Candidate Question Time was last night where all your Full-Time Officer candidates took to the stage to answer questions asked by you!
We have given the candidates the chance to write written responses to some different questions we were unable to ask them. Have a read below for the Welfare and Liberation Officer Candidates and remember to vote at https://www.goldsmithssu.org/democracy/elections/
Welfare and Liberation Officer Candidates:
There have been a lot of motions submitted around accessibility this year, what will you do to help make Goldsmiths more accessible?
Firstly, I would continue to push the university to make buildings and doors more accessible by installing a touch system for ID cards rather than swipe system, with a focus on the library and the Assistive Technology Centre. This is something simple that can make the lives of many easier, on a daily basis. I will fight to create more funding opportunities for working class students and those estranged from their families// increase the student hardship fund. In the meantime I want to create workshops to help students with funding applications and ideally set up more support for students from the university with their housing deposits. I would continue the vital work of the BME attainment gap campaign through working closely with BME students. I believe that there should be a formal and confidential process where students are able to openly discuss issues that they face within university experiences where they are taken seriously. Having BAME department reps this year is a great start to this. The university needs to do more to take complaints and concerns seriously. Having experienced various hardships throughout my degree, I have found both the student services and wellbeing centre an extremely stressful environment at times. Standing in a queue when trying to access help has increased my anxiety two fold and many times I have had to leave due to the lighting and environment. I will further progress the improvement of accessibility in processes surrounding mitigating circumstances and RASA. The university needs to make these processes more clear, simple and available. I would aim to make the process for registering to meet with the wellbeing team also available through an online first-come first served system that can be interlinked with the physical sign up sheet.
Welfare and liberation aren't the same thing. How would you balance the two elements of your role to ensure you give them equal time?
Welfare and Liberation are not the same thing but it is important to recognise that there is substantial cross-over. It is marginalised students who are likely to be most in need of welfare support, due to the fact that higher education can be extremely alienating to certain students (e.g. BME dropout rates, homelessness in LGBTQ+ young people, mitigation and RASAs for disabled and unwell students). This said, the two things can’t be addressed completely separately but by making welfare accessible to marginalised students this would be making it more accessible to everyone.Tackling liberation issues will involve speaking to people from different marginalised communities within the university. I don’t necessarily see it in terms of ‘splitting my time’, but rather in terms of addressing very much interconnected issues holistically.
How will you help to support Liberation Officers and ensure they are part of the work you do?
As a previous part-time liberation officer, myself and others felt completely disjointed from the rest of the sabs and had little to no contact with the Welfare and Diversity sab of the time. Because of this, many of the PTOs resigned and as a result marginalised groups within Goldsmiths did not receive the support they needed. I want to make all liberation officers feel supported and included through collaboration on various campaigns and projects. I also want to continue the fight to make sure they are paid (in the same way department reps are) as their labour is valued and shouldn’t be expected for free. This will increase access for students with jobs or caring commitments. My experience as a PTO (LGBTQ+ officer) showed me that approaching issues singularly means that those students experiencing intersecting oppressions are not adequate supported. For this reason, it is important that liberation officers coordinate with each other to address overlapping issues. (Eg: hypothetically, it doesn’t make sense for a BME officer and a trans officer to not be in communication and supporting each others’ campaigns). Acknowledging the overlaps of oppression is crucial and liberation officers are the links to the student body and the sub-communities within it that can help support each other in order to strive for change.
If you could click your fingers and get Goldsmiths to agree to one thing to improve student mental health - what would it be?
Unlimited access to counselling and therapies with immediate responses, same day services and never any waiting lists or queues.
Why should students vote for you?
The key issues in my manifesto are things I have unfortunately had first hand experience within in and outside of Goldsmiths. Because of this, I am fully committed to making these changes and will do everything I can to support students in similar situations. I will engage with students to upkeep the important work of the campaigns I have yet to work on or have less experience with. I believe in centring the voices of marginalised students and in order to ensure this I will host drop-ins with students on liberation and welfare issues. I have experience of the inner-workings of the Student Union from my role as LGBTQ+ Officer, working on the SU bar and being the inclusion officer for Womxns football team. I believe I am fully equipped to address issues which I see the university failing to address in an adequate way; for example, sexual misconduct and transphobia. Vote for me for a new face and some new enthusiasm.