Hi, I’m Shona, and I’m running to be your Welfare and Diversity Officer. Since I’ve been at Goldsmiths, as well as studying for my degree in Fine Art & Art History, I’ve been part of the Students’ Union in lots of ways. In my second year, I was a Department Student Coordinator (DSC), and this year I’m a Department Disabled Student Coordinator (DDSC) as well as being the elected Disabled Students Officer at the SU. Some of the things I’ve done in these roles include representing students’ views to Goldsmiths Senior Management, organising events, and setting up a peer support network for disabled students. I’ve also been involved with various societies and campaigns. I believe in the power we have to work together and make the world a better place for everybody, and as your Welfare and Diversity Officer I want to do everything I can to help make change happen at Goldsmiths.
If elected, these are some of the things I want to focus on:
Accessible Education For Everyone
I believe education should be something that everyone has equal access to, but there are lots of students whose experiences make university more difficult for them. By tackling barriers such as the accessibility issues on campus, the BME attainment gap, lack of awareness around disability, and the alienation felt by lots of working class students, I want to make our university a place where everyone feels at home. This also means holding Goldsmiths to account in their commitment to ‘Liberating The Curriculum’, so that what we learn about reflects the diversity of the world we live in.
Decent & Affordable Housing
This year’s officers have been doing some amazing work with the ‘Cut the Rent’ campaign, and I’ll to continue to support this, putting pressure on Goldsmiths to make halls of residence affordable for students. I also want the SU to give more support for those in private rented housing, by setting up an advice service to help students with housing issues, and making sure students know what our rights are and what we’re entitled to.
It’s so important that everyone feels safe when they’re at university, but for lots of reasons, not everybody does. I’ll ensure our zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment is enforced properly, and that there are clear and open procedures in place so that anyone who does experience this feels able to report what’s happened and know that it will be dealt with. I also want to continue to oppose the government’s Prevent agenda, and tackle Islamophobia and antisemitism on campus.
Addressing The Mental Health Crisis
There’s a mental health crisis in our university, and ignoring it is only making things worse. I think we need to be able to have open and honest conversations about our mental health, and stamp out the stigma attached to mental illness. The support services currently available are underfunded, inadequate, and they’re failing students and staff. If elected I’ll push for better services that meet our needs and address the causes of these issues.
A Union That Works For All Students
In order to represent all Goldsmiths students, the SU needs to engage more broadly with people from across the student body, especially with groups who are often underrepresented, such as mature students, postgraduates, international students and students with dependents. I want the SU to be the first place that students think of going when they have a problem, so I’ll work to expand the Advice service so we can provide students with proper support around a range of issues.