Photo: Ethan Davies @ The Mancunion.

The Mancunion’s 2019 SU Elections live blog

Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng, a candidate who was banned from campaigning due to allegations of misconduct, has been elected General Secretary of the University of Manchester Students’ Union (SU).

At a dramatic results evening, the position of International Students’ officer also wasn’t announced as a result of the allegations. The hosts Ben Morris and Ted O’Shea from Fuse FM  asked all the candidates running for International Students’ officer to leave the room at the beginning of the night, though it was unclear why at the time. Union officials have told The Mancunion that we expect results for the position to come in tomorrow.

Four candidates who ran together on a ‘slate’ were banned from campaigning in person during the final days of the campaign after some students accused them of snatching their phones and voting for themselves. Some students also told The Mancunion that they were “intimidated” by the candidates. The candidates appealed but the ban was upheld.

In a statement, a Union spokesperson said: “Following a number of complaints about four candidates in the Manchester Students’ Union Elections 2019, the independent Returning Officer reviewed the evidence provided and came to the conclusion that these candidates should be banned from further physical campaigning until the close of polling. The ban took effect at 12 pm on Wednesday 6th March and will end at 5 pm on Thursday 7th March.” 

The other candidates that were banned from campaigning were Dishika Bhalotia for International Student’s Officer, Rana Phool for Postgraduate Officer, and Chaudry Anas Riaz for Activities & Development Officer.

Rhana Phool was also elected as Postgraduate officer. 

7,771 students voted in the 2019 SU elections, a turnout of around 19.4% which is down on last years 19.8%. The SU elections rarely see high turnouts, with previous years recording figures of 16% in 2017 and 28% in 2016. Prior to that, 2015 was a record high of 34.4%.

Another shocking result came as incumbent Education Officer Olivia Meisl was defeated by Chloe Salins. Lizzy Haughton, who was arrested last year, was also re-elected Activites and Development officer by just 39 votes.

Alya Huseyinoglu was elected women’s officer and Adam Haigh won Welfare and Community.

Some candidates expressed disappointment at the underhand tactics used during the campaign. Some of those elected even used their acceptance speeches to thank those who ran a clean campaign.

Dylan Routley, who stood for the position of Welfare and Community officer, told The Mancunion: “As somebody who ran in this election in a separate category this is really disappointing, not only does it undermine the whole point of elections but it diminishes the hard work of so many candidates. [It] also demonstrates a new level of sh*thousery from the SU & NUS [as] the candidates involved were reported several times and received no sanction.”

 

9:19 pm

Josh Sandiford

And that’s it!

That’s it for the night.

It’s been one of the most dramatic and interesting Manchester SU elections in recent memory.

Union officials have told The Mancunion that we expect results for the international students’ officer position to come in tomorrow.

That’s all from us tonight. There will be more updates tomorrow.

Thanks for joining us.

 

 

8:49 pm

Josh Sandiford

Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng for general sec

The biggie, General Secretary has just been announced.

It’s Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng who we understand ran on a slate with candidates reprimanded for misconduct.

The General Secretary has the lead responsibility for the exec team.

8:43 pm

Josh Sandiford

Lizzy Haughton re-elected Activities and Development officer

Lizzy Haughton is re-elected by 39 votes, behind 200 votes going into the last round – a tight one!

A controversial figure, The Mancunion revealed she was arrested last year.

She mentions those who played clean and gets a round of applause during her acceptance speech.

8:37 pm

Josh Sandiford

Rana Phool elected postgraduate officer

Here’s a controversial one. Rana Phool has been elected Postgraduate officer.

We understand he ran on a slate with candidates reprimanded for misconduct during the campaign.

8:16 pm

Josh Sandiford

International Students’ officer not being announced

The Mancunion understands that the SU will not announce an international students’ officer tonight.

More info soon.

8:14 pm

Josh Sandiford

7,771 students voted in the SU elections, down on last year

They’ve announced student turnout for this year’s SU elections.

7,771 students voted, we calculate this to be about 19.4% with an official figure due soon.

Turnout has consistently proved to be a problem in SU elections. In 2018, just 19.8% of students voted and this was amongst the highest in the country.

The SU elections rarely see high turnouts, with previous years recording figures of 16% in 2017 and 28% in 2016. Prior to that, 2015 was a record high of 34.4%.

8:07 pm

Josh Sandiford

Ceremony begins

And we’re off!

Our hosts for the night are Ben Morris and Ted O’Shea from Fuse FM. 

They first ask all candidates running for International Students’ Officer to talk to a union official, we’re not sure what this is about.

Results expected very very soon.

 

 

8:01 pm

Josh Sandiford

Delay

We’re still waiting for things to get going, we were told the ceremony would begin at 7:30…

7:38 pm

Josh Sandiford

‘Fun awards’ cancelled

We’re about to kick off at the awards ceremony with results expected soon.

It’s been a heated campaign at times with the allegations of candidate misconduct but the atmosphere doesn’t seem too tense.

The Mancunion understands that so-called ‘fun awards’ were due to be given out at 19:45 but have now been cancelled. The ‘fun awards’ are typically given out during election results nights.

We’ll bring you the latest on this plus the results when we get them.

Stay tuned.

7:04 pm

Josh Sandiford

Results ceremony to begin in 30 minutes

We’re expecting things to kick off in around 30 minutes time with results expected between 8 pm and 9 pm.

As always, you can find the latest updates here.

5:05 pm

Josh Sandiford

Voting closed

And that’s it! You can no longer vote.

No more megaphones, no more flyers, no more freebies and no more being harassed by candidates on Oxford Road.

Results are expected at 8 pm but don’t go anywhere as we’ll have all the latest here.

 

11:56 am

Ethan Davies

Candidates’ campaign ban upheld

The ban on campaigning for four candidates has been upheld.

In a statement, a Union spokesperson said: “Following a number of complaints about four candidates in the Manchester Students’ Union Elections 2019, the independent Returning Officer reviewed the evidence provided and came to the conclusion that these candidates should be banned from further physical campaigning until the close of polling. The ban took effect at 12pm on Wednesday 6th March and will end at 5pm on Thursday 7th March.

“The four candidates appealed in accordance with the elections bye-law of the Union constitution and a panel of three independent adjudicators was convened at 6pm on Wednesday 6th March. The panel unanimously upheld the Returning Officer’s decision and the candidates remain prohibited from physically campaigning until the close of polls.

“The returning officer has been clear that the sanctity of a private ballot is paramount and will take action to ensure this is the case. The candidates are still able to update social media, but not campaign verbally or physically towards voters.

The candidates banned from campaigning are: Kwame Kwarteng for General Secretary, Dishika Bhalotia for International Student’s Officer, Rana Phool for Postgraduate Officer, and Chaudry Anas Riaz for Activities & Development Officer.”

The Mancunion understands that the ban does not include campaigning online.

11:12 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Lizzy Haughton

The position you’re standing for: Activites and Development officer

Degree and course: Currently Activites and Development officer

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

If elected, my number one goal would be to make the Union even more sustainable!

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My vision for the role would be to be to help develop students to become inspirational beyond just their degree, by encouraging them to collaborate with the University, Union, and other external organisations to create amazing events and activities on a broad range of relevant topics.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I think often the Union talks the talk but doesn’t often walk the walk on many procedural issues. I will help to improve that by looking closely at the current systems in place to deal with student concerns, such as the complaints process, and the working environment of societies, and offer free training for all societies on issues like sustainable development, mental health awareness, sponsorship, event management and loads more, to deal with some of these issues.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I think the current Exec team have gone above and beyond on many issues that arose at the beginning of the year, and have dealt well with certain obstacles really well, especially in the face of adverse criticism from the media.

