The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Exec Elections Hustings Live

The Mancunion liveblogs the unofficial hustings for this year’s Exec Team elections

By and

We’re live at the Students’ Union, covering this year’s unofficial hustings run by: Fossil Free University of Manchester, Free Education MCR, UoM Living Wage Campaign, The Riveters – UMSU Women’s Rights Collective, and Save Our NHS Manchester.

We will be starting with the Activities and Development Officer candidates at 5pm, followed by Campaigns and Citizenship Officer candidates at 5:30pm, Community Officer candidates at 6pm, Diversity Officer at 6:30pm, Education Officer at 7pm, General Secretary at 7:30pm, Wellbeing at 8pm, and finally Women’s Officers candidates will be at 8.30pm.

Liveblogging this event this evening are Marcus Johns, and Charlie Spargo.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20159:10 PM

CS: With the wrapping up of the final manifesto summary, the 2015 hustings come to an end. We have heard from the majority of candidates tonight, speaking on subjects from the NHS and fossil fuels. Conor thanks attending candidates and those who have been present for at least 4 hours.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20159:09 PM

MJ: Hannah: “Three thing I am focusing on: linking up the wellbeing services at the university. To unite student advice, the counselling service and other ones is my goal. I want to set up a directory so that personal tutors can sign up to the right place when they need to and all tutors should go through sensitivity training for mental health issues. I want to train people across the university and the union in understanding mental health and getting out in lectures. My third main point is to fight cuts to the DSO and the DSA—I don’t need to explain why it’s wrong.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20159:08 PM

CS: Bis: “The first issue is the security situation, particularly in areas such as Fallowfield. The university should have its own security services that patrol the area. Also, rent in student halls. The amount of rent you pay isn’t reflected in the quality—also the laundry services is overpriced and should be free with other forms of funding. The Food on Campus is hugely overpriced and this needs to be attended to. In terms of physical and mental wellbeing, there should be more gym services on campus; the ones already present are overpriced and need to be competitive and easily accessible. People should be made more aware of what’s available for mental wellbeing. Vending machines for condoms & contraceptives should be made available in all halls. Being an international and postgrad, there needs to be more representation for these students. In my class I had 2 students who were mothers themselves, and the university did not offer enough support so they could sufficiently care for themselves and their family.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20159:05 PM

MJ: Becky: “My main point is to improve student safety at night, this a huge thing that people are going to want to get on board with. I want people to know that attack alarms are in the advice centre, you just need to go in and grab one. We need to physically give people one though. We need to increase police presence in Fallowfield, despite cuts, and raising public awareness at night as a community. People need to start responding to screams and not ignoring them. Man Met have a drop in counselling service and we should emulate it because there is no waiting period. I have an idea to have a buddy system basically having a student who has a buddy for international students to help them settle into the country. Carry on continuing Rosie’s work in smashing the stigma of mental health issues and increasing awareness and use of nightline—which is an amazing service. We need to advertise sexpression more and get people aware of the clinics, free protection, and other means available to them. We need to defend disabled students from cuts to the DSO. Improving wellbeing rooms so that people can go and chill out and relax.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20159:02 PM

CS: Lucy: “One of my main points is providing a wellbeing website with all the information in one place. At the moment there’s only something on the SU website with information about a taxi service, and this is completely separate from the sport website which has information about the Wellbeing Rooms. It will really help promote services that students don’t know enough about, such as the Counselling Service or Emergeny Funds. Another important point is improving students’ safety. I have helped Rosie set up self-defence classes this year, but this cannot be the only solution. Improving police presence in Fallowfield, for example. I’ve already talked with the Police about handing out personal alarms. Also encouraging healthy eating and affordable exercise classes so students don’t have to spend money on food that’s worse for them.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:58 PM

MJ: Chris: “I’ve got five short points. My main point now is to reverse and maintain the support for disabled students. They are the ones that need the most support and removing it will make an impact and be damaging to the most vulnerable people at this university. I want to work on shortening the communication between student services and the student. The turnaround needs to be much faster and more frequent—not a six week pause. They need to offer you immediate support or offer you interim support. And I will try to reduce to cut down waiting times for university wellbeing services, and set a two week target. When a student does go to a service it might be last minute, the last step, for them to be left out is not fair basically. I wanted to try and organise a dry bar or an alcohol free event that can happen for students who don’t drink. There are students who have had drink problems or don’t drink and they feel like they haven’t got space to go out and enjoy themselves. I want them to be able to choose their night and choose what they want and help me design a night for them. If you know what I mean, I want to start a free shuttle bus especially the females, because of what is going on in Fallowfield. There needs to be a shuttle service from club to door to protect them and make sure they’re protected and safe and getting home in the right manner, yeah? Everyone is entitled to come in.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:54 PM

Questions have finished, so Conor asks candidates to briefly outline their manifestos.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:54 PM

MJ: Bis: “As far as sexual health awareness is concerned I think the main concern is awareness and accessibility. I think we need creative accessibility to encourage people of all backgrounds to be aware. We need flyers and free condom vending machines in halls. That is my opinion on that.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:53 PM

CS: Chris: “I kind of knew that sexual health testing was available because I saw one a few weeks ago in the Atrium. It was out there, but how many people go into places like that? I think it is good that free STI tests and condoms are available. I would use the university Intranet to maybe have a constant banner saying ‘are you aware that free condoms are being given away [here]?’, things that people just can’t miss. There are many different things, perhaps even having an STI week once a semester, so that people can get checked every 2 – 3 months. Constant awareness, constant advice, signposts for them.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:50 PM

MJ: Hannah: “I want to just say how great sex week is. I’ve just been crafting a vagina so I am feeling pretty great about stuff.” An audience member is talking about the garden of vaginas and Hannah says, “I will show you the garden of vaginas. Both in terms of services like this and other services available to students I am so for creative advertising. I think lecturers need to get in on it and support student wellbeing—I had a lecturer last year who opened talking about mental health and it really, really, helped.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:49 PM

CS: Lucy: “Students need to know that the service is available only 5 minutes away from their house. We need to let everyone know that the service is available to all, not just for first years.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:48 PM

CS: Lucy (regarding the Living Wage): “Compared to some of the other issues brought up this is very internal to the University of Manchester. We need as many student voices as possible lobbying. We need to recognise how personal the issue is, and give the victims of this a voice, those who are not paid enough to live. Also to publicly talk about it and shame the university into getting something done.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:48 PM

MJ: Becky: “People don’t know that these services are available and what they have been doing this sex week is really wicked and they’ve been getting people’s attention with giant penises. People need to know more. People know STI testing is important and they come to university expecting more sex. We need to constant remind people not just in freshers’ or sex week but all the time that these provisions are available and also encourage sexpression to have a louder voice.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:47 PM

