UUEAS STUDENT ELECTION – LIBERATION CANDIDATES

Candidates in the Union of UEA Students 2015 student election were contacted by The Norwich Radical. Responses received by the deadline are presented here, unedited, on an equal platform – candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Manifestos can be found here: www.ueastudent.com/manifestos Voting closes at midday on Friday 13th March. Vote online here: www.ueastudent.com/vote

Why should students support you, in light of The Norwich Radical’s founding statement?

LGBT+

ELLIOT FOLAN

I’m running for LGBT+ Officer because I believe that the solution to the problems we face as a community lie in collective action. Many of the people in the LGBT+ community at UEA – trans students, bisexual students, LGBT+ ethnic minorities, asexual students and more – continue to be disadvantaged by societal prejudice, government policies, university inaction and general bigotry. Finding solutions to these problems requires a diversity of tactics, ranging from SU-run awareness campaigns on issues like bisexuality all the way to taking direct action to push for a much-needed policy change.

But it also requires us to recognise that in order to confront political and social problems, we must be political. As oppressed groups we must form networks of solidarity with others, and support each other in struggling for a socially just society.

I believe in a society where the pursuit of happiness is more important than the pursuit of private profit; a society where we respect and protect our environment and where we have a genuine say over the issues that affect us. Student Unions can and should play a role in pushing our society towards something better: towards a society without exploitation, and a society that is truly democratic. And they should live up to that vision today. I support the abolition of all tuition fees and oppose the Tory-led government’s austerity agenda, and our student union should be a champion of decent public services and free education.

In short, my political priority as an officer would be making UEA a socially just and democratic campus, and pushing for a world where private profit and greed are replaced by mutual co-operation and solidarity.

Students with Disabilities 

AARON HOOD

Dear readers of the Norwich radical, I wholeheartedly believe I am the right candidate for you. It is a shame that a just, equitable outcome for disabled students should be considered radical, when surely it is should just be a given. Sadly at the moment it is not, liberation should be at the forefront of any truly progressive agenda.

If I receive the honour of being elected to represent UEA’s disabled students I will have frequent informal drop in sessions to ensure I take our liberation movement in a truly representative direction, with votes at caucuses on priority campaigns and other issues. I will also meet up with anyone concerned about anything or who may have any suggestions for me on what campaigns or how to do my job better as long as it’s not four in the morning. I also plan to have joint campaigns with other liberation groups as issues we face often overlap and the main point of a union must be collective action, united we stand in solidarity for a better future.

I also have good links with all political parties on campus and other activist groups, therefore I feel I am in a unique position to organise great campaigns with a diverse base of support. The main goal of a liberation agenda should be to spread the intrinsically just and logical nature of the liberation movement to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst we probably won’t be able to appeal to the most hard-core neoliberals we can easily sow the seeds of doubt within what I would like to call soft neoliberals who are socially moderate and only require a strong nudge in the right direction. I owe my presence at university to the liberation movement and will fight tooth and nail for it.

Ethnic Minorities

FREDDIE REDFERN

My name is Freddie Redfern and I’m re running to be the Ethnic Minorities Officer. I have had a successful year being the Ethnic Minorities Officer for the Students Union 2013/14. I have increased links between the Union and the various Ethnic Minority clubs and societies on campus, as well as helping to organise a successful Black History Month. I think that it is awful in this day and age that Ethnic Minority Students are twice as likely to be unemployed as a white counterpart upon leaving university. Only 3.5% of Ethnic Minority Students get a 1st whereas 11% of White Students do. I now want to tackle the issue of BME unemployment by addressing the widened inequality around BME students. In the future I will create greater links with outside organizations i.e. the Network of Black Professionals. Additionally I aim to maintain the increased BME representation in the Union by build even greater links between students and the union.

HUSSAM HUSSEIN

My name is Hussam and I am running for the Ethnic Minorities Officer position. My background and interests are very much aligned with those of “The Norwich Radical,” because of my academic, professional, and personal background.

Academically I developed a critical thinking since my studies at SOAS in London, where I came across a range of critical scholars both in international relations, anthropology, and Middle Eastern studies. Currently, my PhD in international Development is focusing on critical theory and Gramsci’s thought in environmental resources and water security in Jordan. I am member of the board of the Tyndall Centre and working on environmental sustainability and justice.

Professionally, I worked at the European Parliament in Brussels where I was exploring the social justice and welfare state issues and working to improve them at a European level. During my university years, I worked against all forms of discrimination, called it xenophobia, homophobia, islamo-phobia, or anti-semitism. At UEA I was the Ethnic Minorities officer in 2012/2013 and participated as a delegate to the NUS Black conference in 2013 and LGBT NUS conferences in 2013 and 2014, pushing forward the anti-racisms policies and campaigns. This is because we need to fight together against all forms of discrimination, and we need to do so united with all liberation officers.

My personal background, being born in Kuwait in an Arab Muslim family, growing up in Italy, studying at the College of Europe and at SOAS, truly multicultural environments, and working in NGOs in Jordan and at the European Parliament, helped me in seeing the world as a multicultural environments and accepting people for what they are, accepting diversity as normality. That’s how I see the world, and that’s how, I believe, everyone should. Social justice is about making the marginalized groups of society becoming fully integrated and accepted, and this is what I aim at doing at UEA.

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