I think they have also promised more than they could have reasonably achieved on certain issues, for example, the promised joint mental health campaign. However, there are still 4 months of the year left and I have high hopes for them, as they have recognised the barriers stopping them from achieving such issues and are working on ways to always put students first in anything they do, individually or as a team.

11:10 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Ayla Huseyinoglu

The position you’re standing for: Women’s officer

Degree and course: BA Politics and Modern History

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

If elected as Women’s Officer, I would have several main goals (including cheaper/ free sanitary products, 5k runs for women and more safe spaces).

However, if I had to pick the main one it would be to introduce regular discussions on gender equality that all students (who wish to) can attend and have their voices heard. These would be informal and relaxed so students feel as able as possible to have their voices heard about anything they feel needs attention in the realms of gender equality. I think it’s really important to make students feel like they have the opportunity to input into the Student Union’s decisions around gender equality.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

I believe in equality between all genders and I want everyone on campus to feel like they have their gender represented sufficiently within the Student’s Union. This is one of the reasons why I also want to open up discussion about the increased representation of LGBTQ+ students on future Exec teams.

I want to make women feel safer and more secure, which is why I want to introduce monthly 5k runs for self-identifying women. As someone who enjoys running myself, I feel that I would much rather run in a group in order to feel safer on the streets- unfortunately, sexism still exists and I want to do all I can to counteract this and make women feel safer.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

One of the main things that I believe the SU could do better in is providing students who have periods with cheaper, more accessible sanitary products. Every month I am still shocked at the amount I have to pay for basic products. The SU’s job is to work to pursue the interests of students and having a period should not be something that students should have to worry about- the current situation with the prices of sanitary products does the opposite of ensuring equality between people who have periods and people who don’t.

If elected as Women’s Officer, I want to install donation points for sanitary products across campus, so people can donate to these and I will then arrange for students who need them to be able to collect the donations.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I think the current exec team has improved student welfare.

Sara Heddi’s run as Women’s Officer has seen Reclaim the Night become better than ever, being present at the march on 21st February was so empowering and to see so many people turn up to support such an important and valuable cause proved that more people than ever are now seeing gender equality as something worth pursuing.

I think the current exec team has made strides in inclusivity and accessibility. Representation of LGBTQ+ students has improved but there is still a way to go. Overall though, I think students at Manchester are lucky to have such a devoted exec team and I hope that if elected as Women’s Officer I will be able to continue and improve on this.

11:07 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Maryam Afghani

The position you’re standing for: International students’ officer

Degree and course: Zoology Masters

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal would be to work as a team member and coordinator of the Students’ Union. I will also try to make campaigns to support my studies and to support international students.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My main vision is to provide better communication among students and the Union. I will try to show ways for students for improving their confidence to represent themselves internally and on an external level to polish their skills. For these and related priorities I can make such policies with the permission of authority.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I think the Union is a very flexible place for students to provide educational facilities. I will make new plans to help student union to show more comfort zone and holistic approach for students to solve their issues quickly in a much easier way. I will work to make the Union more acceptable to solve student problem of every level.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I think the current exec team is participating in its role well where possible to facilitate student. Although there are spaces to include professionals in the team. Coordination is good and by time to time union working could be made applicable in all domains including big and small policies.

11:03 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Sara Khan

The position you’re standing for: Liberation and Access officer

Degree and course: BA English Literature

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

It’s difficult to pick one because Liberation and Access is such a wide remit. However, I would have to say my number one priority would be to build a sustainable campaign to democratise and decolonise the University, one that will encourage students and staff to work closely together to build long term strategies long after Exec officers come and go. I think that students are increasingly realising that the issues we face on the daily are shaped by deep-rooted institutional problems with the organisation and structure of the University – and this campaign would seek to tackle that.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

The initiative that I’ve outlined above is definitely a big one, but another vision I have for this campus is to make it work for the most vulnerable of students. This means gender-neutral toilets in every building, it means reviewing our digital and face-to-face teaching and learning, it means creating a language and culture across sports, careers, mental health, and every aspect of student life that is self-reflective and strives to be as inclusive as possible. One of my main manifesto points centres around political education for exactly this reason – we need to push for a change in culture.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

A huge area is accessibility, I think. While the building has some really great features that put it ahead of anywhere else on campus (a safe space, a well-fitted prayer space, gender-neutral toilets on two floors), it still has a long way to go. Doorways, the Helpdesk, existing disabled toilets, and pretty much the entire ground floor are not wheelchair accessible; food and drink offerings are too expensive; the layout and colour scheme is difficult to navigate for people with colourblindness, dyslexia and more. I’ve been raising these concerns during my year in office and would ensure that by 2020 the building and website are well on their way to working for those who need it most. I’d want to integrate this with accessibility training for staff teams so that we have a culture of awareness and pro-activeness in the future.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

As a current officer campaigning for re-election, I feel a little strange answering this one! The truth is that we have a huge, diverse student population, with an equally large range of needs, and it’s tough to meet them all. However, I think a lot of us feel that the way the Students’ Union works can be very insular. The organisation is in a tricky position, of course, having close ties with the University as well as aiming to lobby on students’ behalf, but I think that at the end of the day we should always be putting students first, and being more of a genuinely democratic, student-led organisation.

11:01 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Dylan Routley

The position you’re standing for: Welfare and community officer

Degree and course: Politics and Modern History

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

If I’m elected to the position of Welfare & Community Officer my number one goal would be to make sure that Greater Manchester’s new centre for student mental health is correctly advertised to students.

I will combine this with the creation of a social media platform and message board in which students who have been victims of traumatic experiences, such as theft, assault or rogue landlords, can lodge their experiences. This can then, in turn, be viewed by student services, offering specialised help to those that need it.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My vision for the role is to be a strong voice for the health and well-being of my fellow students. I will make sure the university and the student union do more to protect our students through increasing nighttime patrols of Withington, Rusholme and Fallowfield.

I will also dedicate time to ensuring the university spend more on subsidised access to sports and art facilities for students, which have been proven to have positive effects on both physical and mental well-being. 

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

Overall, I believe the student’s union has done much good for students in Manchester both currently and historically. However, I do feel the student union could do a lot more in ensuring that food on campus in the university is focussed more on affordability and nutritional value for students, rather than profitability for the university and its business partners.

To overcome this issue I would look to pass a motion that anybody serving food on university premises must be able to provide at least one hot meal option for £5 or less.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I would like to start by firstly thanking the current exec team for the hard work they’ve put in over the last year into making the university a better place for students.

I think the current exec team have done extremely well in lots of areas, improving student safety and well being. I think initiatives of ‘Speak Up! Stand Up!’ and the long-running ‘Reclaim The Night’ March have been extremely effective in raising awareness and combating prejudice experienced by women and minorities in Manchester and beyond.

As Welfare & Community Officer, I would look to further advertise these schemes across the student body. I’d also like to personally thank the current Welfare & Community Officer Deej Malik-Johnson for his service. Deej’s initiative, with the help of others, in creating an executive officer to deal explicitly with the concerns of international students is essential in the union, engaging with students who can often feel left out, especially with the tirade of issues post-Brexit. I would look to pass a similar motion creating an executive officer to deal specifically with the problem of Student Mental Health.

10:57 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Daz Skubich

The position you’re standing for: Welfare and community officer

Degree and course: BA English Language

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

Although I am passionate about all of my manifesto points, I think my biggest goal would be to improve the standards of student accommodation in Manchester. This covers a whole range of things – LGBTQ+ specific halls, disability provision in halls and private properties, a support group for those affected by burglaries just to name a few.

I would love to completely re-do the Manchester Student Homes list of landlords to check that they really are providing safe, affordable and comfortable housing for our community. I have been the victim of uncaring landlords and I truly believe that it is every student’s right to have a safe home to go back to after university.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

As Welfare and Community is technically a new role, I feel like there are many directions in which I could take it. I want to bring my background in liberation campaigns to the welfare and community remit, meaning more direct action and more radical change.

