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Joshua Woolf is the incumbent president of the Students’ Union. He is running for re-election, and gave his main reason for his potential return as wanting to “give back” the benefits he has enjoyed from the Union. He stated “it’s an honour to represent all the students here.”
When questioned on his experience he mentioned that in addition to being the current SU President, he has been President of two other societies and well as being involved in other voluntary work both in and outside of university life. “Every president, no matter what they tell you, loses a lot of time in the first few months learning how to do the role”, he said.
What sets him apart from the other candidates? His determination he says, claiming that he will do “whatever is needed to get the job done.” In office he says his first priority would be to continue his fight to lower cost of living, though it would depend on the team elected along with him.
Joshua admitted that the Union was struggling with scrutiny, and said it was difficult for officers to communicate what they are doing to students because “they are so busy doing those things.” He wants to diversify from the Union’s scrutiny panel and pointed to his blog as improving transparency.
He wants to improve the visibility of the Union by getting the “officers out of the office” and communicating with students. When asked how he would find out what students really want he answered succinctly – “asking them”, and emphasised his preference for face to face interactions and referendums to gauge student opinion.
Claiming that his experience has shown the University will often try to ignore the Union, he pointed to his ability to work with other factions in the bodies of university governance as his way of standing up for student interests. He said strength his was “picking his battles.”
Challenged on the rise in rent, parking costs and disruption from construction, Joshua mounted a vigorous defence of his actions as President. On the parking situation he claimed that the price of a student parking permit is around £30 cheaper than the proposed price because he “fought and fought against that”. He blamed the increase in other parking fees as down to the 2016-2017 Full Time Officers.
Joshua also took credit for the final completion date of the Spine, which is scheduled to be completed this summer. He says he has secured this as a “promise” from the University, and claims to have cut out six months of extra Spinework developments so that students could enjoy, saying the last thing he wanted was “a student being here for three years and never getting to experience it”.
On his pop-up union, he mulled over the idea of extending it to a weekly rather than fortnightly basis, but said that “in all honesty… asking all six officers every week is just too much”. However he said that there may be some scope for other elements of the Students’ Union to fill in the gaps every other week.