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This year there are only two candidates for the President position:
- Oliver Robinson
- Timothy Lloyd- Judson
In our interview we discussed the candidate’s motivations for running for the role, their manifesto promises and their opinions on the relationship between university management and the student body.
Oliver’s primary motivation is that he just isn’t done yet as President. He completed most of his manifesto in his first term but knows he needs to remain President to make sure that the remainder of his promises are put into place. Oliver wants to hand over the job to the next President and be able to say that the union is in good shape going forward and doesn’t feel like it is at that point yet.
Timothy’s main reason for running was discovering that only Oliver was standing in the Presidential election. He was disappointed by the drop-off from eight candidates last year to only Oliver this year. By running he says he is making sure the position is not devalued and he wants to see more people get involved with the process of student politics. Timothy thinks that the fact the student population doesn’t care about student politics is a poor reflection of the union. Timothy wants students to come together for issues beyond keeping Sugar open. Ultimately, Timothy just wants to make the process more accessible and engage the students as a whole.
When asked what their top priorities are if they were elected Oliver said that reopening Sugar would be his top priority alongside securing the financial stability of the SU and implementing the democracy measures outlined in the coming referendum. Timothy’s top priority if he were elected was also to reopen Sugar as soon as possible. The first thing that he would do would be to try to make connections and build relationships with everyone in the SU and management.
When asked about what the upcoming vote of no confidence in the Vice-Chancellor (VC) and university senior management means for the relationship between the students and management, Timothy said that it reflects a bad relationship. Timothy sees a divide between what the students want and what management wants. He says that this is the opposite of how it should be. Timothy would try to establish rapport with the VC as soon as possible if he was elected (provided the vote of no confidence fails).
Oliver sees the referendum as another indication of the way in which the university management is not being responsive to the needs of the student body. He hears a lot from university management about how they are doing the best for students and that they really care about the student experience. Oliver’s usual response to them is that they aren’t doing what students want, rather what management thinks they want. Oliver thinks the university has a duty of care for students whether they live on campus or in the city and that the referendum represents the fact that students think that management has mishandled the pandemic.
When asked to summarise why students should vote for him, Timothy said: ‘I hope that this has shown you how positive engagement can be brought about, taught you more about the union and got you more involved in stuff you wouldn’t have done before. That’s what this campaign is about- showing how you can create positive engagement. For the students it’s up to you to decide who has the actual political knowledge here and who’s doing this for the meme, you decide’. Oliver wanted to summarise by saying: ‘In me, you’ll get a president with a record of successfully pushing through a wide variety of reforms and programmes from helping out the rent strikers to helping push through complex constitutional reform. I hope I have been a President who has been able to respond to the real issues as you see them and I hope I can be better at that going forward. I will always be led by the membership on what they think is important. Ultimately, my manifesto could be chucked out entirely and my one commitment would be to do what you tell me to.’