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YUSU Elections 2017: Anna Marie Hill and Tilly Dalglish (Women’s Officer)

Image: Tilly Dalgish
Image: Tilly Dalgish
Image: Tilly Dalglish

Anna Marie Hill and Tilly Dalglish are running to become Women’s Officers within the University of York Students’ Union in the 2017 officer elections.

What inspired you to run for the position?

We are both passionate activists and feminists, and we have experience in working in women’s liberation. We want to apply this passion and experience to the role of Women’s Officer so that we can improve university life for women and non-binary students. In addition, we’ve both had negative experiences that mean we care very deeply about the issues facing women and non-binary people, and want to turn these experiences into something positive by making supportive spaces for our community.

What makes you different from the other candidates?

Our policy on improving confidence in academia and the workplace is unique, and something that we feel is very important. We’d run workshops to help in areas such as how to deal with harassment in the workplace, getting jobs in male-dominated fields, and public speaking, as well as running campus-wide events where women and non-binary professionals in all areas of the working world come to speak about their experiences, and give insight into their struggles and successes. We also both have experience working in Women’s Network – Anna Marie was the Disabled Representative last year, and Tilly is the Disabled Representative this year. This gives us insight into the Network – how to run it, what to change, and how to utilise it – as well as giving us experience in making the Network more accessible.

How would your policies change student life at York?

One of our main policies is to listen to what you want, so we can change student life in any way you want us to! Our policies would make women and non-binary people feel safer, more listened to, validated, and nourished by a supportive community. We would make student life easier and kinder for those who are affected by discrimination in all its forms, by working together with other liberation networks. Our goal is to make students feel like they are listened to and like their needs are important, above all else.

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

One of our biggest challenges will be getting people involved in the network and its activity. This is something we are really passionate about – we want as many people to participate as possible, and to feel the benefits of being active in a positive and supportive space. To make this a reality, we’ll make it very clear when network meetings are, with regular updates on social media and in emails, and face-to-face contact where possible. Additionally, we’ll run campus-wide events that are open to everyone, regardless of whether you’ve come to any meetings or events before. We’ll also make the network as accessible as we can to as many students as we can – we’d run lots of different events that are accessible in different ways, so that there is an opportunity for everyone to be involved. We’ll also face the challenge of getting people involved by listening to what you want – if there’s an event we’re not running that you want us to, we’ll always be easy to reach. Whatever challenges we face, we’ll embrace them, and above all be professional and positive in our responses.

What has been your most enjoyable experience at university?

Anna: My resolution to buy myself a chocolate cake every week has been a really excellent development in my university life!

Tilly: The feeling of independence that university has given me – being able to shop for myself, cook for myself, budget, go to events, meet new people, and learn so much – has been incredible. It’s really empowered me and made me feel good about myself and in control!

What challenges do women and non-binary students face on campus?

(content warnings for hate crimes and harassment/abuse)

As just two people, with a specific experience of university life that is influenced by our privileges, we can’t write a comprehensive list of all the problems women and non-binary people face on campus, simply because we haven’t experienced them all. However, we are always listening to those around us, so that we can help in whatever way we can with the many unfair experiences that others face that we perhaps don’t. We do think that the threats of physical violence and harassment are still very apparent on campus, and are often largely ignored because university campuses are generally seen as fairly safe and liberal places. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, with a third of female students experiencing abuse while attending university, and many trans people and women of colour also experiencing hate crime.

As told to Jack Harvey