I care deeply about the lives of all students at our university and in the wider community, and I love Manchester dearly.

I want to make UoM a place where students know they will not only get an amazing education, but they will be well looked after and have the opportunity to interact with the local community.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I believe that the Union does a generally good job of looking after students but I do believe they can take it that one step further.

Our mental health campaigns for example – we always focus on anxiety and depression (which are of course important, I should know as I have both of them) but we never really address the ‘scarier’ mental illnesses. Where’s the support for people with eating disorders? Where’s the information on BPD and PTSD?

I want to focus on the aspects of welfare less talked about by the Union and raise them to the forefront. This means campaigns on mental health support, working with the Disabled Students’ Campaign to provide information about physical disabilities and increasing knowledge and support for trans students looking to undergo medical transition.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I think the current exec team have done incredibly well considering the constant roadblocks and negative press attention sent their way.

I am particularly impressed with the Liberation and Access Officer, as due to her name being associated with certain Senate policies, and her status as a queer Muslim woman of colour, she has faced the brunt of all the negative backlash from the student body and national press. Yet she has run incredible campaigns for Black History Month and LGBTQ+ History Month!

However, of course, no Exec team is perfect. I feel that the Exec perhaps need to think more about the intersectionality of their campaigns. For example, the Education and International officers working together to make provisions for international students who may be affected by Brexit midway through their studies. Or the Women’s officer working with the Liberation and Access officer and LGBTQ+ and Trans officers to work on trans inclusion in the women’s campaign.

10:53 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng

The position you’re standing for: General Secretary

Degree and course: MSc International Development: Globalisation Trade and Industry

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal will be to build a strong executive team whose individual goals will be consolidated into a team goal and pursued as a team for the benefits of students.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My vision as the General Secretary is to see students feeling more comfortable on campus and accomplished when graduating.

The main building blocks in of this vision lie on my readiness to lead the executive team to:

  • work towards reducing students cost of living;
  • market students even before they graduate;
  • increase SU’s engagement with students to know and address more of their concerns;
  • introduce a lot more annual events that encourage friendship, cultural exchange and unearth talents.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

The Union has not let students down. Every year and the kind of challenge the Union faces that may hinder their ability to meet all of the students’ expectations.

That is why, when elected, my team and I will continue the good work they did by increasing our engagement with students (Bachelors, Masters, PhD)  and seek new ideas from them and collate their concerns using mediums like online and street surveys with students, aside from the meetings we will have with hall executives, societies, class reps, etc.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

The current executive team has done an incredible job.

  • I especially liked how stood against the issues of theft and harassment that our fellow students residing in Fallowfield were facing.
  • Again, their campaign for better buses for students show how they cared about our comfort and safety.

10:49 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Chloe Salins

The position you’re standing for: Education officer

Degree and course: BSc (Hons) Psychology

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal would be to ensure there is a clearer outline for staff and students to follow to access mental health support.

Through this, I want to promote the services available such as Nightline, the Counselling Service, and the mindfulness sessions run through mylearningessentials.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

I want to make changes that carry on past my role, as a student, I have helped to implement change throughout my degree and I want to carry on this work. I’m passionate about student representatives and the effectiveness of small group teaching and my vision for education officer is to push for further support on this.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

think students struggle to feel connected to the Union. As a student representative myself, I often feel like I don’t represent the Union. I want to improve this and create a community for students, through allowing for more student representatives and to help student representatives network and meet each other.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I think the current exec team have done great in boosting the Union. With Reclaim the night, the re-design of the student rep hub, and integrating North Campus into everyday University Life. The exec team have done a lot which helps students feel more connected to the Students Union and general University Life.

10:48 am

Ethan Davies

Turnout update

As accusations of candidate wrongdoing continue to fly around on social media, Union data analysts have provided another turnout update.

6,232 students have voted so far, representing 14.5% turnout. In total, 24,487 votes have been cast, meaning each voter has cast 3.91 votes on average.
George Kenyon still leads the way in the Halls’ race with 32.3% turnout, with Ashburne Hall coming in a close second on 30.3%.
Liberty Point and Wright Robinson are tied in last place with just 18% of their residents going to the polls so far.
Voting closes at 5pm today and results are expected around 8pm.

10:47 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Sophie Stockwell

The position you’re standing for: Women’s officer

Degree and course: BA (Hons) History

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My ultimate goal as the university’s woman’s officer would be to prepare all our amazing female students for the world beyond our years in Manchester, increase our safe spaces throughout our student areas and create an unashamedly female zone within our Students Union offering advice and support in times of vulnerability! 

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

If in office, I would aim to strengthen the recognition of the role of Woman’s officer, as I feel many female students don’t know that there is a representative working explicitly in their interest within the Union. I would also like to see the role broadened to work more inclusively with the wider Manchester community, using links with not only the council but also other Manchester universities and charitable organisations to really make a sustained impact on life for Women on Manchester’s streets!

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I believe the Union lets many female students down in times of vulnerability, whether that be through sexual assault, abusive relationships or the emotional strain of experiences such as abortion.

I feel many of these issues still hold an air of taboo and in-turn I would work to make the Union more proactive in breaking the stigma around many of these female issues.

I also believe, as students, the Union fails to prepare us for life beyond our years at university, with female students unaware of how to effectively deal with issues such as workplace discrimination and sexual harassment once they finish their time here in Manchester. Hence, I would like to establish workshops, talks and events to prepare our female students for life within a patriarchal workplace.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I believe that the current Woman’s Officer, Sara Heddi, has done an incredible job this year along with the rest of the Exec Team.

Just attending this year’s Reclaim the Night march, with its amazing turnout, shows just how much more attention Sara has brought to the role of Woman’s officer, and her speech was impassioned and called for real, palpable change.

The establishment of new campaigns for the survivors of sexual assault is also something I look up to and would love to see not only continued but enhanced in the year to come!

10:43 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Jordan Vincent

The position you’re standing for: Activities and Development officer

Degree and course: BA Philosophy

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

I want to put the student into the Student’s Union. Currently, students seem alienated from the goings-on of the Union and thus get on with their university lives without much care for involvement in what goes on around that.

I will address the SU’s programme of events to improve the general feeling of inclusion and university life beyond studies. The majority will leave their lectures and head straight home or make plans which don’t involve what we have at our fingertips. Student downtime is so important, and so I want to introduce regular events which can allow students to make the most of their relaxation periods.

The SU can become a host of activities (such as film screenings, live music, yoga sessions, cocktail classes…) which can bring together friends at the end of a long day. Beyond this new weekly programme, I want to make the SU more of a destination for nights out. Too much focus is put on Pangea (which most only go to once) when there is a huge opportunity for regular club nights which centre around a music genre of students’ fancy. We shouldn’t have to feel obliged to head into the city. The SU is more than capable of giving students a good time, and I want to make that first move.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

The crucial role of any activities officer is to actualise what students, both as individuals and as part of societies, want. It may not always stand fast to student groups exactly what it is that they want from the Students’ Union, and so it is down to the Union to make those decisions for them and with them as their primary interest. This can involve working out the activities of societies over the year: what they’re aiming towards and how this will happen in terms of their events, and where the SU can help there.

I will work alongside both student groups and the activities and events teams to transform the image which students currently have of the SU into a more student-focused institution. There is presently a sense of the SU as a mere ‘place’, and not somewhere which strikes students as a destination for how they want to spend their time.

