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Believes University needs to set fees at £9000
Wants to use the web to increase communication between officers and students
Increase awareness of what LUSU does across campus
Mark Lord feels that primarily his previous position as a college president has inspired him to run for the role of LUSU President. He also said that “I’ve always sort of seen myself, not in an arrogant way, in a leadership role, I feel that’s what my skillset is best suited to, I enjoy co-ordinating and leading a team”.
The former Cartmel JCR President’s solution to the issue of giving his team of vice presidents equal attention is to “be as available as possible, really,” but he acknowledged that “obviously I don’t want to start being this person who’s constantly in everyone else’s office asking what they’re doing and telling them how to do their job”. He said he would favour a balanced approach; “I’d try to steer people in the right direction but I’m not going to be extremely intervening in everyone’s day to day work.”
In leading a students’ union for over 12,000 students Lord was asked how he would keep everyone involved in communication. He answered “Well, point one on my manifesto is communication, I think that that is somewhere that LUSU is potentially not as good as it could be at.”
Lord cited his previous positions as a Faculty Representative, Sports Representative and Block of Six officer for experience in communicating and co-ordinating teams. He also highlighted the out of office hour campaign he was part of, “which was aimed at just giving people information about LUSU”.
Lord wasn’t wholly critical, stating “I think the problem with LUSU has been that we’re very good at communicating between officers but now the next step is to get that communication out to the wider population of campus and off campus, and I hope to do that.”
Lord is also keen to produce a booklet “that literally outlines what LUSU can do for you as a Union and send it to people before they get here so that there’s an instant awareness”.
Asked what he would have done differently to this year’s president, Lord returned to his previous answer. “I
think communication. I mean, Robbie [Pickles] has been exceptional at communicating with Cross Campus Officers this year, we’re finally working as like a team, but I mean it’s all well and good us knowing what we’re doing, what about everyone else?”
Lord would also “up the fight” on securing more flat floor space for societies. He said “I know that that’s in the process anyway but it’s something that I really want to work on”.
On the subject of tuition fees, Lord was forthright. “Right, I’ll be quite honest, I think it should be, regrettably, £9,000.” He reasoned that “obviously I don’t condone the initial rise in tuition fees at all, but sadly if we’re in this situation I think £9,000 has to be the way to go, just to remain competitive as a university.” Lord added “we would expect to pay the top rate, if we weren’t to do that it would make people question Lancaster University as an institute.”
Asked whether the largely varied roles he has occupied reflect a lack of focus, Lord countered that “it reflects a keen interest in all aspects of LUSU and the University.” He explained that “I never got here wanting to be LUSU president I’ve just kind of got more and more interested as I’ve gone, gotten into it”, going on to argue that “I could very easily have gone for positions that led to being president but I’ve never been that careerist in my officerships”.
Lord’s stance on alleged careerism between JCR officers and LUSU positions was balanced. He acknowledged that “there’s quite clearly a trend of going from a JCR executive position to a LUSU officer position”, but reasoned it is mostly warranted through experience. “I did my term as Cartmel president and finished and in the term since I’ve thought about running for LUSU president”.
Having stated that his term in office would be forward thinking and wide ranging, Lord was asked for specifics that would fulfil such descriptions. He answered that “obviously the manifesto has to reflect all aspects of LUSU, so that’s an aim and that’s the wide ranging side of things”. Lord has planned ahead, arguing “it’s not just about coming in for a year doing everything based around this one year’s work, it’s actually about building the foundations for future presidents and future FTO people.”
Lord is ready to combat the effect of it being a single year in office. “I think a real problem could be the short term among the officers, and I’m determined not to let that happen.”
Alongside planning for the future, Lord also hopes to launch several things within his term in office. A LUSU web portal for communicating with officers and staff was one such idea. Questions “will get directed to the right person and then in theory that can be responded to very quickly”.
Lord also wants LUSU’s influence felt around campus more, and noticed. “I’d like to see things like signs going up in Central that say 30p from every pound that you spend is reinvested into… whatever.” He also wants to show LUSU is a professional organisation, running Winter Officer Conference training on JCR public awareness to “drastically help in getting people to run for JCR exec positions.”
Asked whether the fact he is still gathering opinions from students reflects a lack of solid plans, Lord referred to his earlier answers. “To give those as examples, I said communication is an issue and I want to combat that with the web portal, with the booklet, with reinvestment times. Similarly, space- I’m looking towards the bid for the sports centre. Tuition fees? Answer, fight for the block grant increase.”
Reverting back to the idea of communication, Lord stressed that he wanted to be open. “I don’t want to be making decisions just say in my office when no one has had any input on it. That would pretty much nullify point one of my manifesto.”