Published on February 26, 2013 | by Vanessa Smart

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Voting for SU student reps gets underway

Election posters

The campaigning for Suarts elections is nearly over. [Jack Henshall]

Voting is underway for students to elect their UAL student representatives.

Students can vote for the four main sabbatical roles; president, culture and diversity officer, activities and volunteering officer and education officer.

Part-time positions – including vice president, democracy scrutiny committee members, National Union of Students delegate, and student trustees – are also being elected.

UAL’s current Students’ Union (SU) president Ben Westhead spoke to Arts London News about the importance of the Student Union.

“The rapidly changing educational landscape in the UK is likely to play on the mind of many SUs round the country, especially those who represent creative students,” he explained.

“The government has devalued the creative sector already by stripping funding and has devalued arts education with their misguided and unbalanced focus on Stem [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] subjects above all others.

“If this government or any future government makes a move towards either more privately funded universities or a loan system that isn’t supported by the government, then arts and creative subjects will be decimated.”

Nominees

The candidates for SU president this year are Chris Wilson, Lil Ashton, Bee Tajudeen and Shelly Asquith.

LCC film student Wilson has said he is committed to making changes at UAL.

“After studying at UAL for three years and working as part of the Students’ Union in the Darkroom Bar for that duration, I’ve gained a good amount of knowledge to know how to make a difference,” he said in his manifesto.

Ashton, 22, studies BA Fine Art: Print and Time Based Media and is interested in knowing how UAL works.

She said: “I want to be cheeks deep in the metaphorical pool that is large-scale organisation of arts, arts communities and arts institutions.

“I know that the current president has been a fantastic force for UAL and if I take on the role I fully intend to take on board all the positive work he’s done. The focus is, inevitably, on what students need and deserve from their UAL.”

Access to education

BA Public Relations student Bee Tajudeen states in her manifesto that she “will listen to you and echo what you want.

“I will champion the hardworking students to decision makers and secure the best outcome for students.”

Shelly Asquith, 22, studies BA Criticism Communication and Curation and wants to see “SUarts leading the fight for fairer access to arts education.

“For me that means playing a part in national campaigns against cuts as well as working to improve the services at UAL.

“I believe education should be free and accessible to all. I have experience of running and winning campaigns and I can deliver on the issues affecting UAL students.”

Education, culture and diversity

Culture and diversity officer candidates are Rai Kabir, Mostafa Rajaai, Audrey Jordan, Kina, Momo Lai and Ioana Ciolacu Miron.

Activities and volunteering officer candidates are Ashley Taylor, Frankie Moloney, Rosie Black, Yuan Cai and Lil Weetch.

Education officer candidates are Hannah Roberts, Mansi Chitalia and Courteny Griffiths.

Visit the elections website to read all the candidates manifestos.

Voting will close on Thursday, February 28 at 12pm, with the results being announced the same day at 8pm in the LCC Darkroom bar by former journalist and television weatherman Michael Fish.

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