Candidate Interview: Chris McGeehan, VP DCI


The 2015 SUSU elections are fast approaching and the Wessex Scene team have been interviewing the candidates running for the sabbatical positions that help to run your University. Here, I interview Chris McGeehan, hoping to become the next VP DCI (Vice President for Democracy and Creative Industries).

Why are you running to be the next VP DCI?

Through my time as a student leader and a rep last year, I got the chance to care about the issues that you see. However, having to do a degree at the same time kind of gets in the way of working on those issues. Therefore, it would be really good to spend a full time job doing it. I wanted to run for DCI specifically because it covers the areas that I have the most experience in. Usually candidates for DCI only have experience in one of the areas (democracy or creative industries) but I think I am one of the only candidates for a long while with experience in both areas.

In your manifesto you say you want to not consider DCI as an editorial rule, allowing editors to do their job. Is that implying that you feel the DCI role is currently restrictive on publications?

I have heard there have been occasions where perhaps the DCI has got involved more than they perhaps should have and I am very anti-censorship myself in that regard. Many of the previous candidates have had a strong focus in media areas and I think it’s almost an advantage that I don’t have a relation with any of the media aspects in one strong aspect. The student leaders doing those media jobs, they know the job better than the DCI does, and therefore the DCI should take a more hands off role.

What kind of refurbishment and equipment improvements would you like to see made to SUSUtv and Surge radio?

A lot of my goals in my manifesto are for long term projects and for SUSUtv my plan would be to give them a much better physical space and a better set-up for shows and live broadcasts they want to do. At the moment they have a space that doubles as a broadcast studio and as an editing area and as an office, which is not ideal for them, and is something I want to look at. Also inevitably, in a few years, the equipment they have now will become out of date, so a plan for anticipating future spending needs to be put into place now.

For Surge, I think a recording studio would be something very cool for them to have, and this could also be used by Livesoc and other music societies. This would help Surge to continue to grow as a radio station, so that people have a better chance of finding professional work in radio, through their time at Surge.

 In terms of Policy making you want to go out and ask what the students want. How do you intend on doing this and how often will you be able to?

We have a lot of policies at SUSU that are inward facing, which is of course important, but we don’t have many that consider student life in terms of Southampton or even nationally, which other unions focus on more. These are the type of issues I want to ask students about a bit more. Obviously it’s not viable for me to go out every week and ask people about the things they would like to see changed, although it’d be great if I could. Instead, the policy committee and accountability committee, as proposed in my manifesto, could be one way of doing it. Also, I have suggested an overhaul of the union council and this could allow the opinions and issues of students to be involved in policy making more often.

Have you any specific plans/ideas for developing relationships with campus venues and the city and how will this directly benefit students?

I’ve heard a lot this year about the problems we have with on campus arts venues, with the Nuffield and The Turner Sims, and I want to see how we can work better with them. We need to strengthen and build on the ties we have with these venues already and make sure they treat students in a professional manner, and not see students as a burden imposed on them by the University. Also, there is a great opportunity to build links, with the John Hansard gallery that is moving to the Guildhall (to a brand new arts complex in 2016).

 If you could only select one policy/initiative to implement if you became DCI what would it be and why?

If I had to pick just one, it would be quite an ambitious one, and it would probably be to overhaul the union council. Although this wouldn’t have an immediate effect, I think the ramifications of it would be quite large; policies would have to be passed by lots of different students, because the policies are relevant to lots of different students. This would lead to more diverse and outward looking policies and would mean that we can hold officers to account and have greater debate over policies, for those students who are interested. I believe this would be great for getting the students here engaged in the democratic process.

More articles in SUSU Elections 2015
  1. Candidate Interview: Ruchika Menon, VP Communities
  2. Elections Night Live 2015: Winner Interviews
  3. Late Election Entry: SUSU the Cat
  4. SUSU Elections: The Exit Polls
  5. Candidate Interview: Roman Martin, VP Sports Development
  6. Candidate Interview: Ashley Sivarajah, VP Sports Development
  7. Candidate Interview: Jamie Wilson, VP Sport Development
  8. Candidate Interview: Stephen Barratt, VP Sports Development
  9. Candidate Interview: Rebecca Lake, VP Student Communities
  10. SUSU Elections: Debates Round-Up
  11. Candidate Interview: Benjamin Franklin, President
  12. Candidate Interview: Chris McGeehan, VP DCI
  13. Candidate Interview: Kerry Sclater, VP DCI
  14. Candidate Interviews: Dan Varley and Flora Noble, JCR Officer
  15. Candidate Interview: Hannah Talbot, VP Engagement
  16. Candidate Interview: Shruti Verma, VP Education
  17. Candidate Interview: Jenny Bortoluzzi, VP Engagement
  18. Candidate Interview: Anjit Aulakh, VP Student Communities
  19. Candidate Interview: Chibeza Mumbi, VP Welfare
  20. Candidate Interview: Sam Bailey, VP Welfare
  21. SUSU Election Rumours: Who’s Running?
  22. BREAKING: VP Engagment Candidate Daniel Clemence Withdraws from SUSU Elections
  23. BREAKING: SUSU Election Candidates Revealed
  24. Elections Night Live 2015: Candidate interviews
  25. ELECTIONS NIGHT LIVE 2015: The Results

Discussion2 Comments

  1. avatar

    Technically SURGE already have a recording studio – studio 2. If you mean something for live music this is something SURGE have deliberately erred against as we’re a radio station not a music production society. We’ve also revcieved £16,000 to invest in new equipment for SURGE so refurbishment isn’t the top of things we want to change next year – suitable space is a far more important issue for SURGE.

    Additionally – where are you going to find the budget to do your proposed renovations for both SUSUtv and SURGE?

    • avatar

      Finding ideal space for Union groups that suit their needs, and if necessary changes as they adapt and grow, would sit alongside my long-term aims to give them more and allow students to do more and more ambitious things, whether that includes surge having a live-music recording studio or something else. It would be a great shame to plan for and then eventually have a studio that our music groups can use only for it to not be fit for purpose if Surge do want to broadcast live from it in the future. Similarly, thinking long-term, as equipment does reach the end of its life I want confidence in how that equipment is being replaced and that the infrastructure, spaces, and equipment itself will continue to allow development and adaptation. I want students to be able to think and get excited about ways to improve what they do and push onwards, rather than spending time worrying and stressing about maintaining the current status-quo and writing uncertain funding applications to the university to replace essentials. All these long term plans will probably see no physical changes next year, so I’m not concerning myself with where the budget will come from now. Naturally it’s impossible for me to know what any budget will be before starting the role and the new financial year, part of the planning for the long-term will involve looking for stable financing and I’d like to consider external sources in the first instance.

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