What has Srdja Popovic done since he was elected?
Quite a lot, tbh,
Between the lead-up to elections, strikes, and crazy, end-times worthy blizzards, it’s fair to say that St Andrews is going through an interesting period of its history. At times like this, it’s important that figures in the University administration are open and straightforward about what they’ve been doing. Obviously, how these figures choose to communicate with students is up to them, but, as our Rector Srdja Popovic’s campaign manager, and a member of his Rectors Committee, I thought I’d try and give some details on how the Rectors Office has been trying to help students since Srdja got elected.
First and foremost, the strikes. If you’re a St. Andrews student (or a student anywhere in Britain, come to that), you won’t need me to update you on the background of and context to the industrial action by lecturers, or how sharply they’ve impacted on The Bubble. Over the past couple of weeks, our Rectors Assessor Camilla Duke has been meeting with various important figures within the University and the UCU in order to work out the best solution to the strikes. We’ve also been visiting picket lines to meet with striking staff, and have issued a University-wide student survey to find out how the strikes have impacted on students. (Which incidentally you can fill out here.) This last one is particularly important, as it means we can make student voices heard at every level of the University administration. It’s also important for being the first and only attempt (aside from a twitter poll by The Saint) by any significant organisation in the University to try and gauge student opinion about the strikes.
Moving from acute St Andrean problems to perennial ones, housing. Again, this isn’t a problem St Andrews students need reminded of, but what has The Rectors Office been doing about it? For a start, plans are in the works for putting together an open, transparent register on private rented accommodation, so students can rate their landlords in a publically accessible forum. I realise that that doesn’t sound terribly dramatic, but it’s a start to a process of making renting easier and cheaper, to taming bad landlords and rewarding good ones, to placing more power and choice in the hands of students- which, after all, is what Srdja is all about.
Now, you might be thinking- hell, maybe you’re already typing an angry message on St Feudrews to the effect of- Srdja could be doing more. And you’d be right. So help us. When Srdja ran for office last year, he did so on a platform that said he’d be making changes with- not for- students. And everything we’ve done so far has proved that right. We’ve set up a forum for political societies- but we could only do it because those political societies were willing to work with us. We’ve helped the charities committee with RAG Week- but we could only do so because they reached out to us. We’ve helped put in place the begginings of the machinery that will get St Andrews a functional campaign for a rail link- but we could only do so by helping organise the students that were already interested. We’ve helped individual students with individual problems, but we’ve only been able to do so because those students came forward with them.
You get the point. There are huge problems with the way St Andrews works, but also huge potential among the student body to fix them. Srdja and the Rectors Committee are here to make sure that potential doesn’t go untapped. So, whatever ideas, problems or suggestions you have on the topic of making St Andrews a better place, make sure we hear them. Email [email protected], or message the Srdja Popovic, Rector of the University of St Andrews Facebook page. Comment on Srdja’s next livestream (coming soon) or flag down a member of the Rectors Committee. We want to hear from you. We want to keep starting revolutions.