MJ: The final question of the night is: “Many candidates have put in their manifestos that there should be free condoms and STI tests in their manifestos because there already is this provision in halls, what would you do about it?”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:45 PM

MJ: Hannah: “It’s really important that we acknowledge the effects of not paying the living wage and holding the university to account very very publicly. That’s all I have to say about it.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:45 PM

CS: Becky: “I love the Living Wage campaign. Students really care about staff, and that’s really inspiring. We have to hold the university to account and we can only do that with the backing of students. We need to give students the tools to make a difference, as the wellbeing of staff will influence the wellbeing of the students.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:44 PM

MJ: Chris: “Give it the full backing of the position of the wellbeing officer. Go to people, talk to people, talk to lecturers, to talk to university’s management whenever you get the chance, publicise things, do more research, make Nancy Rothwell aware of the facts and figures of what’s going on, put it out there, maybe get in touch with the university’s newspapers and publicise it. They can all add pressure and ballot, petition, lobby, write letters, supporting strike action and solidarity and support them. Show them that they are recognised, noticed, and valued. One voice doesn’t sound the same as a whole group of voices.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:42 PM

CS: Bis: “It’s very important that a person is earning a decent amount of money for his or her wellbeing. The officer should support this campaign for national recognition and the Wellbeing Officer should fight for workers’ wellbeing.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:41 PM

MJ: The next question regards the living wage accreditation of the University of Manchester.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:41 PM

CS: Bis: “In the situation where we have the fossil fuels, the message should be spread to all students as a whole. I believe as the wellbeing officer I can support other members of the team in facilitating and assisting this movement.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:40 PM

MJ: Becky: “I agree with Hannah, any member of the exec should be backing campaigns like this as a collective and it’s important to show positive things and give people hope. As a team we should back it which makes a massive difference to people who actually have the power over these decisions and making that difference year after year.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:39 PM

CS: Lucy: “The Fossil Free campaign may not seem immediately relevant but in the long term it affects us all. Working with other Exec members and forming a united front to approach the university and gain support on an issue that will affect absolutely everyone.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:39 PM

MJ: Hannah: “The Fossil Free campaign is close to my heart and to assume it’s not relevant is to assume that each exec role is a separate being and not part of the wider team. Part of my role will be to hold the university to account and helping students to follow through and get the university to divest.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:38 PM

CS: Chris: “Yes, it’s a big issue. If your house isn’t sufficiently insulated or you can’t pay your heating bill, that does affect you. Students should not need to think about those basics, they should be covered. The Fossil Free campaign is very important and something we should back, finding out more about it and getting it out to students. Give it to them in chunks, because a small amount of progress will make more and more get on board. When we talk to friends and family, and realise how many people support things like this, this is how we can work towards wellbeing. We need to be warm, safe and secure.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:35 PM

MJ: The next question is: “Do you believe that the fossil free campaign has any relevance to the wellbeing role?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:35 PM

CS: Lucy: “It goes without saying that education should be accessible to everyone. I say probably the most important thing is taking it outside the Union, using a platform such as the NUS as it’s not just an issue for Manchester. I’d definitely work with them on this. Also a platform for students; I’ve been on campaigns in the past practically hijacked by people who just want to demonstrate about something.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:34 PM

MJ: Bis: “I think the idea for free education should be promoted as a more realistic of life. People should be aware of the fact that it can be achieved and it can be realistic. We need to allow more international students to take part in the education movement. I can assure you that if international students support you, then you will have a lot of support.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:33 PM

CS: Chris: “The Free Education campaign is important because education should be accessible for all. At the end of the day we’re all in this together; everybody should be level and opportunities should be equal. I’ve gone to some of the marches, demonstrations and meetings. The Union should be actively supporting and leading, making a nuisance of ourselves to the university. I would give you the tools to join in and campaign or lobby to be heard so that more of us can join together. In terms of mental health as well, free education affects some more than others and people may not realise this, so it must be made relevant and pertinent to people. It seems to be that we’re in a little bubble, but it’s really about education, motivation and empowerment.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:30 PM

MJ: Becky: “I guess it is important to get students on board but as an exec member if you’re there yourself physically as an exec member with the visibility that comes with it then that’s the way to show people that these people representing you will give more of a good impression. So definitely, back the campaign, increase knowledge of students so like throughout the year work with the campaigns officer because it’s obviously more their role but showing more solidarity. With this campaign obviously politicians care about it and we could have a massive impact voting and they need to listen to us.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:29 PM

CS: Hannah: “In terms of how we can win, I feel if anyone knew we’d have won. We certainly need more people standing alongside us in fighting these cuts. Getting the student population more involved is what an Exec must do, that’s what I see my role in that being. Outside the building of the Union too, it’s a great hub but we need to look outside it.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:28 PM

MJ: Next question: “How do you think the student movement can win free education? What is your role in that and what do you think you can do in the next year?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:27 PM

CS: Hannah: “One of their current policies is fighting cuts to rape crisis centres. The Wellbeing Officer must fight against this too. Our current Exec Team is a hardcore campaigning team. We need to make sure that campaigning can happen.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:27 PM

MJ: Becky: “As wellbeing officers, health is our concern. I will be lobbying with Save Our NHS against privatisation in all forms. I will be supporting Mental Health services and boost the campaign as much as I can to prevent privatisation because students do not know how important it is.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:26 PM

CS: Chris: “It’s about the grassroots, working with people on the ground, teaching them how to speak up for themselves. Demonstrations and events will give people the chance to influence the university. Students need to be encouraged to sign up to GPs when they arrive at university, because many don’t know it’s something they must do. People must take an interest in the NHS because it is a part of our future. People who don’t know or think about it believe they are invincible, and people need to think about the right here and right now.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:24 PM

MJ: Bis: “As an international student, I think the NHS is a really cool thing and I would definitely promote the NHS among the international students and promote the existence of the free services that international students might not necessarily be aware of. In many countries we do not have the NHS.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:23 PM

CS: Lucy: “If I was elected, I would work alongside the campaign, giving them the opportunity to promote their campaign. There’s a very strong campaign as there is, so giving them a platform is something we ought to do. Having people from the campaign at stalls would push forward the campaign.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:22 PM

MJ: We’re starting with how each candidate will work with Save Our NHS

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:22 PM

CS: Wellbeing Officer candidates take their seats. Present candidates are Bis Choudhury, Chris Humba, Becky Fox, Lucy Hallam, and Hannah Jewell.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:18 PM

MJ: Ellen: “Self-explanatory ones: more guidance, more affordable accommodation, robust and fair booking system for societies—at the moment they find it difficult and societies should take precedence, we need student consultation for the extension of the union to ensure it is done properly and not for empty space, I want to encourage students to lobby locally—at the moment the labour councillors want to run a campaign in March which is get to know your neighbour and you’ve got John Leech turning up to house parties to make it look like he’s cracking down on them and it’s all just to demonise students.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:16 PM

