"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. -- Toni Morrison
Hey I'm Sara Bafo (she/her) your current Welfare and Liberation officer, I'm back at it again, running for another year but this time to be your president.
After spending almost a year in this job campaigning and representing you, I now fully understand the external and internal barriers this institution puts in place to limit radical organising, and I now know what to pour my energy into to work towards establishing a university that is truly about transforming society and not about exploiting and upholding violent structures.
· I continually held the senior management team to account:
· I spoke up for systematically marginalised groups in every space
· Created spaces for students to organise radically
Some of the things I worked on throughout the year:
· Lobbied for Jummah prayers to be accommodated for in timetables
· Co-created a 'mutual aid project' that provides free food packages for students and local community members
· Worked on the Goldsmiths Anti-Racist demands such as releasing the annual 20k Black GARA fund,
· Restructured the Student Union, including implementing a cultural review
· Worked closely with Goldsmiths Rent Strike, supporting negotiations and demands for better conditions and treatment of students
· Reviewed the SU's Against Sexual Violence project and co-launched a successful 'Take Survivours Seriously' campaign when funding was threatened
Here's what I will do:
Take Back and Revolutionise OUR Union pt2:
I've spent the last year trying to make the SU more democratically run and student-led, with a particular focus on often excluded liberation groups; I will:
· Implement stronger accountability measures for ALL SU staff members
· Employ staff explicitly for political and radical work
· Review the SU safe space policy
· Ensure that a governance review/cultural review of the SU takes place every two years
· Finally get rid of the president role as it creates unnecessary hierarchies that the senior management team uses to their benefit
· Replace the president role with a new role decided by students
Mental Health and Accessibility pt2:
· Continue working on a Mental Health Action Plan
· Improve the RASA/Hardship fund application process
· Lobby for Black and PoC students to be able to cite systemic racism as reasons to apply for extensions circumstance and RASA's
· Create more rest areas across campus for students and staff with chronic pain
· Continue to fight isolation and loneliness, especially for International students by creating care spaces, monthly open meetings etc
· Continue to ensure that the well-being services are culturally competent
Racial Justice and liberation work:
My campaigning history at Goldsmiths over the last few years shows that I will be committed to focusing on and centring racial justice work; I will:
· Take action on the BAME awarding gap data, especially with the new shocking data!
· Ensure and Lobby for the rest of the GARA demands to be met
· Focus on 'liberate the university' and 'decolonising the curriculum' work
· Continue to create care spaces for Black + PoC students
· Lobby for Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) to become a recognised Union at Goldsmiths
· Continue to challenge the college's decision that often perpetuates inequalities
I will also:
· Fight alongside all liberation groups unapologetically!.
· Fight against the Prevent agenda nationally.
· Work with different SUs to develop national campaigns for tuition fee/rent rebates.
· Continue to support Black-owned businesses in the area.
· Make our campus and SU more accessible to the local community.