- Candidate Interview – President: Thomas Gravatt
- SUSU Elections: Please Stop Treating Us Like Kids
- Exit Interview: Sam Bailey, VP Welfare
- Candidate Interview: Christina Vinothan, VP Welfare
- Exit Interview: Ben Franklin, President
- Candidate Interview- President, Liibaan Mohammed.
- Candidate Interview: President, Sam Bailey
- Candidate Interview: George Seabrook, VP Welfare
- Candidate Interview: Michael Clarke VP DCI
- Candidate Interview: Bryony Newman, VP DCI
- Candidate Interview: David Allwright, VP Welfare
- Exit Interview: Kerry Slater, VP DCI
- Candidate Interview – President: Alex Hovden
- SUSU Elections: A Pioneering Union Or A Waste of Time?
- Candidate Interview: Cameron Meldrum, VP DCI
In the run up to the 2016 SUSU elections, the Wessex Scene team have been interviewing the candidates running for sabbatical positions. Here, I interview Michael Clarke hoping to become the next VP DCI.
Why are you running for this role?
I am primarily running for the role to improve what is fundamentally flawed within SUSU, the main reasons why students have become disenchanted with SUSU. I want people to realise how much SUSU can add to their student experience, particularly with regards to societies and democratic processes and engaging people to vote in the elections. It is very important who runs and I hope to raise the quorum of the SUSU elections, which currently sits at about 10% and I would like to improve that to make the students feel more involved.
What experience do you have for this role, and how do you feel this experience would be of benefit if you were elected?
So far during university I have sat on multiple society committees and I have just generally had some experiences doing organisational work running groups and workshops within the Law School. I found that I have a knack for leadership and I would like to be able to share that and use those organisational skills within SUSU. I would like to stress that voters shouldn’t just be locked in by the ideas on a candidates’ manifestos, the most important thing is to consider the person you are voting for and that people pay attention to the live debates that will be going on and actually being able to talk to the candidates face-to-face during voting week on the redbrick. Students shouldn’t be too distracted by the manifesto because policies can be changed, but the person cant.
You focus a lot of student engagement with the Union in your manifesto, how can the DCI zone promote student engagement?
Primarily by ensuring everyone knows a bit more about SUSU, making sure the information comes more directly to them. The main information we distribute about SUSU is within the Students’ Union building and SUSU website etcetera, but I think it is better integrated within the University. For example at the start of lectures in first year, or information within the University buildings such as the Hartley Library or even on SUSSED. The more students become aware of SUSU, the better they will understand it because most of the dissatisfaction with SUSU comes from a misunderstanding of what it is actually achieving for them.
You suggest holding Sabb office hours or “clinics” why do you think this has not been tried/successful before?
I think it’s because people feel that it may not work, as people may not take advantage of those office hours. This is something I will be willing to look into and it may of course be a lack of awareness that they actually exist. Many students don’t realise that they can go along to Union Council and vote on the issues if they want to. That’s why there’s currently plans to do away with the union Council in favour of a less bureaucratic system and that’s one of the main focuses of my manifesto, to reduce bureaucracy and focus on what really matters: getting actions passed and changes made. I feel that if people can directly access a sabbatical officer in open office hours they will be able to get their issue straight to the top, so that actual change can be achieved.
You make the unique call of moving the Bunfight onto 2 days, do you think this could potentially reduce the amount of exposure some societies get to the student body during the Freshers’ period?
It will depend on how well publicised both days of the bun fight are. It would have to be very heavily stressed to the students, but it may not be a problem if it is as well advertised. SUSU could specify specific zones for different days. I remember the main reason, I and my flat were disenchanted from going in first year, Is when we first turned up we were told that there was a two and a half hour queue but we could also find out the information on the website. The combination of those two things meant that I didn’t actually go, which meant that I could have missed out on a society that I wasn’t aware of.
You focus a lot on communication in your manifesto. How would you promote more effective communication between SUSU/societies and the various sub sections of the Union?
This is something I will have to investigate; the reasons why some of the particular parties are not talking. There are communication issues between the societies themselves, university and SUSU. There are a lot of disconnected parties and I need to work out whether the most effective way to do that would be to create a forum where they could talk or to use me or the other sabbs or perhaps create a new role in SUSU specifically for that purpose. Their key job being to resolve such issues, essentially it would be dependent on the logistics of the job.