In her second and final year as Women’s Officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union (SU), Sara Heddi has seen a growth of Reclaim The Night marchers, increased the availability of free sanitary products on campus, and also faced controversy with other Exec Officers.
One key pledge of Heddi’s was to make February’s Reclaim The Night march more “student led”, and whilst this aspect of the protest is difficult to measure, over 3,500 people attended this year’s event – 1,500 more than in 2018. It also raised over £2,000 for Manchester Rape Crisis.
This increase and donation came despite the fact Liberation and Access Officer Sara Khan raised concerns over the lack of trans inclusion at Reclaim The Night on the day of the march, and subsequently decided against appearing at the event. The row rumbled on until May’s Senate meeting, when reforms were proposed to change the organisation of Reclaim The Night. However, due to poor student attendance, the meeting was stopped early before the motion could be debated and voted on. It will now be passed over to the September 2019 transitional Senate meeting.
Another success for Heddi this year was the introduction of free sanitary products in the SU, as well as the launch of various campaigns such as 16 Days Of Activism.
However, it seems that the work in delivering her manifesto has meant she has missed 40% of her scheduled committee meetings, with The Mancunion calculating her running attendance rate to SU and University panels at just 60% – with only much-absent Deej Malik-Johnson recording a lower rate.
Heddi additionally was the second-highest spender of the Exec’s budget: 22.9% of the £8,000 budget was spent by Heddi, with estimates putting a £1,974.71 price tag on Reclaim The Night, which accounts for the vast majority of the total £2,226.52 spent – although Heddi received £400 from other SU departments to take her net spend down to £1,826.52.
Sara Heddi was contacted for comment for the Year In Review 2019, but declined to provide any.