Interview: Candidate for Vice President Community Kelly Thompson

Candidate for Vice President Community Kelly Thompson on why she has refrained from producing a manifesto and how the university should adapt to a growing student population.

Most candidates running for a sabbatical role have detailed manifestos, is there a reason that you do not? Does this imply that you are not a serious candidate?

I don’t have a detailed manifesto because I don’t believe in making promises that I cannot keep. I don’t know what I will be able to achieve until I am in office but that doesn’t mean that I am not taking this seriously. I have a different style and I hope that the voters can see that.

How do you think that not having a manifesto will impact on your chance of being elected?

It could but I am willing to take that risk. I don’t want to go into this with a hardcore agenda that may blind me to other possibilities.

You have stated, “I would love the opportunity to engage with you, as the university community and the larger Edinburgh community, and find ways to enrich everyone’s lives.” This a very general statement, do you not think that voters are looking for more specific policies and commitments? Could you name some of these for your candidacy?

This statement shows my eagerness to do my best work if I get the position. Voters would like to have confidence in candidates and I do not want to promise something that I cannot keep. I also bring up integrating the student and Edinburgh community.  I feel a strong divide between the two and I see how student accommodation and university buildings are taking over the centre of the city.  Are there ways students and Edinburghers can come together to make the city inclusive, integrated, and an awesome place for everyone? I am willing, eager, and excited to push this idea forward if elected.

Why should students vote for a candidate without a manifesto?

Without a manifesto, I can remain flexible and not tied down to preconceived ideas that may not be possible. My manifesto tells the voter more of my integrity and that despite what may come up during my tenure, I will do what is best for as many people as possible.

What sets you apart from other candidates? 

I have many years of professional experience. I have worked with community outreach programs, educational outreach programs, and as a project coordinator.  I know how to get things done in a timely and efficient manner and as mentioned, I am already working on how to improve the university.

What do you think is the primary concern currently facing students at the University of Edinburgh?

Each student is different with their own sets of concerns, so inclusivity is important.  I want to make sure that everyone’s voice is being heard and that no one is feeling or being discriminated, harassed, or excluded.

What are your opinions on the UCU industrial action and the Students’ Association’s decision to support it?

Teaching is one of the hardest and most under-appreciated professions.  I think… EUSA’s decision to support it is fantastic.

The university has recently announced its full divestment from fossil fuels. Do you welcome this decision? Do you believe there is more work to be done in making the University more sustainable?

My degree pertains to the environment, so I welcome this divestment.  There can always be more done to make the university more sustainable such as investing in renewable energy, retrofitting buildings, education and community outreach.  I am currently working on how to make the cafes more sustainable and would love to do more around the university.

What are your thoughts on the notion that stopping student population expansion means less accessibility for people of different backgrounds?

I would like to think that it wouldn’t affect people of different backgrounds, but as a minority I know that isn’t necessarily true.  There should be an ethics committee that reviews who is accepted/declined and why so that discrimination does not occur.

What are your opinions on the growing student population, do you feel that this compromises facility availability and teaching quality? If so, what do you think needs to be done about it? 

Unfortunately, the growing student population is taking a toll on course and teacher availability, but to stop growth stagnates the university and it could fall behind.  The university needs to look at ways to adapt and grow with it, for example wider acceptance, quality and availability of online courses/degrees.

Image: Kelly Thompson

 

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