CS: Tessy: “Firstly, we need to engage everyone. The Exec Team and Union should get out of the bubble they’re in. We should go out and talk to students, not just seen in March. We don’t just want more space for the Union during redevelopment, but better spaces, such as prayer rooms, meditation rooms, flexible rooms. Also to reduce students’ suffering, we need new pots of funding, we have developed relations with alumni this year and I want to explore that.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:15 PM

MJ: Naa: “I had seven but I’m only going to talk about four points. In terms of widening participation there are people like those in this room who take part but those who have no idea what we do and just come into the union for coffee and leave. I want exec surgeries where students can meet with the exec team and really broaden where and how students can talk to me and the rest of the exec team if I was elected. The second is that I mentioned earlier that we need to bring all of the union’s financial resources on offer together and given to fresher’s as soon as possible in welcome week. We need to teach them how to budget and finance. The third is that we need more society space and we need to lobby the university to allow societies to hold events within the university buildings for free. It costs £3000 to hold an event in Whitworth Hall for three hours even if it is beneficial for the university. We need to review the union’s democratic process such as the assembly’s voting processes. It’s not fair democratically and people should be able to make informed decisions it is one of the first things that I would do.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:12 PM

CS: Joe: “We need more liberation officers. Everyone’s experience is different; it’s ridiculous we only have one disability liberation officer, for example. We need to empower students’ democratic control over their education.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:10 PM

MJ: Joe: “It’s really important that we fight things like the charity commission saying that this isn’t relevant to the Students’ Union and I would be willing to take this to court if I had to. It is wrong that they are allowed to administratively intimidate us by dictating what students are and are not interested in. If you’re heavily involved in something like Save Our NHS it can burn you out and we need to support activists to ensure they can get along with their degree at the same time.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:10 PM

Naa: “The role of Gen Sec is to ensure people’s voices aren’t quietened, so people are represented and getting the university to really back the campaign, and all universities that can have some influence—Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds—can access the government and have a real influence.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:08 PM

MJ: Ellen: “I’ve worked with Save Our NHS for about two years now and in terms of the charity commission we have been fighting red tape. The charity commission does not think that it is part of the remit of the students’ union and legally we have every right to have union affiliated societies that have a political opinion despite what they say. I really want to empower students to feel like they can take part in these campaigns.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:07 PM

CS: Tessy: “I think the key is, we’ve seen recently that the existence of societies such as Save Our NHS has been limited significantly. It’s just protection of campaigning and political influence.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:06 PM

MJ: The last question: “How would you envisage working within your remit alongside campaigns such as Save Our NHS?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:06 PM

CS: Tessy: “We need to support direct action by campaigning societies, giving them the power to effectively lobby.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:06 PM

MJ: Ellen: “There’s a few things: support for the activists at grass roots level, training for them, obtaining the relevant research, better relationships with trade unions, a meeting between the university and the staff that don’t receive the living wage. We need to shame the university and as Gen Sec you sit on planning committees and you are able to push for these things.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:05 PM

CS: Naa: “Now that the Union is living wage accredited, and it will be implemented over the summer, it kind of embarrasses the university that they’re a step behind. The living wage is something that shows how socially responsible they are. If we constantly bring up how the living wage comes into things, for example with the Union refurbishment, we can see a change in how things are done.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:04 PM

MJ: Joe: “Basically, we need to keep bringing it to the fore and keep pushing for it. We have a lot of leverage because we can embarrass the university into action and the fact that the union is a living wage employer strengthens our moral situation. The university wants to come across as living wage accredited so the more we point out their hypocrisy, the more we will get done.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:03 PM

CS: The next question, “How would you support the Living Wage campaign to get the university accredited as soon as possible?”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:03 PM

MJ: Naa: “One of the ideas I had in keeping women in mind especially when on things institutional like the board of governors is to specifically think of groups of students when we are looking at specific issues. ‘How does this affect women? BME? LGBT+? It’s mad that we’re scrapping women in science for people in science and we need to increase the amount of diversity in postgraduate study because between undergrad and postgrad the numbers fall drastically. “

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20158:01 PM

CS: Tessy: “I see 2 strategies. Firstly, that places for women in academia continue to exist, the first step. Secondly we need staff support to help women, and students who seek help with these issues, as we at the Union don’t always have the power to deal with these issues.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20158:01 PM

MJ: Joe: “With regards to amplifying the voice of women is definitely part of keeping women in science and expanding schemes like it into other areas to ensure that we don’t have this leaky pipe from undergrad to postgrad study. We need to ensure that women aren’t suffering from more general issues in society like sexism in the workplace and we are seeing more women hired into the university. With regards to these policies it’s important the departments are not really macho environments—you know a lot of people feel quite intimidated working in university environments.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:59 PM

CS: Ellen: “Firstly, to support our Women’s Officer and part-time Women’s liberation officers, something that Jess suffered from this year. The campaign needs to be led by self-defining women, given the power to do what they have to do. ‘Women In Science’ needs to be maintained and extended; why is there a gender gap in postgraduates? Nancy Rothwell said “I had support in my career from other women,” and doesn’t support Women In Science, which is ridiculous.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:58 PM

MJ: The next question is “As Gen Sec, how will you amplify the voices of women’s student and the women’s campaign?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:57 PM

CS: Tessy: “We need to empower our campaigns section, to allow access to the university, so that we can deal with issues that come from there.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:57 PM

MJ: Ellen: “So I think the best way forward is to think about how you can frame and change the conversation. In terms of fossil free, the university says that because we’re investing the university says that they can say to Shell and BP, ‘let’s invest in renewable energy.’ But this just isn’t happening and we need to divest from fossil fuels because this makes a firm statement. The university needs to stop lying about saying that the university has power in these companies to increase renewable energy investment because it just isn’t true.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:56 PM

CS: Joe: “That’s really the idea to go for. This idea that at the end of the day the university’s looking at a big loss. We need to show that the university can have a portfolio of investments; we can be ethical but also make the financial decisions the university craves. It can be hard to get the university to look beyond the ‘2020 vision’.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:55 PM

MJ: Naa: “I think fossil free is interesting because I don’t think the university wants to do much about it because they’re making money. So we need to change the way we’re doing this by making a plan for them, showing them where they can reinvest their money and lay it out to them in a very clear format sot that they can’t say ‘we don’t know what to do.’ We’re working too much in abstract ideas that are not forthcoming.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:54 PM

CS: The next question, “As General Secretary you have access to the university’s highest levels of management. How will you use this to assist the Fossil Free Campaign?”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:54 PM