There are considerably more events and activities throughout the year than there used to be, but there is no particular structure and tone in place which represents the SU as fulfilling what students actually want to be doing. My role will be to research and actualize events which students are keen to attend, and from here evolve the SU’s online and physical presence as a venue which is there for its students.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

The main area where the Students’ Union has let its students down is that it doesn’t reflect its name as much as it should. The whole point of the institution is to unite students by being the beating heart of life on campus. Yes, it’s all new and pretty now, and yes, there are some pretty decent events now and then. But all of this doesn’t put the day-to-day student life as its priority.

So many events are already hosted by the huge variety of societies here, but there is little attention given by the Union to promote these effectively and make them as successful as possible. I think this is a huge shame considering the work that gets put into these. I want to work with societies to make their current aims actualised fully, and to delve into the possibilities of them getting involved in even more which reflects what they’re all about.

I want students here to be proud of their Union and to see it as representing their wants and needs. We should be hosting far more national events, which student groups currently have to travel to the majority of. Very few people go to the Students’ Union because it is the Students’ Union. It may be conveniently placed and do cheap pints, but there is so much more that can be done. At the end of a working day and week, the SU can host activities both alongside societies and by itself. It’s a tough life being a student, and the SU should be there as the one part of the university which can help ease stress and enhance downtime.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

The current exec team have by no means ‘let students down’. Some very solid foundations have been laid. I think what the SU stands for generally is spot on. As a Union, there is a lot of care and consideration for the wellbeing of students in general as well as recognising issues concerning equality and discrimination.

To show the above, there is a lot of opportunity for campaigning and events which represent the priorities and concerns of students. Through all of this, it is clear that the Union is capable of a lot. As a university, we have a lot of influence and the means to make a real difference. This past year has seen plenty of influential activities and marketing which prove an empathetic understanding of the surrounding.

We are hugely fortunate to be part of such a great university, and the Union is very much at the centre of our representation to the rest of the country and world. I think there is opportunity there to involve each and every student far more in the goings-on of the Union. There should be no feeling of exclusivity or alienation, and I believe that I can work with what the Union already does and what it has the means to offer to make it the best it can be in terms of giving students the best experience possible.

10:40 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Sarah Brown

The position you’re standing for: Postgraduate officer

Degree and course: Geography PhD

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal is creating university-wide policies on postgrad teaching assistant (TA) employment. There are currently serious ongoing issues around contracts, delayed payments, and workloads which has impacts on student wellbeing and ability to focus on their degrees.

Postgrad TAs contribute enormously to the world-class education at Manchester and it is time we were treated fairly. Check out brownslblog.wordpress.com for more info!

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

The role is new for this year so its a really exciting opportunity to define the role ourselves. My vision for this role is to be accessible to the Postgrad community and really listen to your opinions, finding out about your experiences and using this to create positive change.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I think the Union can appear detached from the student community, especially the Postgrad community. The SU doesn’t always have to be about fresher parties or social campaigning (although these are obviously excellent and very important!), it can also be about making day-to-day uni life memorable, valuable, and most importantly enjoyable.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

If I am very honest, I have no idea how they have done because they don’t seem to have told us about it!

I have no doubt they worked incredibly hard to make the UoM student experience excellent but their efforts haven’t been effectively communicated.

The SU generally is good at engaging with students but I’d like to see my exec team really listening and reporting to the student community as well.

10:38 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Jiaying Jin

The position you’re standing for: International students’ officer

Degree and course: MA Education (International)

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

Let all international student feel a sense of belonging at the university.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

More sounds from international students, more support for international students.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

Some international students are afraid to join English-speaking environments.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

Well done. But more support for international students is important. The new international position is here!

10:35 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Nel Dissanayake


The position you’re standing for: International students’ officer

Degree and course: BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal with this role is and will always be to give a more prominent voice to international students within the system. To stand on the inside on behalf of them; stand up for them, their mental health, the language and cultural barriers and the shared burden of high tuition fees and lack of job opportunities.

I have hopes of easing their integration into this society without losing or compromising their authentic self.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

I’m hoping to stay as realistic as possible with my goals but they’re not small.

I could promise the world to my voters but I’m not going to be able to give them that. My vision is to create a safe space for character building in all international students; as the next step for better opportunities.

University should be a time of self-actualisation and growth for everyone; so that when opportunities are presented, they are their most able self to go after them.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I think that there is still a long way to go for adequate international students’ representation by the SU.

As a president of a cultural society, I have experience working with the SU directly and specifically know where services can be improved to promote international societies’ integration and the rich cultural experience they have to offer.

The university has a very unique opportunity to celebrate the rest of the world on their doorstep and I believe that more should be done to live up to this potential.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

Collectively, they have done a great job in moving the SU forward! On the surface, it seems to be done with ease but I know that a lot of hurdles had to be overcome to achieve what they have.

I want to especially thank Riddi Viswanathan for pioneering the position of International Students’ Officer and giving the international students a voice within the SU, we all really appreciate your tireless efforts!

9:46 am

Josh Sandiford

Update on suspended candidates

After we reported that four candidates had been suspended from campaigning yesterday, another Uomlove post went up last night.

The anonymous Facebook page is where the allegations of candidate rule-breaking first surfaced.

The post contains what appears to be an email from the Deputy Returning Officer – who isn’t a part of Manchester SU – saying candidates have been ‘severely reprimanded and given a final warning’.

It’s not clear whether or not the email was received before the candidates were suspended or who it is from specifically.

The Manchester Tab also has a quote from Stefanie Hartley, the Deputy Returning Officer for the SU elections. She told them: “All we can confirm at this stage is that four students have been sanctioned but not disqualified.

“The case has now gone to appeal in accordance with our elections bylaws and so we will not be able to give any further updates until we know the outcome of that appeal. This is likely to be tomorrow morning.”

We’ll be here for the rest of the day to update you on the elections, including the results tonight.  Remember that voting closes at 5 pm with results expected at 8.

5:50 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Alyah Saltiga

The position you’re standing for: General Secretary

Degree and course: Biochemistry

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal is to reduce the financial pressures of being a student. Being under financial stress can have a negative impact on our mental health and many students are having to work part-time jobs. This can negatively affect our performance in our degrees and I want to change that.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

I will use this platform to advocate and make changes on the issues that are important to students as well as the issues that I feel passionate about (e.g. tuition fees and our environmental impact).

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I think that the Students’ Union needs to be more vocal about the help services that they provide. Many students feel like they are alone in their struggles and are unaware of the help that the SU can provide. I will make sure that students are aware of the services that the SU provides, provide a safe place for them to discuss any issues that they have as well as encourage them to be more vocal about their issues.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I think that the current exec team have been very influential and have definitely made some positive changes including setting up a zero-waste SU shop. However, there is always more that can be done.

5:50 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Ruth Fernandes

The position you’re standing for: Postgraduate officer

Degree and course: MSc Organisational Psychology

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

As the Postgraduate role is newly established at the Students’ Union, my main goal is to understand the postgraduate issues and experiences, whether it be a taught course, research or a PhD course. Everyone’s voice is important at this level of education (including undergraduates!), hence I want to provide my services and my expertise to work on the current issues making sure the efforts to improve our students’ education experiences are well-informed.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My vision for the postgraduate officer role includes helping students in three universal areas: Educational support, Social support with University engagement, and Health support. Furthermore, specific issues will be targeted by gaining an understanding of issues within each faculty and degree, with efforts to work towards them. The vision does not last till the end of my tenure, but extends to ensure that these efforts are carried onward to future officers, as the experiences and issues of our students are dynamic and constantly changing. Thus, creating a strong foundation of the postgraduate voice is the ultimate goal.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I think the Students’ Union have done amazingly with regards to giving students more opportunities and providing support from an employability perspective.

A concern which is also an area of opportunity for the Union is to engage more students, especially postgraduate students within its activities by understanding the life of postgraduates. This is why this role excites me! I would work with the Union to know what postgraduates want and provide them with support to ensure a well-rounded university experience. 

