We asked Liberation and Campaign Officer candidates what shaped their manifestos

‘Some disabled students… can’t afford basic support needs’

Candidates for the 2024/25 Students’ Union have been announced, and with voting opening on Tuesday 5th March, we interviewed your Liberation and Campaign Officer candidates to find out more about their manifestos.

All candidates were asked what their main priority is, how their personal experiences have shaped their manifesto, and what sets them apart from their opponents.

You can read their manifestos here.

Students with Disabilities Officer:

Pavan Bhamidipati

Pavan is the Equalities and Opportunities Officer for County College, a psychology student ambassador, a young ambassador for the National Autistic Society and is part of the Department for Education’s advisory group. Their main aims are to increase university-wide events for Disability Pride Month, fund compulsory training for all university staff on supporting neurodivergent students, promote the Students with Disabilities Forum, improve accessibility to university mental health services, campaign for students with mental health conditions to be given coursework extensions without needing medical evidence, and campaign for free Sugarhouse entry for carers of disabled students and eligibility for queue jump for disabled students.

Tackling the cost-of-living crisis is Pavan’s main priority: “Right now, rents are too high, disabled students have to pay full price even for accommodation that they NEED as a reasonable adjustment, and some disabled students don’t get Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and can’t afford basic support needs and medication.”

Pavan is an autistic student and also suffers from OCD. They said that this is what has shaped their manifesto, “Cost of living MUST get more accessible for disabled students.”

Women+ Students’ Officer

Phoebe Teasdale

Phoebe is a first year history and politics student. Her main aims are to champion the She Should Run programme, increase inclusivity, and improve the use of social media to promote the Women+ forum and other events.

Phoebe’s main priority is to create a fully inclusive and representative space, and to listen to what the people want. “I don’t feel qualified to promise things based on what I want without consulting people which is why my main promise is to hold a meeting and put out a form within a month of being elected to hear about the priorities of the people that I would be representing… In my experience, people want to be consulted and asked for what they want from a representative.”

When asked what sets her apart from her opponents, she stated that being in first year gives her a fresh perspective to the university. “I’m running because I want to help people, represent people and make sure that YOUR time at uni is as amazing as it possibly be through the Women+ Forum particularly.”

Millie Ni-Elle Ashton

via @millienielle on Instagram.

Millie has previously been a producer for LUTG as well as a communications officer for LULC. Their main aims are to educate the community on dismantling rape culture, break the stigma around reporting harassment, and reinvigorate the Women+ forum.

Millie’s main priority is to safeguard and empower students. They believe this is achievable through implementing consent workshops within societies. “These workshops would serve as vital platforms to educate individuals about boundaries, respect, and communication in all types of interactions.”

“My personal experiences with sexual harassment and assault during my time in school have deeply influenced my manifesto. The 2020 Everyone’s Invited report, exposing instances of sexual assault and harassment in various schools, shed light on the widespread nature of the issue… In crafting my manifesto, I am driven to implement measures that challenge and dismantle this culture, creating a safer and more respectful environment for students.”

“I’d say what sets me apart from other candidates is my experience with activism, where I’ve spearheaded initiatives like founding my sixth form’s feminist society and collaborating wit local officials to address rape culture in schools.”

Voting opens Tuesday 5th March at 10am.

Featured image via @pavan4ludisabilitiesofficer on Instagram and @millienielle on Instagram.

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