Just because the Sabb team are all white men, doesn’t mean they don’t represent you

Is it really relevant to how well they’ll do their jobs?

elections sabbaticals warwick uni

The top seven positions at our SU have gone exclusively to one gender and one race, but this really shouldn’t be an issue.

These people did not choose to be white men. Drawing attention to their gender and ethnicity is counter-productive to student democracy, and rebuking Warwick’s student population for having voted in a group of white males for fear of this group being over-represented cuts dangerously close to undermining the idea of equal opportunities altogether.

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These seven people were voted in because they proved themselves to be the most qualified for their respective jobs. It is retrograde to argue the reason we are now looking at an all-white, all-male Sabb team is simply that more white males ran for office, than did so out of any other group. To claim that would be to diminish the exhaustive campaigning and actual electability of these seven individuals altogether.

To argue this point is to attribute the outcome of this election to nothing other than the law of averages. To do that is to also pay a blind disservice to the Warwick electorate. You are not only criticising the people who ran, you are criticising all 5,000 people who voted for them – tacitly assuming they would be too dumb and lazy to examine the nuances of each campaign, and instead collectively produced the most average result. You are not slagging off student politics, you are slagging off all politically active Warwick students. You are criticising you.

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That said, it is an understandable anxiety on behalf of minority groups at the University of Warwick that they may be under-represented by this Sabb Team, and, even worse, that perhaps there are endemic societal problems which prevent minority groups seeking election in the first place. Although one has to go back until before 2006 to find another Sabb Team comprised entirely of white men, no-one is unsympathetic to this issue. It is a problem. But not only were there four other part-time SU officials voted in on Friday whose sole job is to attend to the issues of minority groups, but it is also curious to imagine being a white male would make the new SU President totally insensitive to the issues facing students from other backgrounds.

The colour of your Sabb Team’s skin should not discourage you from contacting them about any issue, and it is dubious to expect the newly-elected Sabbs would not treat such issues with the same sincerity that would apply to their own manifestos.

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SU President Isaac Leigh expressed great pride in the new Sabb Team, and, along with the new Democracy and Development Officer Oliver Rice, identified the importance of working with the liberation officers and society heads “to ensure the sabbatical team is more diverse in future”. The latter also said the new Sabb Team will have to remain “aware of their privilege”, so as to ensure “Warwick’s wonderful diversity is represented as best in the SU as possible”, while newly-elected Sports Officer Alex Roberts also expressed confidence in the new team to do their job to this standard.

There is no real cause for alarm here. If anything, it seems the lack of diversity among our new Sabbatical Officers is providing an them with an impetus to look after Warwick’s vibrant and various communities. It is a shame there is not a more representative line-up this year, but the clamouring and hollering you may hear about this problem is the result of nothing more than a coincidental overlap between the ethnic makeup of these new SU Officials and Westminster’s current ministerial cabinet. It does not affect these people’s ability to do their job.