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Union President Candidate

James Durcan

Summary

  • CUT STUDENT COSTS: Freeze Campus Rents, Build more affordable rooms, Stop hidden course costs, Tackle first bus, Scrap the £30 college fee.
  • BUILD A BETTER UNI: Better facilities for off-campus students, More storage space, New Students’ Union Building, Better accessibility.
  • IMPROVE THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE: YUSU on Hes East, Clear guidance to access support, Mental health training for uni staff, Quality events.

60 second Manifesto

Manifesto

Hi! I’m James, a third year history student. I’ve absolutely loved my time at York and have enjoyed making the most of all the opportunities and experiences that our uni has to offer.

YUSU doesn’t do enough to engage with or to support students, and I want to change this! Our Students’ Union should represent us, so I can’t wait to speak to thousands of students during campaigning to hear what you have to say. Having met with many different groups already, I’ve put together some great ideas but I’ll be doing a lot more talking - and more importantly, listening - throughout my year as President.

 

Cut Student Costs

Freeze Campus Rents - Rents are going up year on year, but we can stop this! York has some of the highest rents in the country. I will tell the Uni to freeze on-campus rents to protect students like us.

Build more affordable rooms - I will re-survey students after their first year to provide better data on room satisfaction rates, so that we build fewer premium rooms and more affordable ones.

Stop hidden course costs - Students should know how much their degree or module choices will cost them. All departments should have to set out projected costs for things like lab equipment, field trips and essential books.

Tackle First Bus - The Uni gave First Bus a monopoly, and it’s a bad deal for students. I will fight for a better and more reliable service, secure more sponsorship for clubs and societies, push for a reduction in the termly and yearly rates and also improve other methods of transport.

Scrap the £30 college fee - Not only is there a lack of information on what our money goes towards, one in three students don’t even pay the fee - so let’s get rid of the college fee, and make sure colleges are funded properly by the Uni.

 

Build a better uni

Better facilities for off-campus students - We need to engage better with second and third year students, and give them access to on-campus facilities where they can go to socialise, study or cook food.

More storage space - Sports clubs, societies and networks are being forced to throw away equipment and resources, because there’s not enough storage space. We need to build more, open up unused rooms and think about storage when developing campus.

New Students’ Union Building - We need a central hub to put student activities at the heart of the uni so that we can host bigger events that bring all groups together. You should be at the centre of the planning, so I’ll make sure to speak to as many students as possible about what they want from their Students’ Union.

Better accessibility around the university - As well as ensuring that all new buildings are fully accessible, we can’t neglect aging parts of campus. We’ve got dodgy doors, broken lifts, inadequate hearing loops and terrible signage all over the place. I will work with the Disabled Students’ Network and college reps to find the problems and get them fixed.

 

Improve the student experience

Bigger YUSU presence on Hes East - I will open up YUSU and increase its presence on Hes East so that the student experience isn’t defined by what campus you live on. Not only will I fight better inclusivity, I will work on Hes East at least once a week so that all students can make their voice heard

Clear guidance for students to access support - There are loads of sources of support for students struggling with all kinds of issues; however, it can be really daunting to find the help you need. I will make sure that all students have access to simple and clear information so they know what’s available to them.

Better mental health training for all university staff - Students experiencing a mental health problem should expect a professional and informed response from any University staff member; including front line staff like Security, Receptionists and Seminar tutors. I will fight to make sure that all Uni staff have mental health first aid training, and know where they should refer students for support.

Quality students events -  It sometimes feels like YUSU is competing with colleges for publicity and ticket sales, when they should be supporting colleges to run bigger and better events for our students, including in Freshers’ Week. Huge, cross-campus events are also important, and I will make sure that we involve more students in planning and delivering YUSU events.

 

Why should you vote for me?

I hope that you like my ideas, and you share my passion for improving our Uni for all our students. As well as the ideas and energy, I have the experience to get things done:

  • Chair of James College JCRC (winners of the Committee of the Year Award)
  • Head STYC and Ambassador for my college
  • College Sport Assistant
  • Captain of College Sport teams

 

Thank you for reading! Please vote for me at www.yusu.org/vote