MJ: Naa: “Focusing more on the short-term what we can do in the next year, the first would be hiring lecturers. To make sure that the lecturers and staff that we hire are from a wider background. If we diversify the lecturers and diversify them, I’ve never been taught by a diverse lecturer. So that would be the first thing. We need to review every department in the terms of free education and ensure that the free education debate and what they can do to help is brought to their attention. Departmentally is the best way forward, students do not apply to the university as a whole but they apply directly to departments and we can feasibly check this. The third thing is to start a student check your finances campaign. This will combine all of the union’s financial assistance packages into one handy package that will be accessibly to all and raise awareness. At an institutional level I want to raise this problem for postgraduates. I’m broker by far as a postgraduate than I was as an undergraduate. My mum sold my house to pay for my masters. It’s the living costs that really bite, to free education we need to ensure that I can live. I have a job that I can’t afford to live on and this feeds into the living wage problem. Tackling these together we can free education.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:50 PM

CS: Joe: “I want to ensure the university covers any shortfall in the DSA. There are also things the university can do; it doesn’t offer any sort of grade waiver for local applicants to encourage students to come. We need to make sure everyone can make it to university, not just pursuing the economic case but also the moral case. This is the right way to do things.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:49 PM

MJ: Ellen: “Like Tessy says supporting direct action, grass routes reeducation campaign, training for activists, ensuring that they have all the right and relevant research. I also want to work on building a better relationship between students and the local council and MPs. Because at the moment in Manchester it’s obvious that MPs don’t give a shit about students. In Manchester at the moment Jeff Smith and John Leech are having a ‘Who can scapegoat students the most’ competition. The hardship fund is too inaccessible, it’s no accessible enough for NHS students or first years who receive fee-waiver bursaries. Talking to the director of the student experience we’re already looking at the accessibility to the hardship fund and I want to follow this up. I want the university to broaden the access agreement. They need to look at postgraduates and widening participation applicants need way more support and they need targets around the BME attainment gap.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:46 PM

CS: Tessy talks about the Free Education movement. “We need to support campaigns that already exist for free education. We need to make a stand and state we support free education, and have people ready to lobby for free education. We need to create direct links between the university and campaigning societies.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:45 PM

CS: Candidates present are Joe, Tessy, Ellen, and Naa.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:44 PM

Education Officer summaries end, and General Secretary candidates take their seats. Conor apologises for being 15 minutes behind, a result of having the Women’s Officer candidate speak early.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:43 PM

The candidates who did not attend hustings are: Joseph Clough, Sid Kanojia, Jordan Paterson, Andrew Robinson, and Abhay Sikri.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:43 PM

MJ: Ilyas: “My first main point on my manifesto is to close the BME attainment gap. It currently stands at 14% in this university. In humanities it is 9%, in life sciences it is 26%. A white person in life sciences is 26% more likely to get a degree than a black person. This university promotes itself as diverse and employing the UK’s first black professor, Arthur Lewis, but this is a disgrace. A lot of BME students do not feel as comfortable talking to their academics because they feel like they cannot relate to them. I want to stand up to international students, each student who does a three year degree roughly pumps in £100000 into the economy. We have students from over 200 countries but once they come here all they get is that they need to register to the police, they need to keep reregistering, they need to attend seminars or face threats, and they face being deported if they can’t find a job because of the stipulations forced upon them. If a law firm wants to employ an international student, they need to justify that they can’t find a home student to take their place and this is abominable. I know so many international students who want to apply for MGIP internships but they are not open to international students. They should allow international students to live in halls for summer internships. The other thing I was strongly considering is that a lot of students’ unions in the country have a BME officer but we only have a diversity officer and I think a BME officer is something that this union and this university officer as a whole will benefit from. I want to increase study spaces across campus, turn buildings open during the holidays into bookable study rooms. The university keeps expanding how many students they take in each year but without expanding the facilities to match it.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:40 PM

A photo from the hustings event, as the Education Officer candidates outline their main goals.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:38 PM

CS: Michael: “More study space. During exam season, they bring out more desks and chairs, before taking them away again. I would totally oppose the ‘Prevent’ scheme, which encourages Islamophobia and hinders academic freedom. Lecturers are sanctioned if they do not stop ‘radicalisation’ of students. Universities should be the bastions of liberalism in our country. No-one has any idea what ‘Prevent’ is. Also, introduction of Living Grants, and end arbitrary course costs. Students can pay upwards of hundreds for books! I hope to work with the Library on this.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:35 PM

CS: Conor thanks the candidates. He asks them to summarise their manifestos.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:35 PM

MJ: Michael: “Yeah, I guess when it comes to Save Our NHS it is a wonderful organisation here at our university. We need to support the NHS reinstatement and reverse privatisation. We will push for NHS education in the curriculum, educating them on the politics of the NHS and whistleblowing within the NHS. People on NHS degrees need to learn how to deal with LGBT+ patients, many doctors have no idea how to talk to trans students and we need to get this into the curriculum. It’s already done in psychology and it needs extending—I would love to do this. I would love to represent Save Our NHS too.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:33 PM

CS: Ilyas: “I know a lot of budding medics in their 3rd or 4th year on placement most of the time. That’s why 90% have said ‘we are struggling’, gone to food banks, and got payday loans that they have soon after regretted. As well as continuing to campaign and mobilise the Hardship Fund needs to be available, so that students can have the financial stability to study what they are passionate about. We should not be hindering that. There are so many programmes set up in the School of Medicine already, such as for LGBTQ students. I will work to work on these campaigns and support minority students.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:31 PM

MJ: The final question is from the Save Our NHS society: “How do you envisage fulfilling your remit working alongside societies such as Save Our NHS?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:31 PM

CS: Ilyas: “I was not massively familiar with the programme until late last year. It seems like something that is extremely important; I have worked before with RoboGals. Engineering lectures still have that horrible ratio; as Michael said it’s ridiculous. We need to get campaigns into schools to encourage girls to apply for science courses. If we can get female students doing Physics, Chemistry, Biology, by doing workshops, they might go to UCAS and the ratio can become more equal.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:30 PM

MJ: Michael: “I want to protect the Women in Science programme from being expanded to men, which is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard in my life. Now, going back to a young age women still in this country, in the 21st century, are still told that science is for boys. I will be pressurising [sic] the university to keep the programme.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:29 PM

CS: The Riveters ask a question about the furthering of the ‘Women In Science’ programme.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:29 PM

MJ: Michael: “Of course I want to pressure the university to change from fossil fuels to more sustainability. BP funds a course at our university and it is an absolute disgrace. The curriculum won’t teach renewable energy alternatives despite the fact that we all know climate change is a serious problem. Many of us will die if we don’t tackle it and it starts with getting our university to tackle renewable energy.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:27 PM

