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Wessex Scene were able to interview Benedict Madan about their campaign to be the next Union President.
Benedict elected to answer these questions during an interview.
Why did you apply for the role of Union President?
I saw the posters up with the information on it, and I saw that and I thought, “yep, why not, that looks like fun, it looks like an interesting thing to do.” Not much has happened so far because I haven’t really done much, but I’ve been asked questions on the website and I’ve put things on the Instagram today and that’s pretty much what’s been going on.
If you were elected, what would be your top three areas of focus?
I had those pretty much narrowed down. Today, on the Instagram story, people can look there and see, but the three areas of focus I wish to look at.
Number one, we need to get rid of the printers, because we have too many printers around the university. It doesn’t make sense having them there, because ultimately what that ends up meaning is that ultimately we’re just printing out loads and loads of paper for essays and all sorts of things that could be kept online, and ultimately that’s just unsustainable. There’s no need for that.
Secondly, we’re going to not to allow cars on university premises, because I don’t like them.
Thirdly, ID cards – they’re very confusing and I’m not a fan of them, and also my one doesn’t work and I’ve tried to get a new one, and I just think it would just be better if we got rid of them, it would be easier. But people can have a look at that – I put it on the Instagram story today, on the SUSU website, for the takeover thing, people can have a look on that.
What’s something SUSU provides that you like, and what’s something that you would like to change?
I don’t really know, I haven’t really gotten that involved with it. I haven’t really gotten involved with it so can’t really comment, it’s something I haven’t really gotten involved with until now.
What do you think are the main problems with the current role of Union president and how would you go about fixing these?
There doesn’t seem to be any real area of re-elections, it seems the Union President seems to be in place for three years, is it? And there’s no actual opportunity to get rid of them, I’m not sure how I would go about fixing that. If I ended up getting voted in, it seems like people should probably be aware from how I have been running this campaign that I am not at all prepared for the role, and basically they should pretty much expect that really, and they can’t really do much about that. They can’t really reverse that. I don’t know unless there’s some sort of committee against that, I have no idea how the role works. Maybe – I don’t know if I’m going to get disqualified for not knowing how the role works, because I have-
You won’t get disqualified, I think at the end of the day for SUSU elections you have to be quite brave to put yourself up for them, and just the fact that you’re willing to sign up and have a go says a lot about your character as it is, it says that you’re very brave, I really like that you’re willing to admit that you don’t really know, I really think that there’s a really raw authenticity about that, that you don’t really get with certain candidates, and I’m sure that the student body would appreciate that.
Yeah, I’m completely unprepared for the role, and I don’t think it’s particularly likely that I will get in. This sort of answers the first question more than anything else, but I don’t think I’m going to actually get in. I was satisfied with the fact that there’s not going to be personal attacks on the candidates and whatnot, who are running, that sort of thing is a good thing, there just didn’t seem to be a good reason not to, I thought it seemed like it would be a fun thing to do. I have no idea what I would do if I was in that position. My position – I’m sure you can see that a lot of the stuff I’ve put there – is not there to be taken seriously, I have no actual clue what would happen if I got in. I had the question asked to me on the SUSU website, and someone asked me what would happen if I got elected and my response to that was just that if I got elected I would serve as your President but there is no actual plan. If people do end up voting for me I think they should already be aware that there is no actual plan that I have. They ought to know what they’re getting into. I don’t know if I’ll be disqualified for saying this, you’re not allowed to talk about other candidates, but I’m not going to be voting for myself, I’m going to be voting for another candidate. I won’t say who it is because I don’t think you’re allowed to say anything in favour of the other candidates, but I am not going to be voting for myself. I don’t know who is going to be voting for me. I guess people who are very dissatisfied with the way things are, perhaps, I’m not sure. I can’t really see. I have no idea what I’m actually doing, I’ve only really done this because I thought it would be interesting. That’s basically where I’m at.
Obviously, there was this whole thing in January, and concerns about student voice, in the most casual way of forming the question, what were your opinions on that and the university’s reaction to the student voice and SUSU?
I do actually have an opinion on this – this didn’t affect me, but the way the university handled this was bad. I wasn’t affected by this because the course I study meant that I wasn’t doing in-person exams – I was doing gobbet assignments – but the fact that the university’s policy to keep doing the in-person exams while not providing a way to make sure people could do these things while being socially-distanced, it’s kind of unnerving that that’s the sort of attitude that’s being taken towards the pandemic and whatnot. It’s not something that I’m in favour of. From what I could tell, this wasn’t something that SUSU were in favour of, that’s disheartening, I’m not sure how anyone’s going to tackle the bad things that the university have done, let alone myself, or what’s going to be done. I’m probably not going to have to deal with this, that’s part of the reason I ran. If I do, somehow, end up getting elected, I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen, but that probably won’t happen.