The Tab meets the Election Candidates: Vladimir Kardapoltsev
We continue our “candidate spotlight” series with an interview with Vlad, who’s running for Union Chair.
The Tab meets Vlad, an Economics and Business student who is running for Union Chair.
Bio: Born in Russia and raised in Kent, UK. Past Experience: JCR Member of University of London Intercollegiate Halls, Treasurer of SSEES, President and Founder of the UCL Energy Society.
Societies: Energy Society, Economics and Finance Society, Water-Polo Club, Russian and Polish Societies.
Hello Vlad! What does the position of Union Chair involve?
VK. It is a part time position, which involves chairing different UCLU meetings, assemblies and councils throughout the year. I also assist with future elections and make sure that the union runs in a fair and democratic manner.
Why are you running and what are your goals?
VK. I want to represent the student body, as I am genuinely passionate about democracy and an independent candidate. My experiences at SSEES and as the president of the Energy Society have revealed that the union runs in an unbalanced and excessively bureaucratic way. I want to give the students a voice.
Should we care about the outcome of these elections?
My campaign slogan: “Your Union, Your University, Your Future!” explains everything.
Nicely put! In your manifesto you mentioned the turnout. How are you planning to increase it?
VK. Participation is dreadful – 1, 885 people voted in the UCLU Autumn 2013 elections, which is only a 4% turnout. But this isn’t just a UCL problem. ULU only received a shocking 1234 votes from more than 120,000 students in the presidential election of 2012 (1%). Incredibly, Imperial recorded the highest election turnout of any UK university in 2012, with just 32% turning out. I think our university can easily achieve that.
The problem is that students seem to be disinterested in union activities. There are 5 unfilled positions and 10 positions with no competition. In my opinion the reason for that is because UCLU does not engage the student body enough. It is difficult to find the agenda and outcomes for council meetings, and I think all council activity should be published on student (social?) media. Also too many motions are being passed and students find it difficult to keep up. Currently, only one proposer and one supporter are needed for a motion – I suggest raising the supporter quota to 27 people, which is proportional to 0.1% of UCL. I think turnout will increase with those measures and with extensive advertising.
In your manifesto, you mentioned the restructuring of the union and creating more positions. Don’t you think our union is already too big?
VK. Our union is quite big indeed! I believe this year we have 37 people in the council, though most of them are part-time. I don’t think we need that many sabbatical officers as most of the universities around the country only have 6. My main problem with officers is (consolidating) gender related positions (to increase the council’s efficiency). I think the full time Women’s Officer should be replaced with a full-time Gender Equality Officer, with a sub committee of part time elected officers – Women, Men and LGBT+.
Controversial! I bet Beth Sutton would disagree with you.
VK. Beth Sutton loves her cause, which is great. Men get discriminated against too, you know! Child custody laws, compulsory army service (not in this country though), retirement age, insurance laws you name it! I just think that a Gender Equality Officer would be more inclusive, dealing with problems concerning both sexes as well as LGBT+. This seems more fair and democratic (and efficient).
Before we close, why should people prefer you over the other candidate?
VK. I am a very reliable and trustworthy person. I have significant experience and expertise in running different committees. I am also an independent candidate and not affiliated to any of the political parties or movements, so that my decisions are going to remain impartial.
Concerning my opponent, Mohamed is a great guy, but in my opinion he does not fit the role. His manifesto is unfocussed and he does not have any clear opinions or policies. I am also concerned about his lack of neutrality and attitudes towards democracy. He is a current treasurer of the Friends of Palestine Society and when my friends from the Jewish Society tried to have an argument with him on Facebook, he just deleted all of their comments on numerous occasions. I am therefore concerned about him running the council in the same way – if he doesn’t agree with you he may disregard your opinion.