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Seph says it was their passion for helping people that made them first think they wanted the role. Seph said: “I’m disabled, I’m queer, there’s a lot of things that mean that I understand what it is and how important it is to feel like you belong,” and that fundamentally “I just want to help people”.
Being elected onto Manchester youth council was one of the experiences they cited as preparation for the role, as “I did things like applying for funding, organising big events, big schemes, campaigns.” While living in Scarborough, Seph was part of an organisation that “helped homeless people to find housing.”
They cited their unique selling point as a strong belief in intersectionality and their ability to add to “a variety of voices” to the Students’ Union as they come from a “a few minority groups.” They also made clear that they would be available and accessible to everyone in office.
Seph says that they would get a lot out of the role, as “helping people is a massive part of my life,” and “I just want to do that as a full time job.” They say that the current system of part time officers and liberation groups is largely effective, but thinks there is more to be done in terms of being “more outspoken.”
One of their key issues would be inclusivity, as they feel that the University doesn’t go far enough in promoting inclusive language, ie “people instead of man/woman.” They feel that a major issue is exclusion because of ignorance, saying “its not always malicious, but it has the same effect whether people mean to exclude or not.”
When asked if the University goes far enough in educating its students on consent, Seph says that they try but don’t go far enough. “A lot of the consent workshops and things that they’ve put on are really heteronormative,” with a sole focus on men raping women. “Its just not necessarily as good as it could be.”
One area where Seph thinks the university is failing to provide equal opportunities is on the issue of trans rights. “A really tiny example but so what’s so important is in the registration form when you come back each year and you have to re-register, the things for sex and gender are mixed up, so you have to misgender yourself as a trans person to fill that in, and that’s not cool.”
Their manifesto details an ambition to encourage meat-free Mondays on campus “along the same route as Green Lancaster and the discounts on certain places for a reusable coffee cup. Because I’m not entirely sure on all the details but that’s obviously worked.”
They also want to introduce a system that will allow people with similar interests to meet each other, “almost like a dating site.” They said that “some people who don’t feel comfortable going to massive groups and stuff,” and that this will increase accessibility.