‘Let’s Talk About the Union’ – SU Election 2020

By Joshua Wade – AHSS Vice Presidential Candidate – It’s time for change, not more of the same. Since 2017, I have been studying Politics here at Anglia Ruskin…

Let’s Talk About the Union. Successes, Failures and Why It’s Time to Vote Joshua Wade for Vice President of AHSS

By Joshua Wade – AHSS Vice Presidential Candidate

It’s time for change, not more of the same. Since 2017, I have been studying Politics here at Anglia Ruskin. Although my time here has been extremely great: making friends, improving academically, and growing as a person, I believe that a lot can be achieved to improve your Union and the University. By definition, a union should be there to represent you – the student. The Union has done some good, such as global week and freshers fair, but they have also achieved some great failures. Most notably, not fighting to keep Books Plus. As a result, students that started in September are now up to £1,200 worse off by the time they have finished their studies. The nursery was torn down, scrapped, and not replaced leaving mature parent students having to choose between studying or parenting. The final failure is the most damming. According to their own accounts, which are public for all to see, they lost £37,000* in the last fiscal year (2018/19). I am running because I want to keep what’s good and fix what’s bad. I have a fight on my hands, and I am a happy outsider.

Many of my opponents are heavily tied into the SU, either as employees or course reps. I admire their commitment to our Union. They have experience in dealing with the SU, strong ties with current representatives and have a clear passion for the Union. However, sometimes being so close to an institution can mean you fail to see the serious shortcomings. As an outsider, I can bring a fresh perspective into the Union – one that is more akin to the average student. Since I started my journey at ARU, I have been listening to students that don’t feel part of the Union, observing the removal of Books Plus and recently been concerned about my EU national friends. I am seriously passionate about making current and future students experiences better than mine. A Student Union that is a Union, not just in name only. A University that puts the priorities of the students first, not the meaty wages of senior management. We need change, not more of the same. Here are my 3 flagship policies to transform this ‘Union’ into a Union for all students.

  1. Bring Back Books Plus. It is a shame that the Union capitulated over the issue of Books Plus. The ill-informed substitute isn’t good enough, and the unnecessary obsession of addressing inequality is hurting all students. Inequality is a serious issue in wider society, and it must be addressed. However, as students, we are all in the same boat. The removal of Books Plus hasn’t reduced inequality – it’s just made all students poorer.
  2. Putting the mental in health. Being a student, particularly in your final year, is a daunting and stressful moment. Do you ever look at the mounting piles of work that you have, and think “how am I going to get through this”? As a third-year with a mountain of work, I know how you feel. The Union must make mental health a top priority. Loneliness, anxiety, depression and stress are all factors that need to be addressed urgently. My plan to combat these issues is to not only increase mental health provisions, but also to ensure the SU supports students who need that little bit of help.
  3. Brexit doesn’t have to mean students exit. We must support EU students through this stressful period, particularly with the threat of a no-deal Brexit as the transition period ends in December 2020. We can, and must, lobby the government to ensure the rights and protections for EU students are guaranteed. Non-EU students must also be protected as the UK is going through a change of direction in the world. An open, inclusive and embracing society that welcomes all students from all backgrounds and all nationalities is vital for the health of Universities across the UK.

So, why should you vote for me? I want to make the Students Union a true Union, sticking up for the rights and expectations of all students. It is scandalous that the Union didn’t fight for Books Plus. We cannot allow such a lack of willingness to fight for students interests to continue. A vote for me is a vote for a passionate fighter. I will not stop championing your views, your interests and your concerns as I believe the students of this University deserve better. If you elect me as Vice President for AHSS, I will answer to you, and to you only.

Here is a link to my full manifesto for you to see – http://bit.ly/2PJDQmw

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

* This figure was amended on March 10th. Previously, this article indicated a loss of £150,000. This figure did not take into account pension contributions and other factors. After discussions with the Students Union, the true figure is a £37,000 loss. These figures can be found here.

Image: Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

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