Comment Editor Sam Pennifold on the King’s College London Student Union’s (KCLSU) decision to use Cameos to promote this year’s KCLSU Awards.

The King’s Student Union is once again showing just how out of touch it is, this time by paying z-list celebrities to promote this year’s KCLSU Awards.

Using the popular Cameo website that allows you to pay a celebrity to record a short message of your choosing, the KCLSU has released videos of Tia Kofi from Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK and Carole Baskin – made famous by the Netflix documentary Tiger King – encouraging students to nominate fellow students, staff or activity groups. This is not only painfully cringy, it comes at a cost: a minute-long video of Carole Baskin saying “hello all you cool cats and kittens” comes to the cool sum of £224.25 undiscounted. Tia Kofi is not currently advertising their price.

Reactions to the videos, that together have been viewed over 4,000 times, has been mixed. Some students seem to have seen the funny side, some have found them cringe-worthy, and others have expressed plain anger. 

One student, Jack Dean, commented on the Carole Baskin video: “Can’t help but feel it is a misstep spending money on this given the current situation. People want extra support, accountability and transparency over funding and tuition fee refunds. How do you respond? By getting a Carole Baskin cameo. What a way to show you’re in touch with the student body.” 

Guillermo Fernandez, went further, saying: “This is what KCLSU is using their money for? Corrupt organization. Use your money on things that could actually change student experience at King’s which by the way has been absolute crap during the pandemic.” Another user pointed out the inconsistency of KCLSU’s commitment to student causes, commenting: “Can we have this enthusiasm for reopening Philosophy Bar?”

One final student said: “Eh maybe you could work on King’s blocking the affordable accommodation for non first years without years without telling us first, then funny cat lady videos?”

At February’s Town Hall-style meeting that the KCLSU held with interim President of King’s Evelyn Welch, students had their chance to voice concerns over assessments, fees, the student experience and accommodation. The reaction at the time from students was one of sadness, anger and dismay. Since then, there have been KCLSU elections to elect a whole new cohort of senior representatives of our student body, most of whom ran on promises of holding the university to account. While those representatives have not yet stepped into their roles, it is clear that much more needs to be done to hold those who make decisions accountable. Because the KCLSU clearly does not understand the needs and wants of the student body – a student union that fights for them.

Why should we even trust the KCLSU with anything when they are wasting what is ultimately our money for our student experience on cameos from random, insignificant celebrities?

The KCLSU could not be more out of touch with the student body if it tried, and this is just another episode in the history of the KCLSU failing us.

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