LUSU Elections 2022 Hustings: What went on? Part One
Each candidate was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and their policies, then answer audience questions
The 2022 LUSU Elections have begun, with the vote opening earlier this morning.
Last night, the candidates for the 2022/23 FTO and LCO positions took part in a Hustings event.
The event lasted four hours, during which the candidates were able to introduce themselves and their manifestos, ask questions to their opposing candidates, and answer questions from the audience.
The event was also live-streamed via LA1 TV, allowing those who couldn’t attend to still be a part of the occasion. One of the candidates even completed her speech via stream.
Students with Disabilities Officer
Cerys stated that her platform would be a “platform of community”. She said she won’t make “flashy promises”, but will reach students who aren’t already part of the forum. Cerys said she “loves the community and wants to serve it”, and to “build a community of disabled students” who “empower” one another.
Cerys said that she believes that the ILSP system needs reform, as people should be able to self-certify and “alert the uni that they’re trying to get a diagnosis”. In order to welcome new members to the forum, she will make her platform a “place of acceptance”, as she is “passionate” about working across forums and wants to hear from other people.
Cerys will also place emphasis on improving accessibility across campus, since, as a wheelchair user herself, she understands the effects of limited accessibility.
Cerys concluded her speech by explaining that she would improve social media accessibility. Cerys is the only candidate running for this position.
Joshua Newsham (he/him) and Raen Nelson (they/them) explained why they believe they’re the best team for this role. Josh and Raen highlighted that they will be introducing an accreditation scheme, a sexual health campaign, and a drug awareness campaign. They also want to open the forum up to all university life, ensure the uni doesn’t employ transphobic or homophobic staff, and introduce college welcome week ambassadors.
Raen and Josh said that they had real difficulty “feeling like they belong and are connected”, and as a result of this they want to build up the community. One audience member asked how they would help students who are transitioning and having to change GP when coming to uni, to which Raen explained their experience and relationship with LMP, assuring the audience that they will make sure they understand what their patients need.
If elected, Josh and Raen said that they would like to work with other societies and strike a balance in the forum between the wider university and LGBTQ+ members whilst maintaining safe space events.
They believe that as a pair they are more “effective and outspoken”, and the two of them will be visible and support new members. They closed by saying that they have a “bold vision”, saying: “we hope that you join us along the way”.
Mature Students’ Officer
The candidate for the Mature Students’ officer, Rehmat Ullah, was not in attendance of the hustings.
India Ellis (she/her) and Hamza Dalvi (he/him) are both running for this role.
Hamza began, after reminding current SU President Oliver Robinson of his name, by giving his opening speech. He said that the SU is a “club, clique, group of people who act to serve their own purpose” with a lack of accessibility, so he will invite student media to be involved in SU meetings. Hamza stated that the union does not represent a large portion of the student population, and if elected he would be the first Muslim President. He also said: “I vow to make life easier for every single student” and “I will make a change and it will be consistent.”
India was next up with her introduction. She began by explaining how she is the current VP Union Development. India believes that she is the “perfect person”, and wants to create “a sector that does not discriminate, a union that welcomes all”. India’s promise included getting the Sugarbus back for free, “full budget restoration”, and said: “you will get the shit you got before Covid, I can guarantee that”.
The first question the candidates answered was how they would handle conflicts between officers and keep them united. India responded that, with her eight months of experience on the SU, she has had experience working through conflicts and, at times, has stepped in as President so knows she has the team leading ability. Hamza answered this question by saying he would unite the team around one vision which is “servicing the students”. He would ensure the conflict is resolved within the team and does not escalate further than necessary.
India’s question for Hamza was how he intends to commit to and prioritise the pledges outlined in his manifesto. Hamza responded “I believe I can carry out all of them”, stating that the students’ union needs proactivity but that his priority is making the union “accessible and transparent”.
Hamza asked India how she’s been involved with the EDI review, which she clarified was something she was doing as VP UD, and after recent events, she has built a relationship with college and JCR staff. She said: “Re-electing me would provide continuity.”
When asked how they would improve the fact that Lancaster University Students’ Union is the second-worst students’ union in the country, Hamza stated that the main issue was that students don’t feel represented, and after speaking to students he has discovered they don’t feel it’s open to them. India pinned it on the fact that Question 26 is “abysmally worded”, and collegiate universities tend to do worse on Question 26 due to their forming of “mini SU’s within the colleges”, so to combat this she would bring them all closer under the union.
One audience question was regarding the fact that there is no BAME, International Students, or Womens+ Officer in this set of elections, to which India responded that the SU “isn’t doing what it should to represent minority students” and that she is “keen” to head the union”. Hamza stated that he would act to introduce an International Students’ Officer, but also “review” the remit of SU officers.
India closed her speech by saying “If you want progress, a familiar face and someone who cares, vote for me”, and that she will “provide a Lancaster you will be proud to graduate from”. Hamza finished with: “If you want more of the same and if you’re happy with what you already have, vote for that. If you want something different, vote for someone different.”