health of males on campus. Murillo agreed while Matt disagreed. Matt stated there was a need to focus on males.
When confronted with the issue of housing, Matt was more prepared in providing an action plan to provide a letting agency feedback system for students to utilise in their search for housing. While Murillo approached the issue with a collaborative effort alongside Bath Spa to increase and improve lobbying efforts. However, this was called out by Matt, who stated that this was already being done. A classic move of the experienced against the inexperienced.
Again on the topic of student carers and parents, Matt appeared to be better versed with dealing with the issue of providing nursery and providing care systems in place for such students, while Murillo was unclear about providing a tangible plan for such students and but stated the need for support to such individuals.
On the fundamental topic of diversity, Murillo agreed the need to have inclusivity awards for every society. However, this was refuted by Matt who stated that the award was not obligatory and stated the need to incorporate PG students and international students into the discussion to better understand the problems and better combat the issue of diversity. This appeared to be a relatively weak response from a standing officer, as no mention was made as to why inclusivity awards are not obligatory in first place.
Again Matt fell short with following point of the SU hardship fund provision given that the SU is a charity. It was clear that this point needed to be looked into more detail, as it appeared to not have been thought through effectively.
For other under represented groups, both candidates made the case for better education and awareness for all, in order to better incorporate groups into other societies. This was also used by Murillo when asked on his policy on PREVENT. Murillo stated that much of the fear is based on misinformation and scare- mongering. However, it was Matt here that shone with the current action of lobbying the police and the provision of an anti- Islamaphobia event to break down barriers.
On the final topic of compulsory consent workshops both candidates said this was not necessary. However here Matt went into further detail than Murillo. There was a need to provide better reporting systems as well as education at the beginning of the year or fresher’s week to better equip students to effectively deal with sexual assault.
Both produced solid performances when placed in the hot seat and appeared to be passionate about running for the role. However the disparity in terms of experience, and as a result education of the different topics was evident and obvious throughout the session, at times for the better, and at others’ for the worse.