Disabled Students’ Campaign Committee Elections 2018

DSC elections are upon us! Over the next few days we’ll have a digital hustings, voting will open, and when it closes we’ll have a new committee ready to start making change in Cambridge next Michaelmas! This post will be updated during the election with hustings statements, links to vote, and the results of the election.

If you have any questions, concerns, or complaints about the elections, please email disabled@cusu.cam.ac.uk. A simplified breakdown of elections rules can be found in the candidates pack.

 

CANDIDATE INFO

We have 8 people running for 9 positions (some are joint and some people are running for 2 positions) to view their manifestos, click below:

Designed (pdf)

Plain text (word document)

The candidates are:

  • Jane O’ Connor & Flic Kersting (joint) for Welfare Officers
  • Chay Graham for Academic Affairs Officer
  • Georgina Taylor for Women’s Officer
  • Abderdeen Poweel for Trans Officer
  • Jess O’Brien for Access & Funding Officer and Socials Officer
  • Mia Watanabe for BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Officer
  • Tom Ashford for Computing Officer and LGBT+ Officer

To read more about what each role entails, check out section D (page 4) of the DSC constitution. 

 

HUSTINGS

Hustings is an opportunity for voters to ask questions of candidates in an election to find out more about their, policies, beliefs, and plans for if they are elected.

In order to make the elections process as accessible as possible, we will be holding a “digital” hustings that doesn’t require in person participation. Self-identifying disabled students may submit questions via this form to candidates before 5pm today (the 21st), which will be checked by the elections committee, and sent to candidates to answer. After the form closes at 5pm and all answers have been received, we will post them here on the DSC website.

Please keep your questions short and answerable, and make sure they are about specific issues and policy, and directed at roles rather than at individuals.

Link to form: https://goo.gl/forms/Gr1tOMEAPXjlEFdq1

Question: “What one thing do you most want to change in your time in role?”

Answers:

  • Candidate for Access Officer & Socials Officer, Jess O’Brien: The thing I would most like to change would be the university’s attitude to basic mental health provision. However, as I don’t feel that’s something that can be done in the space of a year, I think the most helpful thing that could be achieved would be to make students more aware of what ‘counts’ as a disability, and work to organise an effective campaign dedicated to getting a reading week implemented.
  • Joint candidates for Welfare Officer, Jane O’Connor & Flic Kersting: We have a couple of things we’d love to do with our role. There are massive disparities between colleges in a number of ways – these range from physical accessibility to existence of JCR Disability officers to college funding for medical care. We really hope to level these differences as much as possible. The visibility of our role ties into this, and is another thing that we feel is essential. We plan to run events, consult colleges and JCRs, and even put out surveys to ensure that we are visible in our role and in what we do.
  • Candidate for BME Officer, Mia Watanabe: I want to highlight the unique – and often undermined – experience of disability as a BME person. This doesn’t mean ‘explaining’ our experiences to those who cannot understand them, but rather raising awareness to BME people that what we experience as disability can be, and often is, different to what is popularly ‘understood’. This means supporting BME students in a way that legitimises our existences and acknowledges that BME perspectives of disability can be intrinsically linked to structural oppressions.
  • Candidate for Women’s Officer, Georgina Taylor: Something I’d really like to change over this next year is how many people are engaged with the DSC – there are lots of misconceptions amongst the student population that prevent more people from getting involved, like thinking a diagnosis is crucial to identifying as disabled, or that mental distress doesn’t count, or that them identifying as disabled would undermine the disabled community in some way. I think it’s an issue that stands out particularly for women too as our internalised ableism or ideas about disability can often play into how we view our genders and how we want our genders to be viewed.
  • Candidate for Trans Officer, Abderbeen Powell: In my time interacting with other Cambridge groups (e.g. my college JCR, the LGBT+ autonomous campaign), I’ve encountered a pervasive view that disability access is either an insurmountable challenge or a closed or near-closed issue. There is rarely a move, from any group that is not disability-focused, to ensure that events and communications are accessible to disabled students, or to address the additional issues that disabled students face within cambridge. Although not specific to trans students, I would love to help ensure the autonomous campaigns and college JCRs/MCRs take action to properly support the disabled students they represent.

 

VOTING

Voting is open from Tuesday 22nd at 9am, and closes at 5pm on Thursday 24th.

Only those who self-identify as disabled, as having a mental illness, or as having a past experience of disability may vote. For the Campaign’s liberation officers (BME, Trans, LGBT+, Women’s) you must also identify as part of those groups to vote.

Link to vote here: https://www.vote.cusu.cam.ac.uk/dslc/17-18/dsc/

 

RESULTS

The 2018-19 Committee is:

  • Jane O’ Connor & Flic Kersting (joint) for Welfare Officers
  • Chay Graham for Academic Affairs Officer
  • Georgina Taylor for Women’s Officer
  • Abderdeen Poweel for Trans Officer
  • Jess O’Brien for Access & Funding Officer and Socials Officer
  • Mia Watanabe for BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Officer
  • Tom Ashford for Computing Officer and LGBT+ Officer

You can view a breakdown of the results here: https://www.vote.cusu.cam.ac.uk/dslc/17-18/dsc/?results

 

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