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

have been at the University for 5 months now and have seen a lot happening than I could ever imagine.

Working in the SU as a researcher, I appreciate all the exec team have done: creating successful events, getting our name out there from an international perspective, and ensuring students have a good educational and social experience at University.

I am honoured to be part of the Students’ Union, assisting the exec team in research and seeing their efforts, which inspired me to stand for this role and continue in their efforts.

5:49 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Stephen Smallman

The position you’re standing for: Postgraduate officer

Degree and course: MA International Relations (Part-time)

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

I want to support commuter students and distance learners, lots of PostGrads (and undergrads for that matter) are working alongside their degrees, have families and other commitments.

They’re not always on campus and feel excluded from Union/University activity. I want to change this.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

I will listen to all students, especially postgrads, and identify what they would like us to do at an Exec team. It’s all well and good building hubs and putting on events we think will help, but it’s all money down the drain if students don’t want them.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

What is really being done to tackle the BAME attainment gap? I mean, seriously? It’s egregious and needs to be fought head-on.

Also, where are the societies and sports provisions for PostGrads?

People acknowledge the wellbeing crisis but what is being done to help build authentic communities for students to feel a part of to support their mental health? 

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

Atrociously, there are no dogs on any of their photos on the website. Not even puppy!

5:49 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Emilia Jenkins

The position you’re standing for: Women’s Officer

Degree and course: Classical studies with Japanese

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal is absolutely to carry on with the work around sexual assault I’ve done so far and expand it as much as I can.

I’m one of the Part-Time Women’s Officers this year, and so far I’ve been setting up projects like Survivors Unite (a student-led support group for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence), and The H.O.P.E. Project (an education campaign about what to do after sexual assault).

You can find out more about both on Facebook @SurvivorsUniteManchester and @H.O.P.E.ProjectManchester, where I also have relevant resources.

I want to carry on this work and make it a bigger part of university support systems and expand this into support for domestic violence and physical assault survivors. There’s so much the university can and should be doing, but there’s simply isn’t a dialogue about these topics right now; there’s just such a taboo about it. We don’t have a conversation going right now, but we really should.

Why don’t we talk about it? Why should I be nervous about saying that I’m a sexual assault survivor, when it’s nothing to be ashamed of? I want to open up this dialogue and create better, desperately needed services for our student community. So come on, Let’s Talk About It!

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

I’d like to work closely with the student body to make sure that the resources I make are suited to the needs of students. I want to listen to them and work with them so that the students who want to, can help to shape the future of the university’s resources.

I also want to carry on with my education efforts, as I mentioned above, and I want to represent Manchester SU on a national level. We’re the second biggest SU in the country, and our events like Reclaim the Night are some of the biggest in UK SU’s, and the initiatives I’ve launched this year are nationally pioneering projects.

I’d like to see Manchester be a leader for Women’s Officers throughout the country, and I think that I can lead us to that goal. Besides, I’ve already started a public, national network for women’s officers so you can check out what people are doing all over the country: now-us.net!

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I’ve mentioned already that my goal is to have greater contact with the student body, and I think this is because sometimes the SU can be quite closed off to most of the student body.

A lot of students spend all their time in North Campus, don’t have social media, or might not go to the SU very often, and in that case, it can be quite difficult to interact with them.

But I aim to improve this by pledging at least 1-2 hours a week of a drop in session in a well-advertised location so that students can come and talk to me about anything they’d like: ideas, worries, personal issues, you name it!

I also aim to be very responsible with emails and messages, since (like I mentioned), I’m a sexual assault survivors myself so I suppose I really know how it can feel. Ultimately, I just want to work with as many students as show interest so that I can give something back to a student body that will really value it.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I think that the current exec team have done great!

Sara’s Reclaim the Night was amazing and had unprecedented levels of turnout; the Better Buses campaign is so great, and Olivia’s been doing some wonderful stuff over in education!

But that being said, there’s always a little room for improvement. Personally, I’d love to see a public, joint project between all of the exec team. It’d be nice to see so many people passionate about so many different things working to pour all their expertise into one, joint result.

I’d also like to see a bit more visibility – although I know that Fatima’s been working on this already, and I think that it’s something that next year’s exec team can focus on, too.

5:48 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Daniela-Melania Popovici

The position you’re standing for: Activities and Development Officer

Degree and course: BA (Hons) Management, Leadership and Leisure

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My main goal would be to put student development as a top priority in every future activity. I will make sure that social events won’t miss from our agenda in order to empower the communication between students in a non-academic environment.

On the other hand, I understand how important academic activities and events are and I will make sure that they are still frequent. In the past, I have organised activities like treasure hunts which can be great teamworking and problem-solving exercise for students, skills that will put them at an advantage to gain essential skills for life after University. Also, another activity from which students could gain valuable pieces of information is, for example, an inspirational talk with a public person they admire, and I will try, if elected, to make this kind of activities happen.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

As much as I would like to create events that everyone would love, on the other side, I would like to make the students more engaged in Union’s activities because no matter how many great ideas we come up with, the main ingredient for the success of all events is to make more and more students like them and attend them.

I believe that all the students should enjoy all the activities we created together because these wouldn’t have happened without their vision and I believe they deserve to reap the rewards. Also, I would encourage collaboration and increase the communication between the societies in our Students’ Union.

All the societies can benefit from collaboration between one another and I will be keen to encourage societies to engage with campaigns on and off the campus. I will propose fun sports activities with a charity purpose where all societies can take part. Student’s Union is offering so many resources and opportunities to have the best time and students should benefit from them.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I believe that the  Students’ Union has many great ideas and projects that are being overlooked because the events are not advertised as much as they should be. I wouldn’t say that SU lets students down, but there have been moments when I have met students that were not aware of everything that was happening around them in terms of activities.

Either they were not living in the halls where they could hear from somebody else, or they did not communicate enough with other students or did not pay enough attention. It is true that we cannot always create events and activities that could suit each and every student and at the same time we cannot blame the SU for not reaching everybody, but in the future, I would try and create a deeper connection with the students through the future projects.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

From my point of view, the current exec team have done great as they offered a wide
variety of activities and support to the students. Student life isn’t just about studying. After
a long day, it’s nice to be able to choose from the wide range of extracurricular activities SU
has to offer.

They did a great job of making students feel closer to home and created an
environment where everybody could feel comfortable. Bonding so many students under just
one roof are something to be appreciated and I did not think such a thing could be possible
until I came here.

2:56 pm

Ethan Davies

Four candidates suspended from campaigning

With voting only open for one more day, news has come in that four candidates have been suspended from campaigning.

Union officials told The Mancunion that four candidates were suspended by the returning officer — who is supplied by the NUS — following complaints against their campaign tactics.

The Mancunion understands that the candidates are appealing the decision, which should be given by tomorrow morning.

Complaints against candidate campaigning methods are commonplace every year, not every complaint results in such action.

9:53 am

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Sevilla Tapia

The position you’re standing for: Postgraduate officer

Degree and course: MBA at the Alliance Manchester Business School

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

Cross-functional networking to create and improve our personal and professional opportunities, considering we’re all here for a better tomorrow. That’s what I’m looking forward to for all of us.   

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

As you will notice in my online platform, my focus has been on and will continue to be on networking, postgraduate students integration across all of the university and the academic & professional stages. For parties, trips and other extra-curricular activities, I am certain we will have great representatives who will do it brilliantly, with all our assistance.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

The Integration given the massive size of our Students’ Union.  In my experience, I will suggest we empower more students to become change leaders in their respective areas of interest.   

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

Good work and commitment, now it is time to continue working and focusing on strategical pillars beside the SU daily activities.

 

8:11 pm

Josh Sandiford

Second night of hustings over

And that’s it!

