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Current LUSU Councillor Anna Lee has been voted in as LUSU’s new VP (Welfare and Community), fending off competition from David Whitlock and Ryan Walker to win by 170 votes.
Speaking to SCAN after the results were announced, Lee was clearly overjoyed by her victory. “It hasn’t really set in yet. I’m so exhausted from all the campaigning, I need a good night’s sleep for it to really set in properly but it feels incredible.”
Lee feels that her committed campaigning possibly made the difference when it came down to the vote. “I was out in the square from nine o’clock, in the bars every night speaking to as many people as possible but I also hope they voted for me because they agreed with what I wanted the Union to become which is to break down more and more barriers for students and make LUSU a genuinely diverse place.”
The importance of diversity and support for all students regardless of race, gender, sexuality, is something Lee recognised as important in her campaign and believes that the student body really engaged with these values. She said that people really engaged with her slogan ‘breaking down barriers’. It’s that more and more people are realizing that there is structural racism, transphobia, homophobia and misogyny within society and within structures like LUSU.
“I want to break as many of those barriers down and I think that really has caught on with people. For example we’ve only had six women as LUSU president, we’ve only had three black full-time officers. That’s not good enough, we should be doing better.”
The lack of diversity in the Union is some that Lee thought was exemplified during the election process, as most nominees were white male. “If you look at the team selected. We are all white.
“If you look at the diversity of the student populace, it’s impossible that the best four people for those roles are white. It’s just not possible and it’s making sure that we actively make sure that everyone who wants to run, is interested in these areas, feels able to run and genuinely supported.”
Supporting diversity and supporting all students at Lancaster is something which Lee says she will make a priority in the role. When asked what she would hope to achieve over the next year Lee hoped that she could address the issues of diversity which have been evident during this week’s election.
“A year from now, I want to be looking at the candidates running in the election and … be able to tangibly tell that they are a genuinely diverse group. And [I want to] to make sure that it is purely down to the fact that we’ve supported people rather than say any form of tokenism and it’s because brilliant people are running.”
Before coming into the role Lee says she will remain committed to student politics and the values which helped to get her elected into the role. “I have three NUS conferences that I’m going to and [I will be] representing students there through different mediums, whether it be as a member of the NUS women’s committee or as a delegate from Lancaster but representing students and shaping the national movement to be as close to in line with what LUSU is going to be doing next year.”
Update: a previous edition of this article suggested Anna Lee was the first openly trans woman to be elected to a Full-Time Officer position at a UK university. This was incorrect.