An interview with the EUSA Presidential candidate: Arran Byers
One of the two Trainspotting-inspired campaigns, Arran wants to make EUSA more affordable for its students and wants to lead a change that will result in a more united student body.
Why are you running for EUSA President?
To make a change. After four years at Edinburgh I have seen the Association drift further away from students and the University become increasingly concerned with profit, not students. I have grown tired of Presidents who win elections through pledges about Big Cheese, then repeat what the University says when they are President and never engage with students. This needs to change or our University and Association will reach a breaking point.
What are your main policies?
I want to re-empower the Association, uniting students of all creeds and really challenging the University to change like it did in 1884. I want to be a visible President, attending society socials, meeting students in pubs and visiting all campuses. We also need a President committed to cutting costs, by lowering prices in Association venues and working with the council to make Edinburgh more affordable. There is also a huge gulf in this city between our campuses, the University and the city so I wish to address this by working with local businesses, setting up a University food bank and rebuilding the ‘community’. And then finally I want people to feel at home here. I want to be a President who helps make changes to our everyday lives with free sanitary products in bathrooms, improved lighting around campuses, more social spaces and many more things. I want to be a President who makes a real, visible change.
Do you think your policies are feasible?
Some candidates this year, and in the past, have made promises they cannot follow through on. I have not done this. Everything is achievable, it just requires the Association to seize the chance and make a real change on campus by mobilising and supporting students. With regard to the University my aims are feasible, it simply requires a President who is brave enough to directly oppose the Principal and the other unelected people in the University administration. These policies could have been achieved many years ago and I intend to make up for the lost time.
Will you be able to fund all of them?
The Association charges unreasonable prices which are undercut by most Associations/Unions across the country. By lowering prices, one may expect profits to fall but I would hope to see the number of students in venues going up as the Association finally becomes a valid option for students. Furthermore, if the Association focused less on trying to balance its books during the Fringe and looked to make everyday changes it may find that its constant issues with cash may end. The changes I wish to bring about across the wider University are also easy to fund, if the University acknowledges that its huge £100 million + surplus and investment in new, ugly buildings needs to be refocused on funding and supporting students currently here who are being let-down by the University.
Why do you think you're the best person for the job?
I am not asking students to vote for me because I’m great or am offering them unfeasible, grandiose things. I am asking students to Choose Change. To choose a candidate who is going to do something different and restore our faith in the Association. As a student who has been four years and has been witness to Association failures, University malevolence and the growing difficult of being a student in Edinburgh, I believe it is time for change. And I believe in myself to lead that change.