The second night of hustings is over. If you missed tonight’s hustings, you can watch it in full on Fuse TV’s Facebook. 

Be sure to check back for updates throughout the week.

Voting closes at 5 pm on Thursday with results expected at around 8 pm on the same day.

 

8:09 pm

Josh Sandiford

General Secretary hustings

Next, candidates for the office of General Secretary are fielding questions.

All three candidates – Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng, Laura Walker and Alyah – have attended the hustings.

They start by introducing themselves and reeling off some key manifesto pledges and promises.

They’re first asked what they think the main responsibilities of a general secretary is.

Alyah says communication between students and the students’ union is important.

Laura aggress and says this can be done through halls, societies and sessions. She says they need to go out to students and let them know they are represented.

Kwame says whoever is elected general secretary should be a good leader and ensure there is a strong team around them that can solve the issues of students.

They are next asked how they will work with other officers to achieve the SU’s goals.

Alyah says she wants to make students aware of what the other executive officers are doing to help student life, she says many students do not know what is going on behind closed doors.

Laura says the general secretary’s role should be to support other members of the exec team. She says she will do this through working groups.

Kwame says again he will organise a strong team and ensure goals are consolidated. He says when one member of the exec team fails, they all fail.

The next question is how they plan to raise awareness of the exec teams efforts among the student population.

Kwame says he believes that hard work by the SU will be seen by students as long as they act on student concerns.

Laura again touches on societies, halls and sessions. She says that is the best way to listen to student concerns and ensure engagement.

Alyah says that the main way students become aware of the things the SU exec team does is through emails and this isn’t an effective way. She says the best way to engage students is through face to face contact and through holding events at student halls that promote what the SU does.

Laura says she admires the tirelessness and dedication of the current exec team. She says they have also been brilliant in regards to safety.

Kwame says that the current exec team is very accessible and they are easy to get in touch with. He says this means they are always there and ready to learn about student issues.

Alyah says that the current exec officers have tackled issues close to students hearts such as the provision of podcasting services. She says she would like to improve student feedback by things like drop-in sessions.

Candidates are finally asked about what one issue they are most passionate about.

Kwame says he is passionate about events that encourage friendship and fostering a university that is truly international.

Laura says that she is most passionate about students having a safe and supportive environment. She says issues of crime should be bought to the spotlight and that the university should work with the police.

Alyah says she would like to improve financial assistance for students. She says many students have to work over 60 hours a week when there part-time job is taken into account, meaning they do not get to engage with society’s and get invovled with extra cirricular activites.

 

 

 

7:37 pm

Josh Sandiford

Activities and Development officer hustings

Candidates for Activities and Development officer are now taking questions and talking about what they’re passionate about.

Current activities officer Lizzy Haughton, Anas Riaz, Jordan Vincent and Daniela are in attendance.

They start by introducing themselves and saying what they are passionate about.

The candidates are first asked if it’s a problem that some students don’t get involved in societies and SU events.

Anas says students should be engaged throughout the year not just at the start of freshers week.

Jordan agrees and says that a lot of emphasis is given to freshers and refreshers week.

Daniela agrees that students don’t get involved, she says the problem should be taken care of.

Lizzy says some events are not as inclusive as they should be and that the SU should work with the university more.

Candidates are next asked about the issue of dangerous initiation games that have made headlines in recent months.

Anas says he wants to talk to students about the issue and Jordan says this kind of initiation might put people off joining societies in the first place. 

Daniela says she agrees with the other candidates and Lizzy says it’s important to promote inclusivity and diversity of students in societies.

Lizzy says that in her manifesto there should be general awareness training for society leaders.

When asked about the high price of some society memberships, Jordan says as a leader of a society you can sometimes see why membership costs are so high. He gives Fuse FM as an example and how money is needed to finance expensive equipment.

Candidates note that some society’s don’t actually know about FundIt and the bidding process of getting money for their societies.

Daniela says that students should be supported by the Students’ Union.

Lizzy says that one of her manifesto points is to roll out society forums and training programmes.

The candidates are asked about Pangea festival. Anas says he wants to know why it’s making a loss and why it’s not as successful. He says students from diverse backgrounds should be included so they can enjoy the event also.

Jordan agrees, says the festival can be perfect but everyone he has spoken to says the event isn’t really worth it. He says there could be some more regular SU nights rather than just one night.

Daniela says it would be good to find out the exact reasons why students are seemingly losing interest in Pangea.

Lizzy says she has been working a lot on Pangea in her role and she thinks that rather than the event being in freshers it should instead be later in the year with more of a build up to it.

 

 

7:24 pm

Josh Sandiford

Women’s officer hustings

Next, we have candidates for the position of Women’s officer – Ayla Huseyinoglu, Emilia Jenkins, and Sophie Stockwell.

They are first asked if there is insufficient support for transgender students at UoM.

Emilia, who is currently a part-time women’s officer, says she doesn’t think there is enough support. She points out that toilets are not accessible enough and that if a transgender student is in Ali G they might actually have to find another building to feel comfortable using the toilet. 

Emilia agrees and mentions controversial comments made by a current exec officer regarding reclaiming the night.

Alya says the LGBT+ community requires better representation as the number of people that identify as LGBT+ is disproportionate to the amount of support that they receive. 

Asked about what can be done about women’s safety.

Sophie says she attended reclaim the night and thought Sara’s speech was incredible.

She says we need to increase basic infrastructure like policing and street lighting. She also says we need safe spaces and that many girls don’t know they exist.

Emilia agrees there is sometimes a lack of support from the police.

Alya says the police and the university needs to do more.

Finally, the candidates are asked what they are most passionate about.

Alya says she wants to make sure everyone can be involved in the conversation regarding gender equality.

Emilia says she really wants to draw attention to the conservation on sexual assault on campus and mentions a new project she is currently working on.

Sophie says she is passionate about preparing women for life after university. She says in a workplace there isn’t a huge amount of support, especially for victims of sexual harassment.

 

 

7:00 pm

Josh Sandiford

Education officer hustings

We’re kicking off the second night of hustings at the SU, with candidates for the position of education officer taking questions first.

Tonight we examine those going for the Women’s, Education, Activities, and General Secretary Officer roles.

You can also watch the hustings live on Fuse TV’s Facebook page. 

Olivia Meisl, the current education secretary, and Chloe Salins are currently taking questions.

When asked about the disparities in the marking process amongst schools, Chloe says the process isn’t clear enough and this leads to a lack of clarity.

Olivia says that as a former joint honours student, she knows the difficulties.

The candidates note that this is an issue for joint honours students in particular.

They say they will push for more clarity.

Next, the candidates are asked about how they will attempt to reduce penalties for students with mental health difficulties as a result of a lack of support.

Olivia says Manchester SU should roll out a system of ‘self-certification’ like has been rolled out at other unis.

Chloe points out she had to put in mitigating circumstances due to mental health issues and praised support she was given.

Said she wants the process to be clearer.

The candidates are also asked about podcasting and the lack of support available for students studying abroad.

4:50 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Olivia Meisl

The position you’re standing for: Education Officer

Degree and course: BA (Hons) Politics and Spanish  – Currently education officer 

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal is reviewing course costs and accessibility of education at Manchester in order to make recommendations to the university and improve it – this includes any general  extra costs, as well as costs for DASS students, medical notes, students who wish to study outside of their degree, Friday prayers, commuting students, and ensuring that no student who wishes to take a placement faces barriers.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My vision is to ensure that all students are heard equally. This would involve continued promotion of the Rephub that has been built from my manifesto last year, as well as creating an Education Committee that has been as active as it has been this year.

