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Manifesto Analysis: Association President


CAM BROWN


The current Director of Education, Cam Brown, presents a clear, comprehensive, and well thought-through manifesto in his bid to be elected the next President of the Students’ Association. The last year has been both productive and successful — having seen reform to extension policies, 24-hour study spaces, the academic calendar, and the academic alerts system to name a few. Mr Brown is also responsible for the upcoming Change programme which will see a complete, modernising overhaul of the Union. His manifesto puts students at the forefront of his agenda, advocating for transparency and student input in order to help “deliver something meaningful”.


The cost of living crisis is one of Mr Brown’s core focuses. He expresses a desire to help reform the extenuating circumstances policy so that students needing to work part time are not unfairly affected in their studies. Campus Larder will continue under his leadership, and be expanded to bring in foods that comply with religious dietary requirments and extending opening hours, whilst he also plans to bring in free breakfasts for students in order to combat the fact that 28% of students have been skipping meals during the cost of living crisis.


Mr Brown pledges to continue the work of the previous six Presidents in tackling the housing crisis. He aims to hold the University and Court to their commitment to making Albany Park as affordable as possible, and get the long-awaited accommodation pushed through. He will continue to lobby Fife Council to overturn the HMO limit, and work with accommodation groups, both within and outwith the Union to provide as much support to students as possible.


In addition to leading the Change programme in order to reform the Union from the inside out, Mr Brown hopes to improve the integration of postgraduate students, strengthening safety on campus, and consulting students on a new Student Partnership agreement. He pledges to defend the freedoms of the student body — from freedom of speech to the right to protest, and lobby the University to move investments away from companies which do not stand for sustainability, nor reflect the principles of the student body.


HANA EL HILALY


Hana El Hilaly brings to the table her experience as the founder of the Middle Eastern and North African Society (MENA), in raising £5000 for charity over two years, and through prior advocacy work. She’s written for the St Andrews Economist, is active in the theatre community, and worked at the Student Union. Much of her manifesto focuses on continuation, enhancement, and expansion as opposed to the introduction of new solutions. Perhaps her most significant proposal is the dedication of a subcommittee to widening access, though it’s restricted to a relatively short blurb. Ms El Hilaly’s manifesto is promising in its commitment to continue the important work being done across the Union and University, but is nevertheless short and light on specifics.


In addressing the rising cost of living, Ms El Hilaly pledges to continue related projects, such as the Campus Larder, and increase the accessibility of information relating to financial help for students, particularly for international students. In regards to accommodation, Ms El Hilay’s manifesto states that she will continue applying pressure on the issue and use her spot on the University Court to work with senior management as they continue lobbying the government to widen student access to affordable accommodation. 


Ms El Hilaly’s plan to improve the student experience hinges largely on widening access, which she proposes dedicating a subcommittee for. She also pledges to further support the BAME Student Network, Disabled Student Network, and Saints LGBT+. Beyond this, Ms El Hilaly’s manifesto promises to “lobby for accountability and equal representation” for those who feel unsupported. Ms El Hilay also proposes increasing the utility of Report and Support and fixing the experience for those hesitant to engage with the system due to their race or identity. 


In her manifesto, Ms El Hilay proposes increasing the diversity of careers the Career Centre advertises to include opportunities beyond corporate and post-graduate work. She also pledges to help support international students in securing work visas and post-university opportunities. Finally, Ms El Hilay’s manifesto includes a plan to strengthen intra-community relations and those between the student community and wider St Andrews community by increasing inclusive education. 


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