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Employability and fairness underpin Daniel-Sean Huisman’s campaign for Vice President (Education). The former Bowland President makes the ambitious claim that he will focus on ensuring current music students “get the degree they are paying for, and if not [I’ll] fight for their compensation”, a situation he feels would only be fair if music staff lose their jobs and students are effectively taught by “substitute teachers”. Fairness also plays a part in another of his campaign pledges: to get rid of college membership fees, which he finds “unjustifiable” on top of the “£9000 a year” paid in tuition fees by most students.
On employability, Huisman wants to address the employment prospects of students graduating with 2:2s or thirds. He plans to run workshops with employers who “are still looking for people who have still got a good degree from a university like Lancaster”, and wants to focus particularly on students who “are getting 2:2s, who know they are, they’re working hard, they’ve done all these other brilliant things like JCRs or societies, so I’d like to run workshops just so people can get a bit more information and know that they can still apply for graduate jobs”.
Huisman points to past experience in organising employability events to prove he can be effective in this aim. “As President I ran an employability event in Bowland College,” he explains. “I was also pro bono officer for the Law Society, and one of the events I ran as that was employability workshops for prisoners. I think if I can run employability workshops for prisoners I’m pretty sure I can help students.”
For all the experience he feels these roles may have given him, Huisman has never held an officer position with a purely education based remit before. As president he did sit on LUSU’s Academic Council, but explains: “I did not run for CCO (Cross Campus Officer) Education, the reason being I don’t believe CCOs should be a stepping stone to FTO (Full Time Officer). I still wanted to be involved in LUSU and run campaigns, but I wanted to have more of a generic remit.”
For those who have taken up an education remit Huisman has plans, though not necessarily new ideas. He wants to reverse the removal of Faculty representatives from LUSU Council, branding that a “mistake”. He also offers the possibility of getting some department representatives onto the decision making body. He wants to increase awareness of the department representative system though is sketchy as to how. Although a fan of the new Department Representative Conference, he did not play an active role in its organisation this year: “I do love the idea of this department rep conference but I think it should be moved to the beginning of the year, so they can go through training, we can tell them [department reps] what they can achieve and then tell them things like – because a lot more will have to come from them – tell them things like email your students.”
On the library, Huisman would argue for “more flexible rooms”, going from group work spaces in the first two terms to silent study rooms during summer. “I would like to see a better eating space,” he adds. “At the moment it’s a bit like a dungeon, a cafe in the library would be brilliant: a central place for people to eat and chat so that when they are working they’re working.”