The Norwich Radical contacted the candidates for this year’s Student Union elections. Here are the people running for the Liberation Officer positions that responded.
You can vote for your favourite candidates until Tuesday 8th March at midday on ueastudent.com/vote.
Sharmin Hoque, LGBT+ Officer Open Place Candidate
I am a very intersectional individual and I want to use my intersectionality to make positive changes here at UEA. I am a British Bangladeshi, Muslim, Bisexual Woman, and am proud of who I am. I am currently LGBT+ Caucus’s Women’s rep at university. I like to consider myself an activist because I always strive to do the very best. I am a first year also studying IR and Modern History here, so I am ‘always learning from the past to make a better future’ that is my life motto.
One of my main aims are to introduce ‘Pride and Faith’ to LGBT+ here at UEA. I want to ensure people of faith are always on the agenda, and when talking about equality and diversity, include religion. If this is not addressed, you send a message to our students that they are not important enough. This needs to change. Also a massive change for LGBT+ Mental Health, let’s face it, funding is low, waiting times are high and the prevention is non-existent. This NEEDS to change too! Lastly more LGBT+ inclusive events, because I love them.
I will be great at this role, because I am passionate, hardworking and optimistic. Regardless if I am elected or not, I will never stop supporting the LGBT+ family here at UEA. I owe how happy I am to UEA, because I can be my true self for once, and want to return the favour. I have experience as LGBT+ Caucus Women’s officer. Also I am friendly and always up for a good chat. I will be there for LGBT+ students when they need someone to speak to.
Lee Brown, LGBT+ Officer (Trans and Non-Binary Place)
5’9, 25, brown hair, blue eyed guy looking for equality and diversity. Hi, I’m Lee! I’m a Film and English student who struggles to sit still and likes wearing brightly coloured socks. I think bow ties are cool.
I want to be part of a union that listens to minority students, and is inclusive of everyone. There is far too much erasure going on. To quote a great man, “you know that in nine hundred years of time and space and I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important before.”
I use Doctor Who quotes. Though I’m a fun loving guy who likes to make people laugh I also take matters such as those that plague the LGBT+ community very seriously, and will strive to combat any issues presented to me.
Kate Snape, Students with Disabilities Officer Candidate
I’m an outgoing bubbly nerd. I have had a physical disability (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) which causes me to use a wheelchair since birth and a mental health condition for many years. I’ve served on the committee of UEA Chronic and Pride, offering advice and support to disabled students, been a Union Council Rep for the Students with Disabilities Caucus and I organised several events for Disability History Month, making many events intersectional.
As Disabilities Officer I will fight for things such as:
• All campus buildings being accessible
• More funding for mental health services
• Mandatory Disability Inclusion training for society committees and lecturers
• A disability-inclusive sex education campaign
• Awareness campaigns for a range of disabilities (e.g. Epilepsy, Diabetes and ADHD)
I care deeply and passionately about helping my fellow disabled students; but more than that, the issues I care about are personal issues for me. As a wheelchair user, I suffer when campus buildings are inaccessible. As someone with a mental health condition, lack of counsellors and services disadvantages me as much as anyone else. These issues are just as personal and urgent to me as they are to you, and together, we can do something about them.
Amira Izeboudjene, Women’s Officer Candidate
I’m a second year culture, literature and politics student. I like listening to skepta ‘shut down’ while critically analysing colonialism in my essays. I consider Stormzy an undercover feminist ‘tell my MAN shut up’ as he inadvertently shuts down the patriarchy in said quote. Aside from critically analysing grime, I’m an approachable, outgoing and passionate person that is always up for a chat. I’m also really into podcasts (Radio Lab and This American Life) I listen to at least one every single day.
I want the union to be more inclusive, I want it to reflect the entirety of the self-identifying female student body rather than just focusing on a certain groups within it. I want to give all women an equal platform to express their concerns including: LGBT+, WOC and disabled women. By creating, facilitating and engaging with such an inclusive platform the union can only change and develop in positive ways. I also believe that the union needs to be representative of the university body and this means more Women and POC (amongst others) need to participate in changing who makes up the union.
My feminism is plural and intersectional, that means that I plan to engage with other liberation campaigns in order to create a more inclusive UEA. EQUALITY, VISIBILITY and EMPOWERMENT are key and my campaign will be focused through these key concepts. My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bull shit. I am here to reflect every woman’s concerns. I want my policies to benefit all women, even the minorities. Being a BME and a woman myself it can be difficult getting your voice heard and it is for this reason that I am extra concerned EQUAL representation and opportunities for women.
Abbie Mulcairn, Women’s Officer Candidate
Hi! I’m a second year PPL student and following a successful year as your elected councillor for Women’s Caucus, have decided to run to be Women’s Officer of the Union. I’m a member of UEA Royal, a huge dog lover, and got my best mark at Uni on an essay I wrote about Kim Kardashian’s bum and racism. I decided to run because I’m fucked off with the way women are still treated on campus in 2016. I care strongly and passionately about women’s rights and tackling sexual harassment and want to make campus a better and safer place for women.
I want to tackle harassment head on by forcing UEA to take a proactive stance on sexual assault with comprehensive preventative measures and reporting guidelines which currently aren’t in place. I want to make sure our streetlights are kept on at night so women can get home safely, and give all incoming fresher’s information on our consent policy.
I also want the Union to provide a space for women where we can access free sanitary product, hot water bottles and contraception. I also want to work with sports team to eliminate ‘lad culture’ to make our teams more inclusive and welcoming for girls!
I think I would be good for this role because I have a clear understanding of where the University and the Union are letting women down. I have the drive and knowledge to push forward sensible, realistic solutions to combat the gender discrimination that is still taking place. I care deeply about people’s welfare and at the very least, I want to make sure girls feel like there is someone on their side representing them. I’m always up for a chat and if you have any further questions, feel free to tweet me! (@abmulcairn)
Ayoola Shekoni, Ethnic Minorities Officer Candidate
I am a 2nd year International relations and politics student. I have been involved in union politics for the past year, something I decided to do because I was so disillusioned with the whole process and at the lack of representation for ethnic minority students at UEA (a case of if you can beat them join them and try and make it better from inside). The university experience can be a bit of a culture shock for many students, and ethnic minority students are no different, except it is different, all you have to do is look at the demographic of the university and Norwich and therein lies the crux of the problem.
I want better representation for ethnic minority students on campus. We make up around 27% of the student body in total and a little over 10% of that are UK home students, it is important these voices are not lost in the background. Our experiences should be talked about every day rather than relegated once a year; issues of race and representation do not only appear in October, students at UEA live this every day and I want to make that known. I want to change the conversation on race even if it makes people feel uncomfortable.
I co-founded the new UEA Womanist society, I was involved with the planning and implementation of Black History month in 2015, and I want to be able to continue to do the work I currently do. I believe can do even more if given the opportunity and the support, and becoming UEA’s ethnic minorities officer will allow me to do that.