Only two LUSU FTOs are rerunning for election – but have they met last year’s promises?
Are the candidates fit for reelection?
It’s everyone’s favourite time of year again: Lancaster University Students’ Union’s annual Full-Time Officer (FTO) elections! Who’s excited? Anyone? No? Well, we at The Tab Lancaster are!
Of the many candidates, only two of the 2019/20 FTO team are standing for reelection; President George Nuttall, and VP Education Bee Morgan. We thought it was in the public interest to see what they promised in their manifestos last year, and whether those promises have been fulfilled over the past year.
George Nuttall – President
2019/20 manifesto pledges:
Communication and transparency
Resolution: Prioritise communication and correct any misconceptions.
Fulfilled? Transparency within the Students’ Union has been questionable, with many students being left confused at the Union’s decision to look into selling the Sugarhouse nightclub. However, the SU has come clean and reported a “Serious Incident” to the charity commission, after it came to light that there was an unconstitutional imbalance on the Trustee Board. It would appear that the transparency and communication of the Union hasn’t been up to the standard that Nuttall pledged it would be back in February 2019.
Resolution: Expand welfare provisions to departments;
Resolution: Work with the Mental Health Society, other officers, and those using the welfare services to improve the provisions;
Resolution: Free drug-testing kits to improve students’ safety.
Fulfilled? More and more students are being referred to the mental health services at Lancaster University, which would suggest that more students are feeling increased pressures on their mental health. It has also been alleged that although Nuttall supported the creation of Mental Health Society, he has had little involvement since then; ex-President of LUMH said: “He wasn’t a part of running things. Supportive, but far from integral.” However, drug-testing kits have been introduced, which is a directly-fulfilled pledge from Nuttall’s 2019/20 manifesto.
Resolution: Close the BME inequality gap with PTOs and societies.
Fulfilled? Although LUSU has been supportive of Black History month, and has ran some events celebrating diversity, nothing has been posted on Nuttall’s Instagram page (@lusupresident) or Twitter feed in support of this. EDI figures are available for the number of BME students at Lancaster for 2017/18, however they haven’t been released for 2018/19 or 2019/20 as of yet.
Resolution: Hold meetings with club captains, VP Activities, and JCR Sports Officers to improve college leagues.
Fulfilled? The Tab Lancaster contacted college sports captains, and they have said that no meetings or attempts at contact were made by Nuttall directly, however one college sports captain said: “the SU have hired Ed Baker to deal with college sport and he’s been amazing. I’m not sure if that was George, but we’ve had more support from the SU this year.”
Resolution: Split officer role of VP Activities to ensure neither societies nor sports take priority over one another;
Resolution: Advertise more what JCRs and PTOs do.
Fulfilled? The FTO role of VP Activities has been split into the following positions: VP Societies and Media, and VP Sports. This came with heavy criticism from Lancaster University media teams Bailrigg FM, SCAN, and LA1TV. Again, very little has been posted on Nuttall’s social media about JCRs and PTOs – which is contradictory to his priority of communicating the work of the Students’ Union.
Bee Morgan – VP Education
2019/20 manifesto pledges:
Resolution: Lobby to reduce 6-7pm lectures;
Resolution: Close the BME attainment gap.
Fulfilled? As Morgan has published her “Top 10 Uni? Top 10 Demands” education campaign, it can be seen that she is focusing on ensuring that academic days end at 6pm – which shows that she hasn’t achieved her target of no more 6-7pm lectures. See above for BME statistics at Lancaster University.
Resolution: Publish an “Alternative Spending Review” to clearly explain where students’ money is being spent;
Resolution: Be a voice for students impacted by new construction
Fulfilled? No such “Alternative Spending Review” has been created to help students review the university’s spending, nor does it appear in any articles on the Students’ Union’s website. Morgan has successfully lobbied the university to review the off-campus student experience, given the number of first-year students unable to live on campus.
Resolution: Ensure module descriptions are updated in handbooks
Resolution: Introduce post-exam feedback on modules
Fulfilled? Handbook information will vary from module to module, however the information provided online is all accurate and up-to-date. Post-exam feedback does not appear as an option in the online feedback forms, as the feedback is only accepted when the module officially ends at the end of the term – regardless of any summer examinations.
Election voting opens on Wednesday 4th March – all candidates’ information can be found here.