Meet the candidates running to be your next Equality, Liberation and Access Officer

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By Molly Pipe, SU Correspondent

The Equality, Liberation and Access Officer is responsible for ensuring an equal, supportive and inclusive university environment for all students, regardless of their background or identity.

With incumbent Jason Palmer due to end his term as Equality, Liberation and Access Officer, two students have put their names into the ring to replace him.

Voting takes places using a ranked-choice system, meaning students can rank all the candidates in order. Voting will be open between 9am Tuesday 9 March and 9pm on Thursday 11 March. Results will be announced by Bristol SU via Instagram Live at 6pm on Friday 12 March. For more information on voting visit this link.

Here are the candidates running to be your next Equality, Liberation and Access Officer (in alphabetical order):

Leah Martindale

Bristol SU / Leah Martindale

Current Postgraduate Education Officer Leah is looking to move role this year, to a position that focuses on liberation groups. Leah has focused her manifesto on tackling hate on campus, achieving attainment for all and increasing staff diversity.

To achieve her aims of tackling hate and creating a more welcoming campus, Leah will ensure that staff Liberation champions have regular consulations with students from liberation backgrounds, bring student voices from liberation backgrounds into meetings with University management and defend students against academic attacks on their identity. Alongside this, she plans to introduce a zero-tolerance policy towards hatred in every society, club and JCR. A particular focus is ensuring that students from East Asian backgrounds are protected given the rise of anti-Asian hatred during the pandemic.

To ensure students from all backgrounds can access campus resources and work to the best of their ability, Leah intends to introduce reviews of attainment gaps for every liberation group, ensuring that the University provides financial support for online and distance learners and students who are carers, parents or mature students. University and SU staff hiring practices will also be reformed to make the staff more representative of the diversity of the student body.

Ru Burroughs

Bristol SU / Ru Burroughs

Third year English student Ru has focused their manifesto on helping students from liberation backgrounds, supporting those affected by the pandemic and raising awareness of consent and drug harm reduction on campus.

Their policies to support students from liberation backgrounds on campus include:  working to expand and increase the University's outreach and engagment with students from widening participation (WP) backgrounds, increasing the number of gender-neutral bathroom spaces across campus and making the labelling of them more inclusive and introducing more comprehensive training available around issues of equality, diversity and inclusion for committee members of societies and networks.

Ru also wants to raise awareness around issues including mental health, consent and drug usage and to do that they plan on implementing a range of policies including the introduction of drug-testing kits in Halls, establishing a more holistic and comprehensive policy around sex education with a greater focus on consent, sex work and ethical porn consumption and increasing the provision of mental health staff trained in LGBT+ and BME experiences, with a greater focus on collaboration with external charities and mental health groups to do so.

Featured Image: Epigram / Siavash Minoukadeh / Patrick Sullivan


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