CS: Ilyas: “Absolutely. I think its ridiculous the university can say its socially responsible while investing in fossil fuels. We need to get the university to sign a pledge to reduce fossil fuel investment every year. The Tories say renewable energy makes our countryside ugly, but we need to start investing in the school of atmospheric environmentalism. Our university has a work experience bursary scheme, but students often don’t have the financial backing to go to other countries to learn about alternative forms of energy. It’s not advertised enough. The only way to get fossil free is for students to get involved. If it’s very student-led, with students going and coming back, we can implement it in, maybe, five years.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:25 PM

MJ: The next question is: “Would you be willing to push for greater emphasis on environmentalism and sustainability on relevant courses?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:25 PM

CS: Ilyas: “I am quite passionate about this. I am a Middle-Eastern Studies students, and all our languages except Arabic have been cut. We should offer an Alternative History module through the Interdisciplinary College. All we get taught in our history modules is the same old stuff churned out year-on-year. My degree concentrates on the Middle East but I feel I still learn more about Europe. That’s not what I’m here to learn; I want to push for a more international curriculum. All the ethnic minorities that are at the university, we need to hear more about their history. 90 per cent of nurses have said they need to do double shifts due to financial strains. These are people who want to go into the NHS. They do not have access to the Hardship Funds, because they are funded by the NHS. I will push for all students to be able to access the Hardship Fund. I came from a low socioeconomic background, and when I came to university I was able to access bursaries and scholarships. i understand why people in my area feel left out by university, we need to myth-bust, promoting an access-all-areas principle. You realise when you work with underprivileged children actually how many want to come to university, but don’t know enough about it.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:19 PM

MJ: Michael: “People don’t realise that free education isn’t just for fees but it’s for the curriculum as well. At this university there are nurses and midwives who have turned to food banks and it is simply unacceptable. The curriculum is far too white, cisgendered, and heteronormative, and able-bodied. Everyone needs to be able to learn and be free from marketisation—it needs to move away from being a pipeline into corporations and start being a place of education. We want to prevent the university reducing its bursaries. Many students would have got extra money but didn’t because of the cuts and I want to know how they survived, so I can take it to the university and show them the problems they are causing. They are spending millions on buildings and Nancy Rothwell is taking business class flights on the university’s accounts whilst people are eating at food banks and it is unacceptable.” Micheal’s answer to the question gets a few cheers of “Amen” from the audience.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:19 PM

CS: Michael’s statements about the living wage was met with a few fingerclicks of passionate agreement and “Amen” from the audience.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:17 PM

CS: “How do you think the student population can win free education, and how would your role assist with that?”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:17 PM

MJ: Michael: “I’d like to continue being involved int he campaign next year. We’ve made great progress this year, and the Union’s thankfully joined on. A lot of people don’t realise that the university doesn’t pay the living wage. As Nancy Rothwell says that we do pay all of our employees the living wage, but it’s those that are subcontracted that aren’t paid the living wage. Yet, there are wholly owned subsidiaries of the University of Manchester in which the employees are not paid the living wage.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:15 PM

CS: Ilyas: “The living wage is something I’ve been following. I know the director of social responsibility quite well. it’s been a part of Manchester 2020, I think it’s been a big milestone. I think the Education Officer faces the students, feeds back to the institutions and pushes their interests at every meeting.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:14 PM

MJ: The first question is: “How would you support the University of Manchester living wage campaign?”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:14 PM

MJ: We are now starting the Education Officer candidates Q&A session. Present are Ilyas Nagdee and Michael Spence.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:10 PM

MJ: The candidates that did not attend hustings are: Joseph Clough, Natasha Maria Brooks, Nadir Mohammad, Hasan Mumtaz, and HanSong Pang.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:09 PM

CS: Tanisha’s most up-to-date manifesto is on her Facebook page, while the others’ are on the SU’s website.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:09 PM

MJ: Tanisha: “Primarily just cohesion with different student groups and societies. We can do that through things like Black History Month and LGBT+ history month. I think faith is open overlooked and interfaith is something we need to promote. I want to kickstart training sessions in October with black history month. We need to train them with all the liberations. Free education is really important and we need to engage the community—get them involved in what we’re doing—even if it’s just talking to them. We need to support people with mental health issues and reduce the BME attainment gap. We need to increase the awareness of diversity on campus.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:07 PM

CS: Jenny: “My first and biggest point is raising awareness. I’ve spoken to a lot of people, and it’s surprising how many people don’t know about liberation campaigns. people feel they’re left out, or don’t know how it can affect them. I want to use the months, LGBTQ, Disability, Black History Month. We need workshops, debates. We need a big liberation campaign, especially where people who don’t know how it’s affecting them. With postgrads, I want them to get more involved with union activities; increase career prospects for them, and encourage them to think the Union is a great place where they can get support and representation. People need to get to know the city more, take part in more events. I want to make the BME campaign bigger and better than it’s ever been. Societies should be able to make events together—it’s mainly communication between societies. Also to liberate the curriculum; the work we are doing now is early stages, but if we carry on with that we’ll get our education more about us, getting it more accessible. One thing I was hoping to do was to have a liberation space where liberation officers can work.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:03 PM

MJ: Claudia: “I’ll just give you the headings because there’s a lot in my manifesto. Recognition and respect is a big thing for me. We need more gender neutral toilets and gender neutral titles for those who need them. That includes drop in sessions. For international students, mature students and postgraduates, it’s important because we don’t give them support. And we need to. It’s not too much to ask, they deserve that. They’ve come all this way to do this and we should respect and support them. I’ve already spoken about coalition building a lot. Careers: we need to improve careers support for minorities. We need to increase sexual health support including free testing and awareness about support. I want to run drop-in sessions where people can drop in and outline their problems and I can help them. For disabled students, it’s about access to buildings—some disabled students live in assisted living flats without open access doors. The curriculum needs changing, we need to work with the education officer to promote free education.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20157:01 PM

CS: Conor thanks the candidates and congratulates them on their strong answers. They are asked to summarise their main manifesto points for the audience.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20157:00 PM

MJ: Jenny: “I feel like people need to know the urgency of getting the living wage. The minimum wage is so much lower than the living wage. If you’re on the minimum wage you’re nowhere near having a decent quality of life or a decent place to live. Not everyone’s parents can afford to help them and it’s a struggle. We need to push the university because of the urgency of the situation. No matter what job someone does, we all deserve to live comfortably. Not big glitzy glam, but a comfortable lifestyle. All students know what it is to struggle and we need to show them that it could be them on such a low wage, struggling. We need to stop people feeling like they can’t fight for a living wage. So many people complain that they can’t pay their rent, their phone bill and they’re struggling. And we can fight for this.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:58 PM

CS: Claudia: “This is about awareness raising. Women are obviously massively underpaid, but also those who can’t get work. Trans people, asylum seekers, those who are systematically oppressed. Living wage isn’t even just for those people, but I would work for those people I am chosen to represent. It’s another situation in which people would jump on board if they knew how.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:57 PM

