FTOs should be professional individuals

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‘Professional’. The word describes an individual who is paid to do a job and the appropriate manner in which those people conduct themselves. The LUSU Full Time Officers are paid individuals, with their main role being the representation of students. It must be hard, behaving in a suitable manner for the limbo state that lies between student life and the business context of LUSU, but some do a great job of it. Some however, wouldn’t know what ‘professional’ meant it if punched them in the clique… sorry, cheek.

It might be a bit narcissistic to talk about SCAN in SCAN, but as I have (intentionally) little involvement with student politics, the elections for next year’s editor was one of the only times I’ve experienced the FTOs in person, so it seems an appropriate place to start. The current VP Welfare and Community, Mia Scott, and next year’s VP Campaigns and Communications, Katie Capstick, came to support their fellow students. Oh wait, Katie came to ask (in words to this effect) about how well each editor could see themselves getting on with her, in reference to some personal disagreements she had with the SCAN members when she was running for election.

Then, in response to a question, one candidate mentioned possibly asking Katie for some of her funding next year, and Katie muttered (loudly) that if he were to become editor, he “wouldn’t be getting any of it.” I’m in no way saying that he would have been deserving of the funding, but remember, Katie is meant to be a professional individual here to support all students; you’d think she’d have kept her reservations to herself until after the elections at least. This cavalier attitude reminds me of a tweet Mia made in response to someone expressing concerns about Katie’s election as FTO: ‘you don’t have to prove anything to him, Katie’. Er…

After the SCAN elections, Mia went home to call someone an ‘absolute lying gobshite’ on Overheard at Lancaster, which got her removed from the group for a bit. She was referring to someone who said LUSU issued a cease and desist on the unofficial Grad Ball which was being organised at one stage. It seems that the person who said this was actually a Facebook troll, but regardless of who said what and whether or not they were in the wrong, the Vice President for Welfare and Community went onto the largest online space for Lancaster students and called someone an ‘absolute lying gobshite’. I don’t need to go over the word ‘professional’ again do I?

I try and stay away from all this, because sometimes it feels like being in the playground in year 8, but frankly, I can’t avoid how the VP Welfare and Community’s lack of professionalism has burnt a hole in my laptop this year. I was lucky enough to get a break from it when she deleted her Facebook (possibly the main platform where she might become aware of vulnerable students) for a while, because of ‘too many irrelevant keyboard warriors’. You know, those irrelevant people she represents.

Before she did though, Mia had a go at someone for writing a status that was sceptical of Katie being elected (notice a theme?), arguing ‘I thought you were more supportive of women in leadership than this.’ Bloody keyboard warriors eh? Don’t worry, I’m waiting for the mandatory ‘prejudice’ response to this article too, even though I’d be writing with the exact same stance if the people I was talking about were male. If anything’s prejudice, it’s people in power being selective of who they represent. (She later apologised for being too upfront about the issue due to the influence of alcohol; talk about profe- wait, you got there before me, right?)

I’m turned off enough from student politics that I don’t know or care about the ins and outs of it all, but it is blatant that certain individuals who are paid to represent the whole student body do not represent the whole student body. They represent whoever they choose – one could ask why they ran for election in the first place. To have a place of work where they can rock up at 11am without getting into too much trouble perhaps? Somewhere where it’s ok to squabble amongst your co-workers? The buzz of spitefully VNC’ing someone on their last day of council? And these are just the things we’ve heard about. Would you feel comfortable raising a personal issue with some of these people? I certainly wouldn’t.

We’re paying to be here, I don’t need to remind you how much. The university gives a portion of that money to LUSU, and in turn LUSU pay the FTOs to represent us. In some instances, I’d rather take my money to the top of Bowland tower, fold each note into a paper aeroplane and throw them one by one across campus. Hopefully that would brighten a few people’s days. And I promise not to tell my friendship group where and when I’m going to throw them; money’s involved, that would be unprofessional.

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Simon James

Any excuse to write about Oasis really.

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