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YUSU Elections 2017: Jack Harvey (Policy Coordinator)

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

Third Year student of History & Philosophy and Editor of The Yorker Jack Harvey would like to become the Policy Coordinator, chairing the Policy Review Group of the University of York Students’ Union, in the 2017 elections.

What inspired you to run for the position?

Since I was invited to attend an extraordinary meeting of the PRG last year, I’ve been aware of how the PRG has been neglected at times by the union. The meeting lasted hours and many students came to voice their concerns about the unexpected amendments to the election rules that the union had tried to sneak in. When the election rules went up before the PRG approved them for the third time this year, I felt that enough was enough.

What makes you different from the other candidates?

I have a wide range of experience that would make me the best choice for the role of Policy Coordinator. I’ve not only been Editor of the media outlet whose work you’re reading now, but this year I helped review and revise its constitution. I’ve also been the Secretary of the university’s Sub-Aqua Club, handling important documents such as health-and-safety forms that are used in training for internationally-recognised qualifications. Lastly, I’m not like the stereotypical “only in it for fame and CV-boosting” election candidate: I’ve been involved in my fair share of student politics and I’m motivated to stand for this position not out of self-interest but out of concern for how the PRG and YUSU acts with regards to its own regulations and governing documents.

How would your policies change student life at York?

My policy would give students a fully-functioning PRG! The PRG is at the moment neglecting some of its constitutional responsibilities, from publicising its meetings properly to publishing its minutes. I would stick to the obligations laid out in the current constitution and its by-laws to ensure that the PRG is doing what it is supposed to be doing. If students are aware of what the PRG is up to and when they can attend its meetings, I’m confident that more will be interested in the policy process.

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

Bureaucracy. The policy process, minute-taking and publicising the PRG’s habits will involve plenty of paperwork and admin, from sending emails and coordinating consultation to writing up reports and blogging about what the PRG is doing. However, there are always ways to make jobs easier, both for myself and for future Policy Coordinators. Preparing guide literature and templates, for example, cuts the time and effort it takes to write each report or blog post. Plus, I rather enjoy writing.

What has been your most enjoyable experience at university?

Being involved in The Yorker, of course! OK, OK, you knew I would say that, so besides The Yorker, I’d say that training to be a diver with the Sub-Aqua Club and going on two diving trips to Lanzarote has been my most fun experience. Time and money are tight these days, but I hope to keep diving in the future.

Why should students get involved in creating policy?

Students often feel that the only way that they can make change in their union is either by voting in referenda or running in elections. However, there are more ways to change how the union works. Students should get involved in creating policy if they want to change the way YUSU behaves or improve on things they feel are lacking. It could be adjusting the election process to make things more accessible for disabled candidates, or changing the way that officers communicate to students.

As told to Charlotte Williams