The Saint Elections Team breakdown the manifestos of the candidates running for Athletic Union President.
Candidate: Pasha Moradzadeh-Tehrani
Athletic Union President candidate Pasha Moradzadeh-Tehrani has written a concise manifesto which is visually appealing, clear and easy to understand. He has been AU treasurer since 2021 and sat on the executive board. While the detail of his outlook at times is at times lacking, there is important emphasis on the need for open communication between Saint Sports and the student body, something much needed after debatable decisions during the past academic year. Pasha is also looking to provide opportunities for all students, whether through the introduction of payment plans or a more flexible recreational sports program.
In terms of accessibility, and continuing on from the work of the 2022-23 AU president Ailsa Martin, Pasha is looking to introduce payment plans for student sports membership, as well as allowing students to access funds within the AU. He also says he will introduce office hours, “both during the day and the evening” to ensure approachability for as many as possible. By growing the recreational sports program, he wants to ensure sport is an available option to the majority of the student body, however the implementation of this is unclear.
Decisions made during the 2022-23 academic year left many sports clubs feeling unequally treated by the AU and Saint Sports. Pasha demonstrates awareness of this and a desire to ensure all clubs are treated equally with no obvious bias towards certain sports or clubs. Alongside this is his desire for consistency in any financial decisions, whether the allocation of membership fees or equipment funds, which as a previous treasurer he will be qualified in moderating.
Pasha looks for transparency for the clubs to be achieved via membership packets, which will demonstrate where the membership funds are allocated. This will work hand-in-hand with disclosing the decision-making processes for students, through a conciliatory role between Saints Sport and the student body. Whether this is a viable idea however is not specified and thus left uncertain.
In spite of its concision, Pasha’s manifesto has ambitious and much-needed ideas which look to improve the condition of all students participating in sport at St Andrews. While some finer details are left wanting, such as precise step-by-step plans, Pasha has proven to be an engaged candidate not only through his personable and active behaviour — such as making visits to sports club practices — but through the determined attitude. As a previous treasurer, the extent of his involvement with previously controversial issues covered by The Saint, such as the closure of the athletics track and the change in designation for women’s Water Polo team, is uncertain; nevertheless, his manifesto looks to steer the position of the AU towards a more student-focused position, something advantageous to all.
Candidate: Fiona Waddell
Fiona Waddell is running for Athletics Union President after being a performance basketball athlete for the last four years, three of which were spent in various different committee positions. Fiona’s manifesto is very thorough, looks professional and it is very visually appealing. Fiona emphasises the need for clarity and transparency between the AU and the student body when making influential decisions and this is something that has been a frequent issue throughout the year with the closure of the athletics track as well as the vague criteria for what constitutes a performance sport.
Regarding accessibility, Fiona will work to implement a solution for those students who miss hall meals due to team commitment clashes. She also recognises the current financial climate in which we are in and plans to establish ‘STAsh’, a structure for alumni and students to donate or sell used St Andrews sports kit. Fiona also plans to set up a review for membership payment plans however, there is a lack of clarity of how this will be fulfilled and what the consequences of this review will lead to. In addition, to generate a culture of accessibility in the sports centre Fiona plans to discuss the implementation of access hours in the gym such as novice hour and disability hour.
Fiona plans to protect Wednesdays, the day in which the majority of fixtures are held, however there is a lack of clarity about how this will be fulfilled. Fiona also plans to set up a platform to encourage clubs and students to ask questions and ask for support through ‘AskAU’. A specific platform for queries and discussion has been absent from this year and clubs such as the Water Polo society have suffered as a result so the student body and The Saint would warmly welcome this.
A key emphasis of Fiona’s manifesto is to advocate and prioritise the student voices, as she believes that the AU has not justified many big decisions and so she is clear in her aim of having open discussion with mutual respect. In order to increase transparency, Fiona will additionally dedicate Wednesdays to being based in the sports centre to build relationships and improve communication.
To conclude, Fiona has submitted an ambitious manifesto however at times there is a lack of clarity in how certain aims will be achieved. Fiona certainly has some innovative ideas such as the establishment of ‘STAsh’, to donate or sell used sports kit as well as ‘‘Ask AU’, a platform where students can raise concerns or queries to enhance communication and transparency in the AU. Fiona certainly acknowledges that there has been a lack of clarity between students and the AU, something that has been central at the displeasure in the treatment of many sports teams throughout the year.
Image: Pasha Moradzadeh-Tehrani and Fiona Waddell