By Ruby Guyatt and Ben Wilson
It’s that time of year again, as King’s hopefuls prepare their campaigns for Student Council elections.
Candidates for Student Council have been announced for this year’s elections, which close at 5pm today.
Over 60 candidates are fighting it out for the 27 Student Council posts that are open for election, and a full candidate list can be viewed on the KCLSU website.
Conservative Society Chair and incumbent Student Council Chair Ben Judge hopes to be re-elected to lead the Council. Judge aims to help societies and clubs to continue to flourish, ensure the welfare of minority and ethnic groups, and bring course and study based issues to the forefront of Council discussion, faces competition from Emiljan Gega, Robbie Hirst, and Lana Nabeel.
Gega’s manifesto describes one of his key commitments as being to ensure that: ‘the representative process is effective in communicating the student voice’ and claims that his campaign ‘will not be biased towards one campus’.
Meanwhile Nabeel, another nominee for the position of Council Chair, promises to listen to a listen to the views and perspectives of all at King’s ‘because every student matters’, operating under the effusive tagline ‘Power to the students!’
Hirst, the final nominee for Chair, told Roar! why one of his key commitments – the Lord Carey Campaign – is important:
“It acts as a reminder that students do care about big issues and can’t be ignored on them.”
Another hotly contested election post up for grabs is NUS delegate, which involves helping to develop KCLSU policy for debate and approval on the national stage, and attending NUS Annual Conference with voting rights.
Jack Falkingham, one of the nominees hoping to be elected as an NUS delegate, spoke to Roar! about why the position is so crucial, saying “It’s vital we have a strong voice for King’s, to make an effective national union that will stand up for our interests.”
There are eleven other candidates vying to fill the six available NUS delegate positions. Third-year History student Henrique Laitenberger is floating his campaign on five key areas of focus with regards to the NUS; transparency, communication, strong intercollegiate cooperation, campaigning on a national scale and putting student concerns first.
Shaheen Sattar, who aims to introduce an anti-Islamaphobia week, also hopes to make healthcare accessible to all by blocking the NHS levy on international students, as well as drawing attention to crises and discrimination on a global scale and supporting King’s societies which do the same.
Michael Di Benedetto, whose commitments include the campaign for the London Living Wage at KCL, defending the NHS while scrapping its levy for international students, stopping closures and staff redundancies and challenging all forms of discrimination, has also committed his campaign to the momentous task of achieving the complete abolition of tuition fees for higher education.
Reece Warren pledges to ‘fight the NUS to stop just protesting’, claiming that the NUS has just become a breeding ground for partisan politics and arguing that it should focus on positive action rather than negative campaigning against the government.
An active member in the establishment of the KCL People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Unite Against Fascism Groups, David Hollings was also involved in last November’s NUS demonstration against higher fees and the recent TUC ‘Save Our NHS’ demonstration in Manchester.
Student Ambassadors Kubra Hussain and Sughra Hussain both want to use the role of NUS Delegate to ensure the views of the students are heard, while Ben Wood places the focus upon ensuring that finance should not be an issue that needs to be taken into account when considering university by promising to halt privatisation of educational services, protecting greater maintenance loans for London students, and pushing for consideration for parents supporting multiple children through university.
Adam Malczak calls for the NUS to focus on the students, not the bureaucrats, claiming that transparency and respect is key in improving both the NUS and the student experience.
Meanwhile Ismail Jeilani’s campaign for NUS Delegate is centred on four crucial issues – recording of all lectures at King’s, easier access to inter-departmental and inter-collegiate modules within the City of London, NHS accessibility for international students and the confrontation of Islamaphobia ‘through real discussion and not emotional debate’.
The final candidate for NUS Delegate, Jacob Smith, did not have a manifesto available at the time of writing.
Positions as School Reps and Postgraduate Officers, as well as Officers in Environment and Ethics, Sports, Volunteering, Societies, Student Media, and other areas are also open for election, more details of which may be found on the KCLSU website.
Jessy Howard, who is running for Student Media Officer, told Roar! “We need more space, media does decide the outward perception of King’s, as well as our identity.”
Nik Jovcic-Sas, who is running for Interfaith Officer, describes the role as presenting an opportunity to provide “more provision for minority faith groups on campus including interfaith prayer rooms and more events showcasing the diverse cultural colours of the campus.”