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Meet the candidates running for Equality, Liberation and Access Officer in the SU elections

Voting closes on Thursday

With this year's SU election fully in swing, it's time to meet the candidates who could be running Bristol SU next year. Take a look at their answers to get more information on who to vote for. But, be quick — voting is only open from 12-14 of March!

Lois Plummer

Masters in Ethnicity and Multiculturalism

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What makes you the best candidate for this role?

"I’m passionate about equality and am a level-headed person. I feel like this means that I’d be good at listening to the students’ issues and translating these to University officials to affect change. My master’s degree is linked to this area and my dissertation is about the lack of representation of black and Caribbean students in Russel Group Universities, so this is an area I’m really interested in."

What is the most impressive part of your manifesto?

"The main point behind my manifesto is about diversifying the University and getting marginalised voices heard. It is so important that everyone can see their identity represented at the Uni, whether you’re part of the BME community, Trans, LGBT, Women, Disability…

"A main issue is that students are unsure of where to go to report abuse. There needs to be a clear place to go which is publicised, so that students know they can get the support they need and not have to worry about racism or harassment, for example.

I think a big issue is the impersonal relations between students and personal tutors. There needs to be a better matching procedure with regards to Tutors and Minority students, so everyone feels like they can express themselves fully. Students can often feel uncomfortable talking to a tutor of the opposite sex, or from a vastly different background to them."

What’s the biggest change you want to bring to UoB students?

"My aim is to reduce the stigma surrounding Bristol Uni. I want to make all students feel like they can be here, that they have earned their place here, and can fit into this space because there is a diverse group of people around them. I want to make sure everyone has the best experience they can, even if that is just being in a seminar and not feeling like a token individual. University is about having fun and learning about yourself, so you can grow as a person."

Where’s your favourite place to go on a Bristol night out?

"My flatmates and I love Mbargos. It’s such an easy night that throws you right back to being 12, listening to old bangers. The first time we went there we thought it was going to be a deep house night – a happy mistake though!"

Catreya Mably

1st year Liberal Arts

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What makes you the best candidate for this role?

"I’ve always been an empathetic person, but as I’ve gotten older it has become more about standing up for other people. The elephant in the room is that I’m a first year but I think that makes me a better candidate for the role. I’m more in touch with what first years want and need, and will have the second year experience too. It also means that I will have two years to be held accountable for the decisions I make, so no running away!!"

What is the most impressive part of your manifesto?

"My main goal is to make sure the University does more research into the disabled community as there is currently not enough being done. They need to look into accessibility on a wide-scale throughout all the campuses, not just certain sites. There needs to be more understanding of how a student’s learning can be altered by being disabled."

What’s the biggest change you want to bring to UoB students?

"As a university, we are all one community. I want to make people more aware of being accepting of others by ensuring liberation issues are more accessible for those who don’t fall into minority groups, especially for first years. At the moment there is virtually no discussion when we should all be standing up against discrimination. I want to make sure that all societies and networks have a first-year rep to reach out and play an active role in translating issues to their year group. Welcome talks during freshers week also need to be more aware of different uni experiences."

Where’s your favourite place to go on a Bristol night out?

"Definitely The Fleece – I love indie and rock music. I don’t drink so the music is much more important to me. Plus it is a small venue so there is less unwanted attention!"

Jason Palmer

3rd year Politics and IR

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What makes you the best candidate for this role?

"A couple of things. Firstly I’ve got practical experience in policy making which is largely what the full time officer role at the Union involves, in terms of forming policy and then executing it strategically, and making that fit within the vision of both the Union and the University. So the practical experience I’ve had in terms of running my own LGBT charity and working in policy roles in, for example, the UN High Commission for Refugees is the sort of thing that is essential for being able to effectively execute any manifesto point.

"Secondly, I’m just massively invested, as I’m sure other candidates, in seeing this change executed. I’ve been actively involved in things such as Support our Services to improve the University wellbeing service and generally in Student Politics by also holding a position on the Democratic Standards Committee with helps in the formulation of motions for the SU Annual Members Meeting and Student Council.

"So it’s a combination of the passion I have for the issues that ELA represents but also executing actual change that makes me the best placed candidate."

What is the most impressive part of your manifesto?

"Interesting. I think it depends how you define 'impressive'. Some are the things are the obvious changes that should be taking place which haven’t really taken place. So something like including gender pronouns on U-Cards seems quite intuitive but no-one has done it. In that way it might seem impressive just because of the reach that it has to 26,000 students.

"A more honest definition of the term impressive would be the new things I’d be contributing to the role. I’m hoping to pioneer the continuing overhaul of the sexual violence policy to make it more robust in terms of providing support for individuals. Previous ELA officers have often also overlooked the importance of working with low income students. So there are particular policies there within my manifesto, for example reviewing the financial hardship fund and expanding accommodation bursaries to cater to low income students who previously have not had the same level of accessibility or representation within the full time officer body.

"Other than that, just policies that make sense but also fit with the long term vision in terms of protecting religious groups within new development projects of the University. "

What’s the biggest change you want to bring to UoB students?

"The one that is most current and represents most student interests is diversify the backgrounds of councillors in the Wellbeing Service to make them culturally competent and representative. I was talking to the chair of the disabled students networks and they saying that many students have complained that councillors just don’t know how to deal with disabled students issues and as a result they often feel alienated.

"It’s the same with international students who don’t have English as a first language, they feel alienated by the service because of the lack of multilingual councillors to provide some sort of support. That’s probably the broadest change. Regarding particular groups, trying to accomodate more prayer spaces within the University for students of faith: it’s something that’s extremely big for them and they obviously form a massive contingency as part of the University. So there are some broad points that aim to help the general student population but I think the impact can better calculated in terms of the groups you’re supporting in terms of liberation."

Where’s your favourite place to go on a Bristol night out?

"Great question. I think it usually starts, always, at the W.G. Grace and then often ends up at OMG. It’s usually either Grace or just drinking at home I’d say."