Manifesto

Candidate for the position of President (full-time, paid)

Image for MANDY MAHIL

MANDY MAHIL

Demand More

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Hi, I’m standing to be your President because I want to see a students’ union that doesn’t just talk about liberation, collectivism and equality; but actually delivers on these values every single day.

I have been out and about listening to our students and with the current political uncertainty, we have to be clearer than ever that we won’t take a back seat on issues that affect us, whether this is on education, funding or access to jobs of the future.

But we can’t allow national politics to let us forget about local issues, we shouldn’t have to choose between them. Our education should be a right. It should be transformative and accessible, whenever and wherever it suits us in life. Support me and I will build a stronger union ready to lead the way in the fight for the education we all deserve and need.

As President, I will encourage campaigns and self-organisation on the ground against the harsh and sustained cuts to student support and our education. I’ll be focused on making a practical difference and I’ll always speak my mind. You will always know where I stand and rest assure it will be on your side.

 

Elect me and I will:

1. Increase the employability and wellbeing of our students

2. Improve the student experience at KCL and of KCLSU

3. Fight for a fairer deal for all of our students

4. Work to strengthen the voice of our students

5. Deliver a campaign for student support that covers the cost of living in undergraduate and postgraduate study

Below are some of my commitments to you in more detail. To learn more about me or for an extended version of my manifesto visit: www.mandy4president.com


Education

Politicians who benefited from a free university education have launched the biggest attack on our education system. We need to tackle the barriers our students are facing to access education, from financial restraints, to the attainment gap at all levels of study.  Elect me and I will:

  • Fight towards a free and accessible education, from securing grants to cutting living costs
  • Ensure a movement that is accessible to, and empowers, part-time students, mature students, carers and students with disabilities
  • Provide support for postgraduate students against extortionate fees and exploitation on teaching contracts
  • Call for all students to be given a reading week no matter what their course
  • Aiming for more stable timetables - collaborating with timetable offices to attempt to make timetables more suitable for your student experience
  • Help students explore how extra-curricular activities that can contribute towards their degree

Student development

The personal and professional development of our members is my priority. I pledge to:

  • Establish a central hub for volunteering, work experience opportunities, internships and development activities so students can easily find experiences to complement their degree and expand their skills knowledge of the world of work
  • Secure funding to offer training to at least one member of every sports team to complete their relevant coaching qualification and first aid certification every season so that our Sports teams can continue to achieve at a local, national and international level
  • Introduce a new accredited framework for volunteers, officers, clubs, societies and sports teams to recognise and reward the valuable contribution they make
  • Transform clubs and societies by offering master classes and more role specific training such as fundraising, events planning and membership recruitment to support our committees in delivering for their societies, clubs and teams
  • Enhance our services to clubs, societies and sports teams ensuring seamless support and administration of processes including equipment, expenses, kit, etc

Campaigning

I want to see KCLSU continue to be an actively campaigning union that listening to the needs of our students, inspiring them to action and ensure we achieve in making student lives better.

  • I will establish a Change Academy offering training, support and guidance to our students who campaign for beneficial change, working one to one with individuals and supporting groups engaging in campaigns to ensure they achieve their aspirations and ambitions.
  • Actively enhance the information and support available to our students when seeking new accommodation by running information and awareness raising activities.
  • Campaign actively encouraging students to take part in meaningful physical activity, engaging in stress relieving techniques and reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health.
  • Support our liberation campaigns to champion equality of opportunity for all
  • I will establish a political academy and deliver masterclasses featuring some of the greatest minds in modern politics

Building the student voice

There is an entrenched cynicism about politics within the UK and especially amongst young people, which cannot be addressed easily, or overnight. Changing this will require a comprehensive programme of political education, participation and representation. If elected I will:

  • Deliver a voter registration drive
  • Demonstrate how block voting could significantly influence the outcomes
  • Confront politicians with the reality of what it means to be a student
  • Encourage politicians to recognise our unique perspective and positive contributions

Representation

I will strive to work with the University whilst consulting with students on any issues to ensure we provide the best possible learning environment. I pledge to:

  • Campaign to improve your learning experience by reducing the time it takes to get your feedback, enhancing our support and training of Course Representatives, and increase the amount of space for you at the busiest times of year
  • Fix a regular time and day on each campus for you to get advice & support from KCLSU

Societies

Our societies and clubs involve hundreds of students in meaningful activities each and every day. We need to listen to them, learn from them and empower them. I pledge to:

  • Review the funding processes for societies, clubs and sports teams
  • Work with societies to help promote and grow their events
  • Introduce an accredited training course for society volunteers

