The Bath Time editors give their personal opinions on this year’s SU election manifestos.
Given that the time of Glynis is soon to be over, candidates for President undoubtedly have the potential to make a huge impact over the next year. Eve Alcock’s manifesto is arguably the most detailed of the three running for President, thankfully avoiding many of the empty buzzword-filled sentences we see far too often. In particular, she is the only candidate to mention that a library extension may very well be possible under a new VC. Moreover, her idea to lobby First Bus for real time GPS views of bus locations would certainly help any of us who are far too drunk to look up the bus timetable. However, her manifesto may contain too many points to be feasible. Cameron Standring’s manifesto made frequent use of puns, making us wonder if we too would run for SU officer if our name fit such a convenient catchphrase. His dedication for mental health definitely reflects a very topical issue on campus. However, his manifesto was the vaguest of the three; although we do appreciate the alleged commitment to Media. Finally, Lester Buxton’s manifesto ideas to get students behind Council elections will indisputably be beneficial in the ongoing struggles between student housing and Council caps. That being said, his point to look for additional space on campus seems a touch too open ended to guarantee concrete results.
Kim Pickett-McAtackney has the double advantage to her manifesto, being both a returning candidate and literally the only person you can currently vote for beyond R.O.N. We’re a big fan of her initiative to create a Sustainability Award for student groups who reduce their environmental impact, even if we suspect that the quantities of the paper you’re reading that we produce may make us ineligible. However, the idea of a Race Equality group app that shows cultural hotspots in Bath seems a little ambitious; given the amount of time and money it takes to develop an app from scratch, would a section on the website not be more plausible?
Andy Galloway clearly already boasts first-hand experience of university sport and its administration. Notable policies of his include the integration of welfare services, particularly through welfare officers on team and exec committees, as well as the arrival of earlier buses to ensure the maximum usage of the STV. Ed Dunkley focuses on issues of accessibility, technology and coaching. A standout idea is the development of a Student Union smart phone app that can be used to access information such as class times at the press of a button; but this may prove to be too ambitious given the budget and time required for such a project. Jake Pitchers is unquestionably the most, let’s say, ‘alternative’ of the sport officer manifestos…we’ll let you make your own mind up on him.
The manifestos for the post of Communities Officer are refreshingly varied, with each showing different priorities and few overlapping ideas. Alisha Lobo’s idea of providing training for media groups on covering Diversity and Inclusion groups is an interesting and sensible proposal. However, she would need to provide more information on if there is openness among students to be housed with elderly residents. One of Francesco Masala’s ideas is to expand the #neverok campaign but that has already been initiated this year under Ben Palmer to include racial discrimination and bullying. It is not made clear enough what the reformation of the student hardship fund to improve access would entail as at the moment students can get information and submit an application on the university website. Although the housing forum would be a great initiative, Zeid’s idea to create yet another forum may not take off among students due to a level of Facebook group fatigue. While this is every Bath students’ dream come true, it is unrealistic that lobbying the council to keep rent prices for private accommodation low will yield outcomes- SU Officers can’t influence the housing market. Creating part time officer posts is possible and a good idea (Loughborough, with a total of 20 executive officers have split up positions in a similar way) but will be a long-term process. It is also unclear from the manifesto whether this position would be paid, in which case this would raise questions around budget. Finally, we can’t help but wonder, given our survey earlier this year on sexual harassment experiences on campus and the overwhelming feedback was that reporting of harassment crimes was not transparent or effective at the University: should a candidate have addressed this?
Both campaigners have picked up on the curriculum change and the need for it to be ‘inclusive’, but on the issue of diversity and inclusion Tamara seems to be more keen. Her very Athenian idea of a “town hall style” of forum with the VC and students every semester is also relevant.The #BackJack campaign focuses on the usual stuff: more study space, increasing use of panopto, louder student voice through open SSLCs. A few detail points do have excellent merit: the second round of unit evaluation after assessment from Jack, learning commons in Oldfield Park and transparency on use of tuition fees from Tamara, 3-week rule for assignment feedback from Jack. Some points are too vaguely mentioned: on student wellbeing, not only does Jack not even mention it, but Tamara speaks of “equipping academics with support”. One sadly highly unrealistic point is the lobby for ending unpaid placements; unfortunately, that would require a cultural corporate change at national level that students are victims of rather than actors of change on the labour market.
Francisco wants to continue the work of the current SU officers to ensure continuity as he understands that things take time. Ultimately, he makes good points for the integration of International students within the SU and societies, lowering bench fees and bettering the proof reading services, he doesn’t tell us how he intends to do this. A lot of hopeful plans but perhaps a little unrealistic. Scott wants to increase study space and make printing cheaper, but doesn’t tell us how he intends to do this. However, the concept of increasing career services and industry-specific workshops is one that could be achieved and that will be of great use to postgraduate students. Jiani wants to make eateries cheaper and more convenient through topping up library cards and then getting 10% off for using a library card to pay. While this is an interesting idea, again, Jiani doesn’t mention how she will integrate this, who will get these library cards. Nonetheless, Jiani does want to create a peer mentoring scheme through Bath Connection to have postgraduate students mentored by alumni, this is an interesting idea (but Bath Connection already do this).