MJ: Tanisha: “Let them know that we’re making changes and lobbying them further—I don’t think intimidates is the right word but I can’t think of anything else—so we need to intimidate the university. We need to show them how marginalised groups are suffering more because of low pay.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:57 PM

CS: Last question, “How would you support the UoM Living Wage campaign to get the living wage for employees as soon as possible?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:56 PM

CS: Jenny adds, “another thing is having quality workshops for the community, going to schools and youth groups and teaching them about liberation areas. Women, BME, LGBTQ, disability. It’s another way of liberating; if we have workshops we can get that back into the curriculum.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:55 PM

MJ: Tanisha answers the question from her perspective, “Within the next year I feel like we should not focus on free education as a university but focus on free education as a community. We’re not going to have a community if the people from schools and colleges don’t come here so I recommend we reach out to them. We need to let them though, that just because the fees have gone up they shouldn’t be put off. There is a big issue with the curriculum but I think that should be second on the agenda, but I think it can be dealt with by diversity training so that people are aware of what they’re actually teaching.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:54 PM

CS: Jenny: “It’s not even just the economic movement in terms of making education free, we need to liberate the curriculum too. We will put something out their letting people know about the whiteness, the cis, the straightness in the curriculum. I would like to push that forward, having more events on it with the Free Education campaign. Get not just students involved but lecturers too, we need to have everybody represented in the curriculum. Even if we come from the same race, we are brought up differently. There are some who don’t know one thing about their history, or where they’re from. Say black history, many would talk about Martin Luther King Jr, or Nelson Mandela, but not a lot about what happened between slavery and now. Also LGBTQ, it would be nice to know more about people from the past in that community, reach out and tell people more. Not just history, but science—black, female scientists or LGBTQ scientists.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:51 PM

MJ: Claudia: “Watching videos on the wordpress blog, especially from UCL and it really spoke to me. This is a race issue. The curriculum is to white. So many people are being excluded from our straight white cis male curriculum. We need to raise awareness because that’s all it takes. People can see this and we can take our ideas, our complaints, and our confrontations to our tutors. I’ve spoken to lecturers already who are completely on board with this—a lot of people are willing to lend their significant successful voices to our project. So that would be one of my main goals, to get academics on board with the broadening of our curriculum.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:49 PM

MJ: A lot of these candidates are agreeing with each other on their methods for better representation, more accessibility in campaigning, and improving university for all.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:49 PM

CS: Claudia: “The environment affect us all, so we’re indebted to the project. Coalition building is part of my manifesto. Loads of liberation groups can help with the campaign. We can sit down with the Fossil Free group and discuss how marketing and agenda can be more accessible to other people. We can bring people together; it’s all coalition building.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:48 PM

MJ: Jenny: “With campaigns such as fossil free, I feel like we need to do much more reaching out to students. Because a lot of students just don’t know what’s going on. We have all these workshops where we talk about what’s going on and we need to encourage student outreach. It’s very important in terms of these campaigns. Not only do they not know but they don’t know how it affects them. We need to tell them how it affects them specifically so that they can say: ‘Yeah it affects me, I need to get on board.’ University has made me realise that I need to stand up for a better environment and not only that but stuff like that.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:47 PM

CS: Tanisha: “Similar to what I said earlier, we need to make students aware. Students who don’t feel they identify with a particular issue won’t act on it. We should let them know how particular issues affect them particularly.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:46 PM

MJ: The next question is from the fossil free society: “How would you engage a wide variety of students in fossil free campaigning?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:46 PM

CS: Jenny: “As liberation officer, I have seen how forums do help. My main thing is to get all liberation groups and see how we can work together. the things that happen affect us all, but once people know how the things that affect women, affect BME, affect the disabled, we can use the platform where we can speak about it to ask societies to help those involved. I don’t think many students know what’s really going on, so we need more outreach to students to let them know who’s involved. People often don’t understand why we do what we do.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:44 PM

MJ: Tanisha: “Primarily one of my goals is to set up a forum. Communicating with the reps to find out what their main goals are, we want to gradually broaden that out to the wider student body. I’ve worked with BME campaigners and I want to work with all the others too.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:43 PM

CS: Claudia: “This is something I talk about a lot. One person can’t cover all these identities, but at the same time that person should be able to represent everybody by talking with liberation groups. I’ve always said I don’t have an agenda over pushing what I identify as. I went to other groups before writing my manifesto, including disability groups and international students, who I can’t speak for.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:42 PM

MJ: The next question is: “How will the candidates ensure that all marginalised groups are represented and not just the ones candidates that the candidates identify with?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:42 PM

CS: Claudia: “The most important thing right now is awareness raising. It also means getting all people involved with educating; I take part in Sexpression, going out to schools to talk about body image, for example. Under the privatisation of the NHS this will be disregarded.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:41 PM

MJ: Tanisha: “We need to reach out to all liberation groups, but a lot of them aren’t even listed on the website. We need to ensure BME, LGBT+, disabled, mature and other groups know what will happen if the NHS is privatised. We fail to tell them how it affects them specifically.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:40 PM

CS: Jenny: “With a campaign such as Save Our NHS, I would like to get all sorts of liberation groups involved with the campaign. Pushing workshops and educations so that people know more about the campaign. I don’t think many people know what’s happening to the NHS—I want to get people from all backgrounds involved. We can get more people protesting, they can see that people from all backgrounds are affected; women, men from other cultures, trans individuals.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:38 PM

MJ: Natasha Maria Brooks is late to hustings and proceedings have begun without her.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:38 PM

MJ: The diversity candidates have taken their seats and are ready to answer questions.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:37 PM

MJ: Whilst we are waiting for the diversity candidates to take their seats, Jess outlines her manifesto. “I want better support for survivors of sexual assault but also making people feel safer on their campus and on their streets. I received messages about women who didn’t want to come to campus because they didn’t feel safe going home in the evenings. I want a campus shuttlebus to take people from campus all through the night working in a concentric pay scheme. They won’t leave until they’re in their house.” An audience member asks: “Will it be mixed sex?” Jess replies, “Yes, it’ll be for everyone.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:35 PM

MJ: Jess question and answer session draws to a close. Candidates who did not attend hustings: Jennifer Jones and Ellis Quinn.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:35 PM

CS: Jess speaks about Save Our NHS, saying “women’s services are being absolutely slashed. Profit needs are being placed above the needs of survivors. With the Vagina Monologues we raised over £1200 for women’s services locally; I’d like to make that a yearly event. Prevent budget cuts from Manchester City Council.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:33 PM

MJ: Jess: “We should be working hard to encourage participation in education, using progressive taxation. But we’re not just talking about economic matters. We want to be free in learning what we want exploring what we want. They’re populated by rich old white cis-men—just look at the reading lists. We need to liberate the curriculum.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:32 PM