I have spent much of my role so far building strong relationships and promoting inclusive and diverse learning (access to UCIL modules and languages, BME studies module, homelessness module, promoting awareness of podcasting for DASS students) and listening and acting on student concerns. I will be continuing with this outlook next year, whilst building on a year’s worth of knowledge and good relationships from my work this year in the role.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

The Union can be a very niche place that represents only a small number of students – there is a large proportion who don’t see it as relevant or want to engage. As all students have a place within Education, the role is perfect for being one of the most representative of students when they are included. Under my role this year, we have seen more types of students engaged, one of the most active and inclusive Education Committees in memory, as well as concerns that affect all students addressed.

I want to continue my work from this year with Rephub being a place to feedback on course and academic issues for anyone, whilst continuing to voice student concerns through the Union Trustee Board and the University’s senior leadership team.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

The current exec team have done well despite absences in the team. Some key wins from myself and the team include having a Postgraduate Officer position in place this year, Islamophobia awareness month, supporting Graduate Teaching Assistants through UCU, the creation of Rephub, the largest Reclaim The Night ever, the Zero Waste Shop and GMSA. There is some great ongoing work around these, as well as Brexit information for students, the Better Buses campaign and supporting the new Mental Health Centre being developed in conjunction with other universities across Greater Manchester.

4:46 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Dishika Bhalotia

The position you’re standing for: International students’ officer

Degree and course: Bsc Hons Management Accounting and Finance

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

To increase international student bursaries and scholarships and to work on the post-study visa campaign.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

To work in the best interests of International Students. To help them in every way be it culture shock, freshers week, extra help to Asian students in terms of academic writing and referencing as they have a completely different way of learning back home.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

Students are not aware of the activities going on at the union. They should market their activities more widely. I am planning to generate a weekly mailing list about the activities for the week and how students can sign up for it. The SU should also make the registration on the Students’ Union website compulsory so that each and every student has the students union app on their phone and they get notifications about the activities in the SU to increase participation and response from students. I believe only then we could improve.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

They have done really well as I am really impressed with the reduction of placement year tuition fee and Reclaim The Night campaign by the current Activities and Development officer.

4:35 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Laura Walker

The position you’re standing for: General Secretary

Degree and course: BA History

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

My number one goal is to listen and act upon students’ concerns. If elected, I will run a monthly drop-in session on both the main and north campus’ to ensure that every voice is heard. I will also hold regular ‘conversation corners’ for people to discuss key issues, like housing, safety, mental health, and tuition fees. The only way to truly improve the student experience is through listening to what students want and need to change, and then sharing those views to all levels of University staff to enact change.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My vision is for the General Secretary to be engaged with students and proactive in addressing their concerns. The work I have achieved as a part-time Fallowfield and Withington Community Officer demonstrates my commitment to this vision.

Following up on issues raised by students in my area, I planned a scheme that offers peer support to students affected by crime, reallocated counselling workshops into halls of residences, and worked with MSH to improve renting standards.

My belief in listening to the student voice is shown as I held a successful Fallowfield Forum last week to listen to the concerns of students in that area, and hope to expand this further to represent every student if elected as General Secretary

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

The Students’ Union tries to engage with students, but sometimes student voices are not heard.

I intend to engage with students through maintaining an active presence on main and North campus and ensuring that I am approachable. I will act on students’ concerns at university level to bring about meaningful improvements, but also will represent these student voices at national level by working collectively with other unions to address common student concerns including high student fees, exorbitant interest rates on student debts, and student safety.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

The focus should be on how the new exec team can work together to make real-long lasting future improvements.

If elected, I will continue several initiatives carried out by the exec team, including the campaign for more reliable and frequent buses and lobbying for improved learning and wellbeing facilities, whilst carrying out my own initiatives solely chosen on student need.

4:29 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Adam Haigh

The position you’re standing for: Welfare and Community

Degree and course: Archaeology

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

 If elected, my priority would be unity. Whether that be between university students or between the union and the community. I want to work with people to bring everyone closer together because I think that’s the best and only way to overcome many of the challenges we face within society today.

It’s about creating webs of connections so that people feel they are connected to the people, the environment and the community around them. And (even though it’s cheesy) I think that feeling like you’re part of a community is so important in terms of welfare and wellbeing.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My vision for the role is that it actively challenges oppression and works towards equality. It would be a role of bringing people together and working with the rest of the Exec Team in order to make sure that students feel safe, included and happy within the university and union. I’d also like to work with groups outside of the university to highlight work that’s happening locally (and nationally) that furthers the idea of unity within society.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

I think in terms of the Exec the biggest let down for students is that a lot of the time their work happens behind closed doors and nobody really knows what’s going on unless you attend senate or other meetings and I feel like there’s a bit of a disconnect. One that I really want to bridge, to let people know that things are happening and also to try to let people have much more of a say over what they want. Just having a way to contact the Exec with thins that you’d like to see them working on, that isn’t an email that’ll just get lost.

On top of that, I think that the union could do a lot more promotion of societies, events and campaigns that are running across campus, Greater Manchester and beyond. One thing that I really want to do is to platform voices that don’t often get heard and I think one way to do that is through promoting different campaigns that are becoming increasingly relevant to students and I think that would be something that could start happening pretty quickly as the infrastructure to do so (Screens in the SU, social media etc) is already in place in most cases.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I think that the current Exec team have all done some amazing stuff and there’s been a lot of progress on a lot of what they all set out to achieve.

Between them they’ve set up a Zero Waste Shop, Set up and Run Go-Green Week, created a student rep hub, there’s now a postgrad Officer which is incredible and Reclaim the night seemed like it was really successful. And that’s just a few of the Exec but they all always seem ridiculously busy and when you’re in Senate they’ve always been working on loads of things, but like I say I don’t think the amount they do is necessarily broadcast to students and I know that there’s loads of work going on behind the scenes.

I’d say that for the most part, they’ve all done everything they could to do what they set out to achieve. Plus, they’ve got four months left to get more stuff done and a lot can happen in four months.

4:17 pm

Josh Sandiford

Candidate profile: Mourad Alkalza

The position you’re standing for: International students’ officer

Degree and course: BA Econ

1) If elected, what would be your number one goal during 2019-20?

To improve the wellbeing of international students. Uni is hard on its own, so studying in a foreign country far away from home can be extremely difficult and can put a strain on students mentally and physically. My goal would be to make students feel at home by breaking the language barrier and trying to bring more of their home to Manchester.

2) What’s your vision for the role under your tenure?

My vision is to create an environment where international students have the freedom to shape their future without any barriers and burdens either in the workplace or at the university.

3) Where do you think the Union lets students down? How will you improve that?

The Students’ Union has been a great support for international students, however, there’s always room for improvements. I think that the union doesn’t fully understand how difficult it is to adjust to the changes when coming to uni, and I think that they provide the tools but don’t push or tell students how to use them.

My plan would be to provide services that ease the transition, this would includes hosting more culturally diverse events in order to attract more international students, providing easily accessible workshops to improve creativity, leadership and entrepreneurial skills, without the hassle of applications and prerequisite, or even improve on the peer mentoring system to allow students to be paired with mentors from their own country, so they can feel more comfortable talking to them.

Also, the union has attempted to provide information regarding EU students and the changes they’ll face post-Brexit, however, it’s really complicated and difficult to follow.

My goal would be to provide clear and easily understood information so students find it easier to understand how policies will change and how they’ll have to adapt to them.

The Students’ Union should be more aware of the language barrier that many international students face, this causes problems with social life and their courses. So my goal is to push the university to improve the English language lessons that students take by making them tailored for each student and their courses.

4) How do you think the current exec team have done? 

I cannot deny the fact that Riddi and her team have achieved a lot, especially on the topic of plagiarism and malpractice and increasing diversity. However, there’s a lot that the team has promised and haven’t achieved year especially the promise to reduce tuition fees.  

