‘Make Sussex Great Again’: We spoke to SU President Candidate Ahmad ‘Q’ Naquiddin
“When I ran for VP Activities before this, it was purely based on a dare”
Ahmad Naquiddin, going by the nickname Q, is one of the hopefuls looking to take up the position of President of the students union, following in the footsteps of previous two-term position holder Frida Gustaffsson.
Ahmad's key policies as president would be to promote better inclusion for international students, as well as making the Student's Union more open and its actions visible to all students.
The Sussex Tab sat down with 'Q' to talk all things 'election' as well as finding out more about the eponymous nickname.
You’ve given yourself the nickname Q, 'as in the one from James bond'; where does that come from?
Ahmad notes that the nickname is a derivative of a previous nickname given to him by relatives, "naque".
Hoping to avoid mispronunciations and confusion when he moves to England, he coined the abbreviation 'Q' for ease. Ahmand has gone on to incorporate this into one of his many campaign catchphrases: 'Let the Q cut the queue'.
You’ve ran in the SU elections before, a slightly less successful campaign than this one, what went wrong last time and what motivated you to run again?
"When I ran for VP Activities before this, it was purely based on a dare, and submitted my nominations an hour before the nominations closed."
Realising his previous approach of taking a free-dive into the election race was not one that led to any success, Ahamd notes he has decided to this time come more prepared.
He has decided to run in a higher position due to the influential nature of the Union. Ahmad's desire to improve involvement amongst international students is something he stresses as a major factor in his decision to run.
One of your main manifesto points is monitoring and improving bus services for students to avoid lateness, how would you go about monitoring this and implementing change if students claim the busses have not improved?
Following the recent agreement between Brighton & Hove Busses and the current sabbatical officers, Ahamd hopes to ensure that the bus company holds 'their end of the bargain'.
He would seek to ensure that the promise to alter bus times to better accommodate lecture times is upheld, as well as lobbying for further timetable changes if needed.
Another point of your manifesto simply states some submissions have been changed to physical submission over online, what is the reasoning behind this point and what do you plan to do about it?
Having heard complaints from fellow students, Ahmad felt completed to include this point.
"I personally feel that if it was an international student going through this predicament, not all of them may have the ability to come here again due to financial limitations and so on."
Ahmad hopes to negotiate with the university, making the option of online submission possible for those who a physical submission would cause great inconvenience.
How do you aim to keep the ‘liberal’ nature of Sussex students ‘for generations to come’ that you note in your manifesto?
Ahmad reveals that he and many international students are often victims of casual racism. Noting that while this racism is usually not direct condescension, insensitive humour can be equally damaging.
"I feel that in order to maintain the liberal outlook of this university, we must educate the difference between safe and open expression of opinion."
Ahmad hopes to make Sussex a safe space for people to express their opinions, without condoning the damaging expression of views that can often be permitted under the guise of 'open expression if opinion'.
Lastly, if elected, what would your first 30 days in the role look like? (What key things would you do first, what changes would you implement first, that sort of thing)
Ahmad's first 30 day outlook would be as follows:
1) Recruit multilingual volunteers in educating the students in regards to the union. Sussex has a large population of foreign students and a number of them may feel isolated, to a degree, due to the lack of command of the english language, or through coming from a culture that does not educate in critical matters.
We should actively work to extend the famous Brighton spirit of welcoming and inclusivity to them.
2) Make the issues that the union is dealing with visible to all students and make it a ranking system of voting online, in combination with the new issues that are posted by current students.
This will not only improve the outlook of the students union, but also encourage a conducive environment for students to express their point of view and decide what needs to be addressed first.
3) Host an open housing budget committee meeting where students can come and express their point of view and comment on why the accommodation pricing is high, and only increasing. This would make the costing transparent, and also seek to empower the students' voices.