Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Candidate Interview: Steve Gray

Steve Gray is candidate for the position of Participation and Development Officer and kindly agreed to be interviewed by our correspondent Charlotte Sundberg.

For the ongoing London Met Student Union elections, Steve Gray is running for Participation and Development Officer. He is the current editor of the Vervezine. One of his challenges, if he gets elected, is to encourage the students to participate more in the life of the Student Union (SU).

“We need more people, more involved in more events around the university,” Steve explained. The attendance for the events organized by the Student Union has been poor this year and they haven’t been promoted well enough.
"They [previous SU officers] sat in their offices at lunchtime, even though students needed to see them"
“Right now the web site isn’t very visible,” Steve commented on the state of the Student Union’s web site. “We need to make sure we’re our own entity rather than a link,” he continued. “Visibility will have more people looking at the site and more people will know about events that happen.” The goal is that a more visible and up to date website, sending out e-mails and messages will help promote the events.

“The events are the same sort of thing week in and week out,” Steve commented. The idea is to have more varied events in the future, so the concepts don’t go stale.

The new administration of the SU needs to engage more with the students. “One of the problems we’ve had with previous administrations in the SU is that they haven’t engaged with students. They sat in their offices at lunchtime, even though students needed to see them for advocacy stuff,” he explained, wanting to change that for next year.
“We say we’re an independent body, we’re not that independent".
The Student Union has struggled with a lack from the students and the University this year, as the last election was subject to fraud. The constitution of the Student Union was also ratified a while ago, so that every decision has to be run through a body of the University.

“We need to work with the University to show that we can be trusted.” “That’s what the SU needs; trust,” Steve commented. He wants to show that they can get a good turn-out, be self-sufficient and a body that the University to trust.

“We say we’re an independent body, we’re not that independent,” he comments on the current situation of the Student Union. The Student Union is being run through the Student Services and the Student Office.

The student magazine has had issues of censorship from the University over the past year as they have been the body that has checked the magazine, especially when it comes to the ongoing process due to the economic difficulties the University faces. “That won’t be an issue next year because we’ll be held accountable to the Student Council rather than the University,” Steve explained.

“If I were elected, I would definitely relinquish the editorship given that there was someone interested in taking over,” he said, seeing the potential conflict of interest of being the editor of the student magazine and having a position as Officer.

Mr. Gray has an election blog here, with additional details about himself and his campaign.

Voting ends at midday on May 8th and the editor urges everybody to vote for the candidate of their choice or to vote Re-Open Nominations if they cannot find a candidate of their choice.

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