News Editor Noa Hoffman sat down with the Edinburgh University Students’ Association President Patrick Kilduff to speak about his plans for the upcoming year.
What were your primary policy goals coming into your presidency?
My main goals were about improving accessibility to students across the university and helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds on a level playing field access services across the university.
You stated in your manifesto that you wanted an ‘online roadmap’ for course deadlines. How far has that policy come along?
We’re working with the university through a project called ‘service excellence’, which is an overall project to improve various services at university including special circumstances and timetabling. Timetabling will include processes about [deadline roadmaps].
How far along has your proposed ‘study space availability tracker’ come?
We’re working closely with the library service to do this. They’ve told me that we can get a traffic light system in and I am trying to build up a strategy with them for my longer term goal where students can use more things like specific, more expensive technologies to aid learning.
Is sufficient funding for these initiatives and services currently available?
I don’t believe funding is available for the special internet technologies yet, but the funding for my traffic light system in the library, that’s simply using the existing technology and just improving the relay data of it.
How are you planning on making special circumstances more accessible to students?
Essentially the idea of making special circumstances more accessible is to make sure students aren’t treated like they are coming from a position of dishonesty and treated with more trust.
We are working with the university to make sure that where students are applying it’s a simple, easy process that doesn’t feel like there is a barrier to getting the help students need.
We’re trying to make sure that there is a universal policy across the university so students don’t have to think about what their specific school’s special circumstances policy is. I think all of that will make special circumstances much more accessible.
At the same time can you ensure that the system isn’t exploited?
Yes absolutely. I think this is the point, that actually I think we have to treat students with trust. You have to trust that if someone says they’re in need of help – they are.
Now obviously depending on what the issue is you have to face the burden of evidence but also I think the main part of making special circumstances more accessible is that the current threshold for students means that students who are going through a really tough time aren’t getting the help they need or the help they deserve.
So what we’re trying to do is make sure students can get the help that they need.
What is your number one priority as President at present?
My number one priority is just improving accessibility across the university. Me and the team are working on a whole number of issues that hopefully do that.
Everything from increasing gender neutral toilets to making transport more accessible to housing strategies to make sure both students in halls and out of halls can access accommodation on a much cheaper and accessible front.
You stated that you want to work with students from all backgrounds to find ‘solutions that work’. Do you believe that the solution to the Robbie Travers and Esme Allman case was a solution that worked for ‘all students’ of ‘all backgrounds’?
I’m afraid I don’t believe we comment on individual members about individual cases. Good try though.
Editors note: The Students’ Association have since stated, “we cannot comment about individual members but that we are working with the University to address the evident flaws, highlighted by recent events, in the complaints procedure to ensure a fair, equal and just outcome for all students.”
What are your future goals and aspirations once you’ve completed your presidency?
Try and make the world a better place by any means necessary. Wherever the wind takes me I want to make sure I can make Edinburgh, the UK, the world, a better place.
And finally, what is the best night out in Edinburgh?
That depends on what day it is. Crème Soda and Rascals are my favourites personally. Crème Soda is definitely up there with the best nights out I’ve ever been on and Rascals is just as good.
Were you offered a table and bottles by one of their promoters to give that answer?
Absolutely not! I’m a firm believer in the crowd.
Image: Patrick Kilduff