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YUSU Elections 2017: “JP” Julian Porch (Academic Officer)

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

Third Year English Literature student “JP” Julian Porch is running to be the Academic Officer in the 2017 YUSU Officer elections.

What inspired you to run for the position?

Everybody I know at university wants to get the most out of their education – that’s pretty much a given. In my time at York, I’ve seen some incredible academic changes implemented from the ground up, but I believe that there’s more to do, more voices to engage with, and more change to be made.

What makes you different from the other candidates?

My manifesto communicates not only my ideas, but how I’m going to implement them. They are both ambitious and achievable, and they cover specific points which will drastically improve the academic experiences of all students. I can offer a new perspective, and I believe that our students deserve, and will benefit from someone who can represent them who isn’t afraid to effect real change.

How would your policies change student life at York?

My first major policy is to massively increase the visibility and accessibility of services on campus available to students for free or low cost. Two of the biggest providers of these are the Library and Careers. I want students to be making full use of the services available to them to improve their academic experience and bolster their employability.

My other major policies include devising more e-resources per department, and exploring options with departments to invest in subsidised course materials to make academia more accessible to everyone coming to university from day one.

Finally, I want to facilitate more communication between students, the Union, and the University in general to achieve things such as: increasing student input into the selection of supervisors for dissertations and PGTs, making sure that Joint Hons. students aren’t slipping through the gaps, ensuring that students have optimally timetabled contact hours, and increasing academic representation of BAME and LGBTQ scholarship. Please see my manifesto for more details!

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

I expect that it will be difficult to ensure that the Academic Officer is engaging with every department equally and sufficiently to ensure fair representation of all students. I will manage this by ensuring that I meet with every department at least once a term for a review, by splitting my time spent on or with individual departments evenly in terms of hours so it can be monitored, and by fully utilizing the faculty/department/course rep structure.

What has been your most enjoyable experience at university?

Cheesy as it may sound, I’ve loved doing my degree for its inherent value, and I’m incredibly proud of my academic achievements. I want this to be the case for every student at York.

What challenges do students face in their academic studies?

The current political and economic climate is very concerning. Students, now possibly more than ever, are concerned about their future after their academic studies, so we have to ensure that we’re providing them with the best possible educational gain here at York. Students often find that their departments are receptive to their suggestions, but sometimes they don’t, and they are then dissuaded from following the channels of representation to express their concerns and bring about change.

As told to Eleanor Higginson