The Edinburgh University Students’ Association by-election results were announced on Friday 13 October in The Pleasance Cabaret Bar.
University-wide Postgraduate Representatives, Activities Representatives, School Representatives and National Union of Students (NUS) Delegate positions, were among the main categories of positions voted for.
A total of 83 candidates stood for nomination. 18 posts were filled with the Activities and School Representatives, as well as 21 NUS Delegate seats, totaling 39 successfully run campaigns.
Two positions of the University-wide Postgraduate Representative team were newly established this academic year — the Postgraduate Research Students Representative and the Postgraduate Taught Students Representative. The posts were created in response to gaps in PhD research and taught student representation.
The Postgraduate Research Students Representative was one of the most highly contested positions with five candidate nominations. Fabio Battaglia, a Social Policy PhD student starting his research studies at Edinburgh this year, was successfully elected to the position.
Speaking to The Student, Battaglia expressed his eagerness to be taking up the post, and to “be the person that people can rely on… and to improve students’ university life.”
An Italian native, Battaglia saw it significant that “this particular position [be] filled by an international student, because 60 per cent of PhD students come from abroad.”
One of his main manifesto points focused on PhD student scholarships: “Unfortunately,” he told The Student, “I am a self-funded student, so I will lobby to have the university grant us more scholarships.
“Although I know that this is perhaps not something that can easily fall under my competencies, and am not expecting to happen within this next year, I still think it is important to campaign for it.”
Furthermore, Battaglia spoke to The Student about the importance for PhD students to have more social interaction with one another, pointing out that “the problem with PhD students is that they are so focused on working on their own research, that they tend to become isolated [from each other], diminishing social fluidity.
“I’m interested in well-being, that’s what my research is about. Obviously, wellbeing is a very broad concept, but I’m particularly interested in social relationships.
“So if you are working on research that is interdisciplinary, it would especially be important to increase more social interaction through non-school specific, university-wide PhD student events.”
Finally, Battaglia told The Student about his intent on changing the printing limit for PhD students across campus. As of now, PhD students have unlimited printing privileges at their home school building, yet there is a cap at other university facilities, including the library.
Ian Boyd, elected for History, Classics & Archaeology (HCA) Postgraduate School Representative, also spoke to The Student: “My message to postgrads at HCA is that I’m always an email away, and that I’m here to listen. Your issues are my issues.”
When asked about what he hopes to bring through this position, Boyd said: “I’m a big believer in equality — be that socioeconomically, racially, gender-wise.”
Boyd is looking to hear from fellow HCA students, and especially for ways “we can make the HCA programme more representative and inclusive through the official student publications.”
With regards to NUS Delegates, Patrick Kilduff, President of the Students’ Association, explained during the results announcements that “NUS require delegations to comprise of 50 per cent self-defined women, rounded down.
“We were only able to elect 13 Delegates this time as there were no more self-defined women standing. We will, therefore, elect the 14th Delegate, who must be a self-defined woman, at the first Student Council of semester 2.”
Image: Andrew Perry