Degree Subject: History
- Chairman of SUCA
- Opinion Editor at the Wessex Scene
- Project Member of FAIR (Alternative to student fees project)
- Presenter at Surge Radio
Campaign Slogan: What’s the time, Mr Wolfson?
Strength: Ability to listen, analyse and negotiate.
1. Why did you decide to run for this position?
I was always annoyed that people would say they came to university for the ‘university experience’ rather than for the learning. The way this university is actually giving lease to me is educationally, and I feel like it gives the minimum it can at the moment. I know it could give a lot more, but it hasn’t been pushed to. I feel I’m able to push the university to give things back and invest in its students.
I think students are getting a bad deal right now, and my work with FAIR has pushed me to run for this position.
The main reason is I want to help. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I think I’ll be the best at this; I wouldn’t be going for this unless I feel I would be the best person to do it.
2. What has been your best experience during your involvement with SUSU?
I’ve loved working with SUCA (Southampton University Conservative Association). I became the treasurer only nine days into my first year, and have been chairman since the end of that year. I love seeing how since I took over we’ve gone from having minus money to actually having some funds. Aside from that, I’ve loved editing on the Wessex Scene. I really enjoy writing articles, but I enjoy editing other articles just as much, and I love presenting my show The History Boys on Surge. One of the reasons I’m going for this position, however, is that I feel the longer you spend in SUSU, the more you get fatigued with SUSU.
3. What makes YOU the best candidate for the job?
The fact that I’m a listener, that fact that I’m a negotiator. I am there to reflect people’s views, and I would never put my own views before those of other people. I believe that my manifesto is ambitious, but only because I want more of what the university should be providing anyway. I’m not going to be there suggesting more of the same, I want you to get something back.
4. How will you make yourself accessible to students, to ensure you can represent them accurately?
Once a month I aim to be in the SUSU foyer doing a surgery, so people can come to me if they have any problems. I’ll either get it sorted immediately, or if it requires more work I’ll take down all their details and aim to get back to them as soon as possible. I’m not going to sit in my ivory tower: I’m going to go out and speak to people. This is a representative role, and we need to listen as much as possible. I plan to have regular meetings with course reps, faculty officers and academic presidents: you need to speak to people from a subject to be able to understand it properly.
5. How will you persuade tutors to take on more work, in order to improve tutor-student relationships?
My view is that if a tutor is unwilling to give up more time for students, they shouldn’t be here. I will have full discussions with the university to make sure it becomes policy that tutors must go out of their way to have more contact with students. Lecturers used to be paid overtime, but now the university is research-led, and we can’t carry on like this unless we want to fall down the rankings.
6. Which aspect of the VP Education role (e.g. teaching quality, library provision or feedback) do you believe needs to be focused on most urgently and why?
Even though my manifesto is split into four zones, the overarching theme is that students need to get more for their money. I want to make sure students are properly reinvested in. They pay enough; they should be getting enough back. I can’t say which of these issues is most important, because I’m not just going to solve one in my year as VP Education; I’m going to endeavour to solve all of them. I will represent students to ensure that they get more for their money, regardless of what they study or what they might be able to give back to the university later.
View David Mendoza-Wolfson’s manifesto HERE