Skip to main content

12th June 2019

Year In Review 2019: Communities Officer Shamima Khonat

She recorded an average meeting attendance of 86.6%
Year In Review 2019: Communities Officer Shamima Khonat
Shamima Khonat. Photo: University of Manchester Students’ Union / The Mancunion

Communities, Campaigns, and Citizenship Officer Shamima Khonat has had a largely positive year in her role at the Students’ Union.

Spending the smallest proportion of the Officers’ budget, at just £33.60 – or 0.4% – Khonat has also had a very good attendance meeting record, having attended 86.6% of the events for which data was available.

That £33.60 was spent on a “train ticket for a speaker to talk on a panel regarding Prevent” according to Khonat.

However, her four listed manifesto points paint a much more mixed picture: Her pledge to “facilitate the Union’s work on issues surrounding citizenship” is difficult to interpret and subsequently difficult to measure, as is “encouraging students to lead on campaigns and support the development of existing campaigning groups and societies”. Indeed, critics of the Exec model cite these two pledges as just part of the Communities’ Officer role, rather than specific manifesto points to aim for.

Khonat’s other two points are to “direct the Union’s work on matters surrounding student accommodation and safety” and “increase bursaries for living at home students”.

In a statement to The Mancunion, Khonat lists the Rate Your Landlord survey as one of her achievements, suggesting she has at least in part achieved the former.

However, the survey was launched by the 2014-15 Exec Officer team, so it’s unclear what new work Khonat undertook on this pledge.

In the same statement, Khonat did not list increasing bursaries for living a home students as a success. She did however list “Islamophobia Awareness Month, [producing] Homelessness Campaign Supanova, contributing to Whitworth Gallery exhibition, producing a handbook for care leavers, engaging with [a] Homelessness organisation, and lobbying for faith spaces” as well as having “managed to secure halal food training and Kosher food supplier, [and] lobbying the University for Schools to consider Friday Prayers when timetabling for Muslim students”.

Khonat also claimed that the University “TLG [Teaching and Learning Group] agreed to acknowledge the religious observance”.

In terms of failures, Khonat cited a “lack of funds” resulted in her not being able to work on reducing commuter costs for living at home students.

More Coverage

Fallowfield’s 18.35%: Why are students not voting?

The recent narrative of student voter engagement has not been a particularly positive one, and Manchester’s students are no exception to this

“They decided they didn’t want a Nightline any longer”: Why did Manchester SU close Nightline? 

The University’s branch of the nationwide listening service closed in September to the surprise of the student community

Spot checks on international students attendance set to be introduced

The University plans to implement spot checks alongside in-person attendance checks for international students

Students fall victim to ticket scams on Manchester Students’ Group

Increasingly sophisticated ticket scammers have been operating in the popular Facebook group Manchester Students’ Group