‘We’re not Oxbridge’: Alice Dee reveals why she should be DSU Pres
‘I think I am a better candidate than Jade’
Alice Dee, Aidan’s JCR President, kicked off her DSU Presidential campaign with an exclusive interview with The Tab.
In the interview she revealed:
- She is against art expenditure because we’re not Oxbridge.
- JCR officials are backing her because they believe she is the best candidate.
- The Uni only “sometimes” listens to the Union.
“Did you improve things during your SU role as course rep?”
So said Alice Dee, who has been labelled the Establishment candidate. While most JCR Presidents have pledged their support, when asked about her time as an SU Course Rep she told The Tab: “I worked hard to improve the rep system, I marked it and now it’s an action plan under someone else, but unfortunately we didn’t achieve anything concrete; nothing happened.”
The potential SU president spoke slowly and calmly as we sat in the student’s union café. She appeared increasingly nervous, and fidgety as the interview went on, but took each question in her stride.
Having received the support of JCR presidents, and Students Union contributors, The Tab asked if she is a part of the Students Union establishment: “I have experience with the Establishment, but I don’t necessarily agree with what they do.
“The SU is not relevant to students at all and students only really care about what’s going on in their college. I’m not naive enough to say that me being president will improve that at all.”
When asked, if students are mainly interested in College life, should the Union be a smaller body, Alice told The Tab: “I don’t think the Union should ever be a smaller body, because they represent every student. At the end of the day, we’re the only voice that the university actually listen to.”She went on to admit, through giggles, that the University only “sometimes” listens to the Union, and: “We’ve all had experience of the university being pretty stubborn about things.
“I think a lot of progress has been made this year. Stuart Corbridge is very positive when I’ve worked with him, he’s really interested in student consultation and policy,” Alice told The Tab.
Despite consultation meetings being very poorly attended and not being representative of the student body, Alice said: “I want to increase communication via consultation. We need to take the sessions to colleges.”
Alice stated she would be co-operative rather than confrontational as this is the approach which has worked well during her time in college: “Sometimes the university can have a negative reputation of students if you go in there all guns blazing and shout at them, they’re not going to co-operate at all. I’ve definitely learnt that this year by working on college and university level.“On a basic level our daily battle in college is health and safety. There are very strict guidelines which I challenge my college on, but it is all about relationships really. I think being cooperative works better even if what I have achieved is only small scale.”
“The increased accommodation fees are ridiculous, the union should engage in good consultation sessions with the students to stop putting up the prices. They have no excuse to cut the grants and put up the fees.”
If the university are not cooperative with the union on an issue such as accommodation fees we asked Alice whether she would change her approach: “I think you have to be firm, not aggressive and I’m not afraid to to do that but if the university says no there’s not much I can do. You will just have to tell the student’s body what is going on.”On the ever-contentious issue of art, and its necessity, Alice told The Tab: “Durham needs to stop pretending it’s Oxbridge. Durham neither has the capital or the investment to be able spend money on art like that.
“They need to stop locking it away in the Palatine Centre where no one can see it.”
Despite arguing that she has the most experience for the role, Alice could only put forward her time on the Baking Society Exec (and Klute) as experience outside of uni politics, let’s hope her politics isn’t as half-baked.