By Charlotte Jude
You’re most likely aware that voting is now open for our new Student Union Presidents, and if not, there’s still plenty of time to get informed and cast your all-important votes! As part of student media’s election coverage, Torch TV hosted this year’s annual Question Time event, which you can find here on their Facebook. However, if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a summary of what each President discussed in their time on the show and what their priorities are.
President of the Student’s Union:
Starting off the evening, Nicole Steele, the Union’s Student Voice Manager introduced candidates Phoebe Bastiani and Ano Manjana, your candidates for the role of President of the Student’s Union. Both candidates displayed passion and knowledge of the role, with Ano relaying how “representing students is something that [he’s] used to” and Phoebe asserting how she seeks re-election to “see things through” and continue to put students first. Some of the ideas proposed by the pair are to continue the virtual presence that has been increased due to the pandemic as well as reaching students firsthand on campus, giving students ample opportunity to contact presidents via forums etc and celebrating students’ achievements.
Ano’s focus throughout the session was on his experience working as a trustee and volunteer and how this will help him in the role, how these roles have caused a personal growth in him which is where his passion comes from and that he hopes to increase the opportunities available to students. Phoebe reiterated how her experience in the role will aid continuity and will help her put her students first. Sharing an equal passion, Phoebe also discussed her current projects: sustainability training, green ambassadors and her Salmon growth wildlife plans and how she believes there is “more to be done” in terms of promoting and celebrating students. Ultimately, both candidates delivered and pushed their manifestos and their relevance.
To read their manifesto’s and get more of an in-depth idea of their plans, click here.
President of Activies:
Following Ano and Phoebe, we have Ellis Leonard who is re-running for the role and current president of RAG and student trustee Huey Arslan. In his opening statement, Huey outlined how he hopes to streamline paperwork for student groups, increase opportunities and bring culture and community back to campus. Ellis began by stating their plans to “fight” for students again, promising equal opportunities and that he will listen to and respond to student demand and work accordingly. Key ideas at the forefront of both parties were bringing in local businesses, widening events across the City and driving recruitment for societies.
Both candidates had their priorities clear, with Huey stating the HUSU app is on his list and that democracy and representation will continue to be his top priorities, and with Ellis relaying his aims to introduce automatic enrollment onto academic societies to build connections and help students develop new skills and fight for student groups.
Click here to read their manifestos.
President of Inclusivity & Diversity:
Now halfway through the event, Nicole introduced the current President of Inclusivity & Diversity: Evie Kyte and City councillor, Holly Burton. Both candidates started strong, with Evie determining that she hopes to continue with her projects which include consent training, celebrating the Universities first Disability History month and increasing accessibility for all students. Holly followed with her plans to engage all student groups, build partnerships with external groups and empower student voices, by giving them the chance to tell their stories in something such as a newsletter, because she believes “nothing is more powerful than a story”.
This round of the show was particularly interesting, as it’s clear that there is a personal unwavering passion from both candidates, to engage in change and empower all student groups, whether they’re on campus or not. This leads to both candidates revealing their plans to include those off-campus via more interactive events which the pandemic has helped kickstart, but also ensuring that these students have equal access to information. Finishing the round, Evie spoke about her ability to adapt to the pandemic and still achieve results and that she hopes to continue bridging gaps by being transparent about how curriculums are being decolonised, preventing the increase of the awarding gap for black students and ensuring students have the support they need. On the other hand, Holly revealed her own experiences with mental health, detailing how those issues have driven her to seek change with the way students access certain support, pointing out that the support students with autism have available needs improvement. She also divulged how she aims to be receptive and that freedom and justice are values “which will be at the forefront of everything [she] do[es]”.
To read their manifestos, follow the link here.
President of Sport:
Beginning this round, current President of Sport Sian Doherty asserts how “sport is coming back and I want to do the same”, laying out her plans to rebuild, rebrand and reboost sport at Hull. Her opponent, and member of the AU exec, Jenny Berthelemey also reveals her plans to focus on recruitment and retention of members and encourage other students to get involved with Sport both on and off-campus. When asked about their plans to support and engage teams after the Coronavirus pandemic, Sian began by detailing her plans to use Welcomefest effectively, increase volunteering and work experience opportunities, promote the Give It A Go sessions and support students who may be intimidated by the competitive sports available by offering recreational groups and activities. Jenny responded with plans to change her Sport’s Woman of the Week to Sports Person to celebrate the achievements of those involved in sport at the university, to work with the local teams Hull has to offer and support those with gym anxiety, particularly women following a survey she conducted.
Concluding with their closing statements, Jenny believes she is best for the role based on her wide experience, her desire to revamp sport at Hull following the pandemic and support students in achieving their goals by being a figure that they can approach to have their problems listened to. Sian then followed saying she has “lived and breathed sport at Hull” and so will provide consistent and effective leadership for all current and future students, whether they’re involved in sport or not.
The link to their manifestos is here.
President of Education:
The final section of the show sees four candidates for the role of President of Education, who are as follows: Callum Best, Grace Burnett, Ovie Enuku and Peace Igi-Ehon. Here’s a rundown of what each candidate discussed:
Grace began by detailing her previous experience working as head of the Education zone and how her main focus will be on academic support for all students, which she hopes to acquire by being a friendly face for students to approach about any issues they’re facing. When asked why people should vote for her, Grace thanks her current role and the opportunities it has presented her with ahs allowed her to become a better version of herself, which she wants to use to put students first and become the echo of their voices.
Next up was Peace, who started off acknowledging the “cracks” in our education system that have been highlighted by the pandemic and how she hopes to continue self-certification, improve personal supervision and open up the library. Having already spoken to students, she signposts how students want better support and inclusivity when it comes to their education and that she hopes to provide this for all students. Closing up, she declared that she’s “ready to work hard” and be receptive to student feedback.
Shortly following was Ovie, who focused on getting value for money, providing assistance for students and working with the university to ensure a safe graduation is held. When asked why people should vote for him, Ovie stated his experience representing post-graduate students has instilled a passion in him to help students find their voice and get their problems resolved, whatever their background, faculty or degree level.
Last but not least was Callum, who kickstarted his answer by expressing his passion for education and explaining how he wants to “affect the future” by making the problems made obvious this year better for students. Talking about his current role as course rep, his passion to encourage and recruit in this area was apparent. Overall, he believes people should vote for him because he will “relentlessly devote” himself to the job, promising transparency, accountability and a willingness to understand each and every student and their issues.
All candidates in this category also expressed their desire to minimise awarding gaps between student groups, ensure value for money across all areas and encourage students to come forward with their issues which they hope to resolves.
Check out their manifestos here to get more in-depth information on the issues discussed.
So there we have it, a comprehensive report detailing the important issues discussed during Monday’s Question Time event. Many thanks to our partners Torch TV for hosting the event and making it accessible for everyone, to Nicole Steele for presenting the event and all of our incredible candidates for taking part.
To vote before it closes on Friday, follow the link here.