MJ: Jess is asked by the free education campaign: “What is your role in free education?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:31 PM

CS: In regards to the Fossil Free campaign’s question about the wider implications on women from fossil fuels investment, Jess Lishak says, “women are the hardest hit by policies like this.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:31 PM

MJ: There has been a slight change in the schedule because the other Women’s Officer candidates haven’t arrived other than Jess Lishak, therefore Jess’ questions will start now instead. The Diversity Officer session will be slightly delayed by this change of plan.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:30 PM

MJ: Candidates who did not take part in hustings: Russell Delvine, and Joseph Clough.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:29 PM

CS: Harriet: “When I was thinking about my manifesto, my motivation was since I am a campaigner, we need to strengthen our power as a campaigning organisation. That’s not to say making people come out and campaign with us, but to go out and support those who are campaigning. We want a community that enables people to go out and campaign. When I say free community I mean free from discrimination, oppression. Firstly, more prayer space on campus—that’s important to me because a Union should be inclusive of its members. Then, safe streets; the reason students are victims of crime is poverty, patriarchy and poor policing. I don’t think students are targeted any more than anyone else, but as the Community Officer meets with police we need support for women’s issues. Another is liberation, citizenship in schools and youth centres. I was in Moss Side a little while ago, and at the end of the talk they said they wanted their youth to be politically empowered. With the ‘liberate our curriculum’ campaign it would be nice to demonstrate the package and build partnership with schools. Continue the union’s policy on ‘oppose and prevent’. More community events, continuing to do more things like that!”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:24 PM

MJ: It’s Ed’s turn to outline their manifesto: “My first one is to pressurise the police into increasing patrols in student areas because the rape rate is unacceptable. Some of my housemates won’t go out at night and that’s just wrong. That would be point number one. Point number two, promote more cycling perhaps Oxford Road cycle routes. I’ve recently had a family member involved in a cycling incident and it’s hit home—they’re fine though. Number three: Make it easier to avoid dodgy landlords. To promote Manchester Student Homes and their rules package, not everyone has signed up to it. Every landlord that is signed up to it needs to promote that they’re with it. We need people to know that landlords who haven’t signed the scheme aren to secure. The fourth one is that I was hoping that all of the exec team can have a drop-in style session. You kind of hear about them in March and then not again until the following March.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:22 PM

CS: Jazz continues, “as first years, you often run too quickly into deciding who to live with. Some universities have put a hold on when you can begin letting properties, so university-endorsed landlords can only let to students after the January exam period. I would look into this, and see how people felt about that. Definitely I would encourage communication between the SU and students, who often don’t know what’s going on. We should make sure students are actually listened to.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:20 PM

MJ: Jazz promotes her manifesto, “I am really actively trying to promote better relations between students and the community. I really feel like we get, as students, a lot of harshness. I’d like to feel really at home here, I feel really really content in Manchester but many people don’t. Many people don’t see it as home anymore because of the tension with locals. I think this is the reason why students are victims of crime. There is not enough communication. We need to get students into local jobs and internships to establish conversation and encourage a nice well-being feeling among everyone with a whole ‘let’s eat cake and rainbows thing.'”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:19 PM

Conor thanks the candidates and asks them to outline their manifesto points for the audience.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:19 PM

MJ: Jazz Le Goff agrees, “It really is an awareness thing. Because the uni isn’t paying the living wage to everyone, it’s something that we need to keep talking about. Especially with all the information coming out about the ‘big wigs’ making all this money. We need to let them know that this isn’t appropriate, with all this going on and yet they’re not paying people the living wage. Just keep saying it!”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:18 PM

CS: Harriet: “It is a case of awareness. I think also there’s room to strengthen relations with trade unions on campus.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:17 PM

MJ: Ed: “How would I support it? I would get as many students aware as possible that there is such a campaign. I’m not involved in these things and so a lot of people I know won’t even know about this. A lot of students care about it and they need this outlet. I would ensure that methods of expression are open. It’s about awareness, people don’t know it’s happening. The more pressure that is put on the university the quicker it will happen. Because it will happen eventually, it’s ridiculous that it hasn’t already happened.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:16 PM

CS: The Living Wage society asks how candidates would support the campaign in demanding the university pay its employees the living wage.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:16 PM

MJ: Ed: “In terms of fees, the first thing we have to do is ensure students vote. Because students don’t vote. In terms of diversifying stuff we need to ensure there are role models from all various groups to go down to schools and stuff and show them that it’s not going to be like that forever and it’s going to be fine and university is a good place for them.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:15 PM

CS: Harriet says “free education is not exclusive to university fees. The economic aspect of education means that demand for free education will lead to government funding and become more democratic. Now, the biggest issue is to build a more inclusive campaigns involving unions such as the NUT, bringing them together and we can learn from them. Not just about fees, but the inclusivity of curriculum content. Why is it that it’s faith groups that are responsible for talking about the Islamic community, for example? At the moment, curriculum is taught from a predominantly white, cis, male perspective, which discourages others from trying to access education. We can encourage students to attend national marches and add to the momentum for free education.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:13 PM

MJ: Jazz: “I think free education is something really important, the way we are going now is increasing tuition fees and decreasing bursaries. We’re encouraging a society separated by class. That’s not what university is about. We need to ensure that we’re bringing people from all over the country for the community of Manchester, we need to show them that there’s not a single type of student. The community needs to know that we’re all different. I guess definitely that not just students alone are going to make the change happen, we could do with some help. We need to talk to people about the wider community, it will affect local children if they want to go to university. We need to be really vocal and ensure that there is good communication between the university and the local community and that we want them to be actively involved.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:11 PM

The next question comes from Free Education MCR.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:10 PM

MJ: Conor, the chair, asks everyone to speak up.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:10 PM

CS: Ed: “We would go through the councils, local residents’ associations. Getting student volunteers to go door-to-door if they have to, to get people to understand the issue and be more aware. There’s a massive issue that not enough people know about; it’s like a pyramid scheme—we get a few people to hear about it and it expands.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:09 PM

MJ: “The university is not a separate thing in Manchester, it brings so much to the city—it should be a part of that. We need to advertise and hold more things to let the community know what we’re involved in. Especially with fossil free because it’s such an important cause,” says Jazz Le Goff.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:08 PM

CS: Harriet: “There’s already lots of stuff going on, such as the Barton Moss campaign. It involves trying to make contact with those people, I guess, getting students to get involved with their actions. Divestment from fossil fuels is something in the interests of the whole community.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:07 PM

MJ: The next question: “How would you engage the wider community in student campaign work like fossil free?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:07 PM