Faith Groups

I believe faith groups on campus make an incredibly unique and important contribution to the student experience. I pledge to:

  • Work in collaboration with all faith groups and umbrella bodies including UJS, NHSF, FOSIS as well as others to provide much greater support our students
  • Defend the provision of multi-faith spaces and prayer rooms
  • Instigate a consultation to better understand the needs of students of faith

Religious and Cultural Festivals

Exam dates and coursework deadlines often clash with major faith or cultural events. Forcing students to choose between meeting religious and educational commitments generates undue pressure, with adverse consequences on students’ achievements. I pledge to:

  • Lobby KCL to review their current timetabling arrangements and solve other timetabling problems (double-bookings, late evening lectures)

Liberation and Equality

Liberation is at the heart of everything we do, but it’s not enough to just say that, we must implement this in every aspect of our union. With unprecedented attacks on the most vulnerable in society, we must defend the rights of our students. I pledge to:

  • Launch a KCLSU Fairness Commission
  • Ensure priority campaigns and budgets are reflective of liberation campaigns
  • Demand that better systems are put in place to prevent sexual harassment and assault on campus, as well as better support for survivors
  • Amplify student-led efforts to tackle the attainment gaps
  • Promote the work of liberation campaigns at our union, with clear ways to get involved
  • Work to put an end to  racism, sexism, LGBTphobia and disability discrimination on campus
  • Ensure KCL promotes inclusivity, by putting intersectionality and liberation at the heart of how we are taught

Anti-Racism & Anti-Fascism

We have a proud tradition of standing up to racism and fascism in all its forms. If elected I will:

  • Support Islamophobia Awareness Month and Black History Month, and commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day
  • Train students on police monitoring and produce a know-your-rights pamphlet for dealing with police on Stop & Search, at protests and immigration checks.
  • Work closely with international students against scapegoating of migrants by all major political parties.
  • Work to oppose xenophobic policies from whatever government we face
  • Work with groups such as Hope Not Hate and Tell MAMA to combat far-right extremism and help victims report hate crimes
  • Uphold our No Platform Policy
  • Ensure there is zero tolerance to racist language, bullying and abuse
  • Challenge anti-semitism and Islamophobia on campus and in the student movement

LGBT+

We must recognise that whilst there is commonality between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, some issues are specific to individual communities. If elected I will:

  • Provide training to all staff on LGBT issues
  • Ensure there is zero tolerance to LGBT bullying and abuse
  • Support positive LGBT role models
  • Work closely with external partners to learn and become more inclusive

Intersectionality

Intersectionality must continue to be at the heart of everything we do. As Audre Lorde said “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives”. I pledge to:

  • Organise an annual Liberation conference
  • Deliver intersectionality workshops 
  • Work closely with UK Black Pride and QTIPOC

International Students

Our international students come to KCL for a world-class education but too often experience barriers and difficulties. The excessive tuition fees and visa charges imposed on these students is exploitative given the often inadequate academic, cultural and language resources and support that are provided to them. If elected I will:

  • Lobby the Home Office to introduce a new and improved post-study work visa scheme
  • Deliver a ‘gold standard’ induction for international students
  • Push KCL to create more bursaries and scholarships for talented international students

PGRs, GTAs and Parents

For too long we have ignored this key group. I pledge to:

  • Lobby KCL to increase GTA pay
  • Campaign to create grant schemes to cover research related travel
  • Campaign for paid maternity and paternity leave
  • Introduce a childcare policy and provide more support to parents
  • Bridge the communication gap and lack of engagement with PGRs and GTAs.
  • Lobby the Secretary of State for Education for fairer Post Graduate Funding
  • Call for financial barriers to be removed from access to postgraduate study and for postgraduate funding for all ages and all subjects

Disabled Students

I will campaign to remove the stigma from all disabilities, challenge perceptions and encourage all our members to take a positive attitude towards understanding the nature of disability and overcoming prejudices. I pledge to:

  • Throw my full support behind Disability History Month
  • Extend and defend the rights of disabled students
  • Work closely with disabled students reps to propose new policies to NUS

Mental Health

Many students consider themselves to have a mental health problem but suffer in silence due to lack of awareness of the services available to them. I pledge to:

  • Make it a priority to support mental health and wellbeing
  • Lobby the KCL to invest in the Counselling Service and simplify the Mitigating Circumstances Form (MCF)

National Union of Students

I believe that student unions are stronger when they act together. I will stand up for a strong, inclusive and active NUS and will fight off any calls for disaffiliation. I pledge to:

  • Ensure delegates are sent to all NUS liberation and National conferences
  • Extend an open invitation to NUS to work with KCLSU
  • Promote understanding of and involvement in NUS