4:16 pm

Ethan Davies

Another day, another 1,000 voters

As we hit day the end of day six, data analysts from the Union have revealed that 5,049 students have now voted.

George Kenyon Hall remains top of the turnout standings, with 26.4% of its residents voting. Coming in last is Wright Robinson, with just 12% of its residents casting a ballot. Owens Park has 20.2%, and Fallowfield rivals Oak House are edging them out with 21.6% turnout.

Of course, tonight sees the second round of hustings — the Education, Activities, Women’s, and General Secretary officer roles are all to be debated from 6.30pm live on the Fuse TV Facebook page.

7:59 pm

Josh Sandiford

First night of hustings over

And that’s it!

The first night of hustings is over. There will be another taking place tomorrow night for the other 4 executive offices.

If you missed tonight’s hustings, you can watch it in full on Fuse TV’s Facebook. 

Be sure to check back for updates throughout the week.

 

7:47 pm

Josh Sandiford

Welfare and Community officer hustings

Next up is the candidates for the office of welfare and community.

The candidates first introduce themselves and tell us what they stand for.

Mental health is playing a big part in this discussion. One candidate says that the university should be doing a lot more to provide mental health services.

One candidate says that welfare workshops are good but they are too irregular. The SU should provide regular workshops to ensure mental health is talked about and expressed.

Another says that university glorifies things like all-nighters and bad eating habits, these things that typically happen in the first year should be focused on.

Crime is also bought up as a root cause of mental health problems amongst students, especially for those living in areas like Fallowfield and Withington.

One candidate notes that the welfare position entails liaising heavily with other executive officers and societies to ensure as many students as possible can find societies and engage with each other more.

The final question asked to candidates is what can be done to strengthen relations between the student population and local Manchester residents, particularly in areas like Fallowfield.

One candidate says that projects such as help the homeless can bring students and Mancunian’s together.

Another says that the integration of students and the community is important.

An idea is also put forward or a ‘Fallowfield Forum’ as a place for discussion amongst groups.

There are also concerns raised about things being focused primarily on Fallowfield as opposed to the wider community.

 

 

 

7:39 pm

Josh Sandiford

Postgraduate officer hustings

Candidates for the position of Postgraduate officer are now being questioned.

Postgraduate officer is a new role, with its creation mandated during November’s Senate.

The candidates are first asked about what the differences really are between undergraduate and postgraduate students.

One candidate disagrees with the question and says there is more to unite undergraduate and postgraduate students than there is to differentiate them.

Other candidates note there are even differences between postgraduate students, with some on taught courses and others focusing primarily on research.

The candidates are next asked about how they plan to increase integration between postgraduate and undergraduate students.

Several candidates note that research students have to focus primarily on their studies and therefore struggle to take advantage of the social opportunities afforded to undergraduate students.

One candidate notes that the SU should do more to foster communities between the undergraduate and postgraduate communities.

Candidates are next asked about employability and how they aim to help postgraduate students consider life after university.

It’s noted that not every student pays attention to constant emails about employment opportunity, especially busy postgraduate students that are focused on research and might not have the time.

 

7:16 pm

Josh Sandiford

International students’ officer hustings

Our host Prasham is currently questioning candidates for the position of International Students’ Officer.

There isn’t a huge amount of disagreement between them, they all advocate for increased integration for international students on campus including things like breaking down the language barrier.

The candidates all introduce themselves and tell the audience what their key manifesto pledges are.

The host asks them how they will approach the issue of Brexit and the implications it has for the Erasmus+ scheme. Some candidates say they haven’t thought very much about the issue in particular but think more and clearer information is needed.

One candidate points out that not all Erasmus participating countries are EU member states.

Other ideas put forward by candidates include peer mentoring, improving English language lessons and more mental health support for international students.

 

6:19 pm

Josh Sandiford

First night of hustings to begin at 6:30 pm

Candidates are about to face off in the first of two hustings this week.

Candidates for the roles of International students’ officer, Postgraduate officer, Welfare and Communities officer and Access and Liberation officer will be answering questions.

We expect International students’ candidates to start us off at around 6:30 pm.

We’ll be updating the liveblog at regular intervals so be sure to stay tuned for updates! 

You can also watch the hustings LIVE on Fuse TV’s Facebook page. 

Update: We’re inevitably running slightly late due to technical issues, now expected to get started at around 7 pm.

4:57 pm

Josh Sandiford

SU confirms allegations of candidate rule-breaking 

Manchester SU has told The Mancunion that it is aware of the allegations of candidate rule-breaking and that it has been ‘dealt with accordingly’ using what a spokesperson described as ‘internal processes.’

The accusations were first made on the anonymous Facebook page ‘uomlove’:

We’ve spoken to several students who have said similar things have happened to them, with some students saying they felt intimidated by the constant seeking of attention from candidates running in the SU elections. 

The Mancunion cannot name the candidates accused of underhand tactics. 

4:48 pm

Ethan Davies

4,000 votes

The SU have announced that 4,000 students have now voted – representing 9.11% turnout. In total, 14,330 votes have been cast, averaging 3.6 votes per voter.

The top Halls are George Kenyon (25%) and Horniman House (19.4%). The bottom Halls are still Liberty Park (10.4%), Woolton Hall (10.8%), and Canterbury Court (10.9%).

The top performing school is AMBS (15.2%), with Health Sciences (4.8%) coming in last.

7:52 am

Josh Sandiford

3000 votes reached!

It’s Monday morning, welcome back to the live blog!

Students have until Thursday to get their votes in and decide who runs the union.

Over the weekend, the SU has announced that 3,000 votes have now be placed. 

The SU has also revealed on social media that in the ‘schools race’ students representing Alliance Manchester Business School have placed the most votes with students from Materials, Computer Science and Medical Sciences lagging behind.

We’ll be updating the liveblog throughout the week with the latest statistics, updates and interviews with candidates. Stay tuned.

10:50 am

Ethan Davies

Data update

Union data analysts have been running the numbers on the first day’s votes – and it’s thrown up some really surprising insights.

1,790 votes were cast on day one – compared to 1,229 in 2018. In fact, that figure is so strong, it beats the total votes cast number on the final day of voting last year, which traditionally sees a huge upswing.

1,790 votes represents 4.1% of the entire student body voting. In total, 19.8% of students voted in 2018.

In terms of halls turnout, Horniman House are leading the way with 9.7%, with Liberty Park being the lowest on 3%. Oak House has a 6% turnout rate, whereas Owens Park – which hosts a polling station today – has 3.7%. The lowest Fallowfield hall turnout is Woolton, with 3.1%.

4:50 pm

Ethan Davies

Turnout Update

Turnout figures have just been released for the first time – and it’s fair to say Union bosses will be happy.

Data seen by The Mancunion has shown that 1,273 votes have been cast, as of 4.17pm today. Compared to last year, 1,229 were cast by midnight on the first day.

12:11 pm

Ethan Davies

Voting is now LIVE!

Voting has just opened with a flourish at the SU foyer — SU staff turned out to count the elections down.

Voting is open until 7th March, 5pm. There are daily incentives for voting at the SU — today’s is free fries from Wholesome Junkies. Just speak to a polling station staff member in the SU to claim yours.

You can learn more and vote here.

Photo: Ethan Davies @ The Mancunion

Voting opens on the 2019 SU elections. Photo: Ethan Davies @ The Mancunion

 

4:58 pm

Josh Sandiford

Where can I vote?

Polling stations can be found on three University campuses:

SU Foyer

Owens Park courtyard

North Campus — Reynold Building and Barnes Wallis

Each polling station will feature members of SU staff so voters can learn more about the elections before casting their ballot

4:16 pm

Josh Sandiford

SU Elections 2019 LIVE: Welcome to The Mancunion’s Live Blog!

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