CS: Jazz: “I totally agree. I don’t think universities should penalise people. When students are at home, it’s their time. I think that in no way affects your work at university. You should in no way be punished for having a party, for example. We’re not here to try and force people to follow a certain path and tell them what to do with their lives. We’re here for an education.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:06 PM

MJ: Harriet: “I obviously think no, I think the university should only take role in your off campus behaviour as and when you ask for support. Whether that support is pastoral or in a court case. Your behaviour off campus should have no bearing on your academic performance. The university needs to stop joining with the anti-student rhetoric and start supporting students rather than turning against them.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:05 PM

CS: Ed: “Any off-campus behaviour should be dealt with by the police. It shouldn’t expand beyond its remit.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:04 PM

MJ: The next question: “Should the university be able to punish students for off campus behaviour?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:04 PM

CS: Harriet: “My main course of action is to start to build partnerships with the community. The NHS is a service everyone needs. To support campaigns that are already happening, then those partnerships are really important. I used to campaign for Save Our NHS too!”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:03 PM

MJ: Ed: “Basically, use the connections between students and the community to get as many people involved in campaigns as possible. We’ve got to make sure it’s a sustained effort with everyone.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20156:02 PM

CS: Jazz: “Save Our NHS is vital to our community. The issue should involve both students and the local community. As students we have time and energy, but our resources can be used to fight for things like TTIP. As students we’re not always up on what’s going on, but we can make our voices heard.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20156:01 PM

Next up are the Community candidates. Jazz Le Goff, Harriet Pugh, and Ed Sheriff

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:50 PM

MJ: Candidates who did not attend the hustings: Joseph Clough. The hustings will recommence at 6pm.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:49 PM

CS: Naomi: “My manifesto mainly surrounds the campaign for free education and divestment from fossil fuels. I will also focus on cycling, a great way for students to travel around; perhaps subsidising bicycle purchases, and also publicity for cycling schemes around. I’d also set up campaigning networks and networking events.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:48 PM

MJ: Hannah: “We’ve established national campaigning and I’m really keen to keep that going. Especially in terms of fighting for a socially responsible university. Fight for the bursaries. Fight for the living wage. Stand up for international students. Lobby to protect international students from NHS fees, and hopefully create a campus safe from anti-immigrant rhetoric which infects UK society.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:47 PM

MJ: Javairia: “International students can’t get access to education because of the high fee. Books and stationary should be included in the cost of fees. I want societies to join together into a single campaign to better influence the university and society. I want to collaborate with societies and find out their issues.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:46 PM

CS: Conor thanks the candidates and asks them to outline their manifestos in a few words.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:45 PM

CS: Naomi believes liberation should be at the centre. Issues that affect all people are at issue. We need to raise awareness that liberation affects all campaigns. The importance of setting up caucuses within campaigns need to be brought to everyone’s attention. We need a space in which they can discuss amongst themselves.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:44 PM

Javairia: “I want to integrate with the international societies, international and religious and see what they want. Including raising awareness of the issues affecting them—for example… everything.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:43 PM

MJ: Final question: “How will the candidates support the various liberation campaigns during their time in office and ensure representation of all students?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:43 PM

CS: Hannah would like to make the issue of ‘transparency at the top’ more playful. The fact that Rothwell used her expenses for business class flights is “ludicrous.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:42 PM

MJ: Hannah and Naomi are agreeing with each other and supporting each other on a lot of these issues.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:42 PM

CS: Naomi brings up the Free Education Group who presented Nancy Rothwell with a payday cheque and had a party to highlight the disparities in wealth at the university.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:41 PM

MJ: Hannah: “We need to continue lobbying the university whilst still having a conversation with them. We should go on trips to the 112 accredited living wage employers in the city of Manchester to humiliate the university.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:40 PM

CS: Naomi would like to offer relevant training to campaigners who strive for implementing the living wage.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:40 PM

MJ: The living wage society asks: “How would you support the Manchester Living Wage campaign to get the university living wage accredited as soon as possible?”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:40 PM

CS: Javairia declines to answer the question from the Living Wage society.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:39 PM

CS: Hannah McCarthy wishes to engage more students in the issue of fossil fuel divestment. She wants to break down that university board members have little social responsibility and wants to “smash down” that conversation.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:38 PM

MJ: Javairia: “One of my main points in my manifesto is to promote better intersociety work to encourage divestment from fossil fuels by the university.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:38 PM

MJ: Naomi points to the success at Glasgow University’s divestment in fossil fuels, “the fossil free campaigns are gaining momentum and we need to step up what we’re going. We’ve been demonstrating but we need to engage more with the management of the university as well as publicising, taking direct action and other things.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:37 PM

CS: The question regards the Fossil Free campaign and what it should aim to do.

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:36 PM

CS: Naomi states that her her manifesto includes incorporating more and newer campaigns, particularly national ones such as Save Our NHS. Other universities that also have Save Our NHS campaigns could collaborate with our Students’ Union

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:35 PM

MJ: Hannah has been leader of Save Our NHS this year and believes this will help her work with campaign based societies.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:35 PM

MJ: Javairiah doesn’t answer a question about working with campaigns societies.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:34 PM

MJ: Hannah McCarthy: “The higher education system in the UK reproduces social inequalities in the UK.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:33 PM

MJ: Hannah McCarthy: “I agree with Naomi, we need to fight cuts to bursaries and educate people that these cuts are happening.”

Charlie Spargo 5th March 20155:32 PM

CS: The Campaigns and Citizenship section gets underway. Candidates present are Naomi Wilkins, Hannah McCarthy, and Javairah A. Bilal.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:13 PM

MJ: No questions for Joel Smith from the audience, so Activities and Development wraps up. Candidates who did not attend hustings: Joseph Clough, Astrid Kitchen, Peter Rwatschew, Ramin Taghizada

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:11 PM

MJ: Joel Smith: “I want to start an official graduation ball that’s democratic, cheaper, and the best event possible.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:11 PM

MJ: Joel’s key points in his manifesto: “It’s not that campaigns related, it’s more activities.” “We need a new website and a new app, our website is not fit for purpose. I would like to see an app where people can join societies, send notifications to society members, publish events timetables, and feature Mancunion news, Fuse FM live streams within the app.” “I want to change Welcome Week and reduce the focus on alcohol.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:09 PM

MJ: “We must allow these debates to happen on campus but we cannot allow hate speech to affect our students,” adds Joel Smith.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:08 PM

MJ: “It’s a very dangerous step to say that something can’t speak.” Joel Smith on the no platform campus. “Banning the Charlie Hebdo magazine on campus was a positive thing that we did this year.”

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:07 PM

MJ: Joel is discussing his campaign agains the university’s investments in fossil fuels including campaigning against Shell’s on-campus events.

Marcus Johns 5th March 20155:06 PM

MJ: Joel Smith is the only Activities and Development candidate that has arrived at the hustings.