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YUSU Elections 2017: Aisling Musson (Disabled Students’ Officer)

Image: the University of York Students' Union
Image: the University of York Students' Union
Image: the University of York Students’ Union

Aisling Musson is a Second Year student of Social & Political Sciences. She hopes to become the next Disabled Students’ Officer in the 2017 elections at the University of York Students’ Union.

What inspired you to run for the position?

I was inspired by the changes that I’ve seen other officers make in their time representing students, and would like to represent disabled students’ interests and make the university a better place.

What makes you different from the other candidate(s)?

Having looked at our manifestos we’ve both pledged to address the Disabled Students’ Allowance cuts, address campus and sport accessibility and improve mental health services.

However I have further pledges to improve accessibility when it comes to societies, freshers week, improve information available to students on healthcare, to work with departments to improve academic access, to lobby for Mental Health First Aid training for staff, to work with other union officers and mental health campaign groups and have committed to raising the profile of the network and energising it, in order to get more students involved and to increase our participation and lobbying power.

How would your policies change student life at York?

If successful I feel my policies would make campus and the university more navigable for disabled students, enabling them to get the most of their studies and their university experience as a whole. I think the three pronged approach I have which encompasses accessibility in multiple areas of student life, awareness and increased information, and activism provides a robust plan to improve the experiences of disabled students at York.

What challenges do you expect to face in this position and how will you respond to them?

The biggest challenge I feel will be one of negotiating with different groups at the university, from the university itself to colleges to academic departments. However, I feel I have the drive and passion to pursue my manifesto pledges, the negotiating and campaigning experience to lobby for real change and the leadership and teamwork abilities to work with the network and other officers to pursue our goals.

What has been your most enjoyable experience at university?

Getting involved in societies has been by fair the most enjoyable experience for me! It’s been a massive boost to my confidence and I’ve met so many like-minded people and make some of the best friendships through societies!

What challenges do disabled students face on campus?

No two disabled students have the same experiences, but if I had to group the challenges disabled students face into some key categories it would be: inaccessibility on campus and on their courses, barriers to getting involved in extra-curricular activities, lack of clarity of information, underfunded healthcare services, DSA cuts and stigma towards disabled students on campus and in society at large.

As told to Charlotte Williams