In seasonal fashion autumn breaks from the grips of summer and with it our political campus breaks from the realm of stability. This election brings new highs of tension within the hall of the Student Union. With it brings an intense and snap battle for the irregularly up for grabs position of president of the Coventry University Student Union (CUSU). Not lacking in importance candidates for PGT (Post Graduate Taught Officer and the esteemed National Union delegation will await on student ballots as well. As the positions entail, the results of this election mean a redirecting of the student union’s leadership, minor restructuring in departments and a shift in the tone and form of representation. To kick off this crucial election on Tuesday 15th candidates for all position stood in front of their electorates and participated in CUSU arranged question time forum. The results of which were a rise in anticipation for all that attended and tuned in live on CUSU streaming.
This entertaining night of politics and policy began with an opening speech from acting president Blessed Pepple. Who carried over the forum into the presidential speeches and questions. This year’s running candidates are Mr. Augustine Chukwuemeka Nwosa, Mr. Domero Olomu and Mr. Nasirudeen Tijani Raji. The candidates spoke on many concerning topics and answered questions ranging in form, content and importance. Perhaps the most important representation of this is the response to a question from the attendants asking if candidates would achieve one thing in their presidency, what would that be? Nwosa answered first, being an international student, he spoke of student admission and how to reform said section of university will implant a system of support that students can rely on from the minute they step on to campus until they graduate. Olomu spoke of student engagement and value of communication for a developing union and campus. Lastly Raji highlighted the importance of mentorship on post university life and employability as the backbone of the student experience. A second-year representative view of Coventry university students and how these students view their problems.
This year’s election also carries a lot of uncertainty for many students, considering the wider political uncertainty unraveling the country and the Brexit debate carries on. When candidates were asked to explain how they would aid EU students after the October vote. The response was truly representative of Coventry university students and how these students view their world. Mr. Nasirudeen responded with a sensible and valid option which was summaries in embracing the uncertainty and in readiness for all outcome. Which rather importantly increase dependence on the working relationship between CUSU and the university to help students navigate these uncharted waters. Mr. Domero intelligently highlighted the systems already in place, such as the online student portal to tackle the issues. Placing his trust and hopefully his electorates trust in CUSU and the system. Mr. Augustine’s response was rather outside the box and reaffirmed students not to worry about the Brexit vote directing them to look how international students and the international office in both university and CUSU had dealt with stricter immigration regulation for years.
All in all, the three candidates articulated a strong and thought out campaign represented by the awkward comedy of the forum. Two candidates independently agreed on summarizing the election campaign as an awesomely stressful event.
Postgraduate Taught Officer:
The Postgraduate Taught Officer (PGT) position this year much like the Autumn Election showed strands of irregularity. In position to represent the minority community of students, with six candidates running PGT showed the importance of the student political system. As one candidate highlighted after the question night, postgraduates are inducted into a 1-year program with the goal of achieving the highest of grades as their top priority. Leaving postgraduates with virtually no time for “student engagement”. A term that was of central importance to all candidate programs. This importance was highlighted farther in the question brought up by an attending student. A question that all candidates struggled to answer, was would the running officer insure student engagement in sport?. Candidates Fauzaan Shaikh, Job Mathews, Nana Akoto-bamfo and Tra My vu My all agree all strongly stated their cases for student engagement. Sport engagement priority is not off the highest concern for post graduates thus reducing its importance within engagement. However, the pressure that candidates experienced answering that question highlighted the importance of engagement itself to the PGT position. While the position is representation of the minority it is of great importance to all CUSU members as it’s a department of the Union where solutions to student problems and precedent of operation are pioneered.
As Blessed Pepple asks his final question of the night to the NUS delegate candidates, the courtyard fills of stimulating chatter as the eventful question time leaves the crowd wondering who they will vote for in the upcoming election. The candidates will continue campaigning around Coventry University’s campuses post question time, in the run up to next week's polling day. Every candidate running brings a distinctive personality, and fresh agenda to each available role. To predict who will win each position is a challenge however, each candidate has informed and inspired many students to vote therefore to predict if the polls will be close is apparent.