Sabbatical debates kicked off at 6.30pm this evening, beginning with the candidates running for the position of VP Education.
Candidates taking part in the debate for VP Education:
- David Heard
- Shaun Coston
- Thomas Rogers
- Sophia D’Angelico
One hot topic in tonight’s debate was concerns about students using the library, including discussion around the 24 hour library, digitising core text books and space.
All candidates showed support for current VP Education, David Mendoza-Wolfson’s 24 hour library scheme. However, Sophia D’Angelico showed concern about the 24 hour trial promoting an unhealthy lifestyle and the safety issues of leaving the library in the early hours of the morning. She also suggested how money could, potentially, be better spent on digitising core text books, a point raised in her manifesto.
Utilising the space in the library was an issue raised by Shaun Coston, who proposes getting rid of the 4th floor gallery in the library and opening up the Murray Building to free up more work space.
Andreas Day asked about candidates stance on the strikes and if they were to continue. David Heard responded in saying that he was personally in support of the strike action but, that being said, deplores the tactics of the strikers for using students as a ‘bargaining chip’. Sophia agreed with this, and suggested a need to canvas students and gauge support, then converse with lecturers. Thomas suggested a different approach in having a sit in outside the Vice Chancellor’s office.
Gabriella Discenza questioned how those paying £9,000 fees will get value for money. Sophia suggested reaching out to alumni to create a network that can provide current students with careers advice. Shaun questioned D’Angelico’s response as the focus of the question was about students getting value for money. Thomas raised a point from his manifesto: the MoneyBack scheme, when students can claim parts of their student fees back if they are unhappy with certain aspects of their degree.
Current VP Communities, Oli Coles, tweeted in the question: ‘If the candidates could make one more degree programme at the university, what would it be?’ The candidates responded with suggestions to focus on more integrated modules, such as the curriculum innovation programme, bringing back sports science and a degree focused around globalising and business.
The question of focus groups was then raised. Coston responded with the statement that students want more influence over their modules and SUSU and want to make a tangible difference.
Based on tonight’s debate, who is your favourite for the position? We’ll be releasing articles on the other six debates as they happen. SUSUtv and Surge are also providing live coverage of the debates.