Updated: Mar 10
Mr Rodriguez has submitted a focussed manifesto that is short but realistic. Citing his experience on societies such as History Society and Latino Society as reasons for eligibility, Mr Rodriguez claims that consultation with previous Association Presidents has provided him with a dose of realism as to what will be achievable should he be elected. There are a few gold nuggets among his policies, but one wonders to what extent his ideas are influenced by his own experience of the University and not what might be best for the student body.
Mr Rodriguez is keen to make St Andrews a more affordable place, and aims to do so with both wide-ranging and person-specific policies. His plans for making St Andrews a more affordable place to live are largely impermanent and therefore token, however, and his idea to reduce student numbers may prove controversial. To provide a scholarship out of his own earnings as a demonstration of malleable budgets is admirable but misguided, whilst reimbursing students for hours lost to strikes will be popular but impossible to achieve. Raising the pay of casual Union staff is an example of the kind of individual policy one wishes was more frequent in this manifesto.
A keenness to validate the work of the Association President lies at the heart of Mr Rodriguez’s student engagement policies. An admirable aim is the conception of ‘Reports of Accountability’ and the abandonment of weekly President’s emails which will go some way to boosting engagement with the President’s activities. Creating an an SRC Member for Students in Work will probably not do much however, besides create another position whose role students do not fully understand.
The best of Mr Rodriguez’s ideas concern the utilisation of the St Andrews alumni network for current students’ benefit as well as the creation of a free bus service that will run three times morning and night for those living out of town (though the ability to create this remains to be seen). An attempt to boost relations with Madras College is unlikely to gain traction despite its well-meaningness, but on the flipside a student design inspired range of merchandise will probably flood the University store and earn a few votes.