.Representation

Fleur MacInnes

Vice President Welfare and Community

Key Points

  • Demystifying Access to Student Mental Health Resources- Working to Destigmatise
  • Combat Sexual Assault through Education and Safeguarding Systems on Campus
  • Improved Visibility of Diverse Commemoration Periods, like Trans Awareness Week
  • Promote Sustainability through Student Led Initiatives and Eco-friendly Partnerships
  • Dedicated Mental Health Support System for Postgraduates

Why vote for me?

 Hi there! I’m Fleur and I want to be your new VP Welfare and Community! As your Equality and Diversity Officer for 18/19, I’ve experienced working with both VP Welfare and VP Student Communities, and within multiple student zones. This is why I believe I would make your ideal VP Welfare and Community. I will endeavour to:   MENTAL HEALTH Create a leaflet for students about the mental health resources available in Southampton,how to access these, and information...(click here to read more...)

Questions & Answers

Many of the VP Welfare and Community candidates have alluded to their own struggles with mental health while at university. Whilst this gives the candidates a greater amount of empathy to students that are struggling, do you feel that this might also make the role more difficult, since it has been known to be a high pressured and emotionally charged role at times?

Hey, thank you for the question. Yes, this might make the role more difficult- but that doesn’t mean I’ll do a bad job, in fact I’d argue quite the opposite. Since the age of 12, everything I have achieved has been done in tandem with me juggling a plethora of mental health issues. I am well experienced with managing my mental health alongside difficult situations, and I don’t think it prevents me from achieving great things. Additionally, I also think this sends out a positive message to students, particularly those who may feel that their mental health is a barrier for their progression. My decision to be open about my mental health in my campaign is to show our students that we are capable of anything, regardless of our mental health issues.

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Daphne Li, George HartAnswered by Fleur on 21/02/19 11:31

I have a dream that one day, the university facilities will not have awful horrible scratchy thin toilet paper. I have already submitted a YouMakeChange petition about this and nothing happened. This is the most pressing issue to me as a voter so I want to know what you will do to make my dream a reality and improve the toilet paper on campus (especially in the library please). My vote depends on this. This is an INCREDIBLY important welfare issue for me and is severely affected my university experience.

Hey, thanks for the question. I had a look through the last 6 months of submitted You Make Changes, and couldn't find it anywhere- perhaps its worth submitting again? I can't make any promises currently, but if I am elected, I can promise to take a look at the You Make Change, or to have a chat with you about it using the SUSU VP Welfare and Community Facebook page. Our student voices matter, regardless of the subject matter :)

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Daphne Li, George HartAnswered by Fleur on 22/02/19 15:43

The toilet paper You Make Change in question is located at https://www.susu.org/you-make-change/1040; this can also be found as the top result by searching "toilet" in the search bar. Given this information and the reply of the current sabb team there, what would you think is the best course of action?

Hey, thanks for the follow up. Firstly, I think that Sam did a pretty fair job replying to your toilet paper wishes. As someone who sits on the sustainability zone, I know it can be super frustrating when you want to make (what seems like an easy change) but you have to go through the University. However, the trialling of the different toilet papers seems like a decent promise to me! I can't promise anything right now (as I have no power, lol), but if you vote for me and your toilet paper woes aren't fixed by the time I'm in the job, I'll give it a go and see what happens. X

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 25/02/19 08:45

Just wondering what your plans for helping the Post Grad community are? They make up about a third of the student population and yet there is an overwhleming feeling of disregard towards them. As VP Welfare and Community, how would yu protect such a large yet overlooked community? Especially as the mental health stuff is incresingly important in post graduate degrees.

Hey, thanks for the question. I want to set up a working group with the Postgraduate committee, any postgraduate student that wants to volunteer, the Union and the University to create a streamlined mental health support system, specifically for our postgraduate community on campus. Our mental health services should not be a 'one size fits all'- particularly as many mental health services at University are aimed at younger, school-leaving undergraduates. Additionally, I want to make SUSU events more accessible to our wider student body, including making them more child friendly, as many of our student parents also happen to be postgrads. I am not, however, a postgrad, and I don't want to speak for or over anyone. This is why I think a close relationship with the Postgrad committee is so key. I completely agree with you that it's so wrong our postgrads are overlooked, and I will do everything I can to change this if I'm elected. X

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Daphne Li, George HartAnswered by Fleur on 25/02/19 18:55

In your VP Welfare and Community manifesto, you state that you want 'All toilets on all campuses to provide sanitary bins regardless of gender'. However, in your manifesto Equality and Diversity Officer last year you also promised to 'Work with VP Welfare to ensure that sanitary item disposal bins are available in all toilet cubicles around the University'. Why is this something that you have not done in your role this year?

Hi, thanks for the question. To put it simply, it's not an easy task. As a student officer, there are only so many things I can do at once while juggling all of my other responsibilities. Something I mention in a lot of my interviews is that a lot of my manifesto points are things that I have tried to implement as a student officer, but been unable to, whether it be for time constraints, lack of control over a certain issue or not having the jurisdiction for it. While Isabella and I are working on this, it probably won't happen by the time we both leave our current positions in July. Therefore, I would like to be elected to make sure this incredibly important work continues on, as Isabella and I have both worked hard to try and get this implemented. It can definitely happen, but like a lot of things at the Union, it isn't a quick fix, which is why being elected in this role would give some longevity to the things Isabella and I have been working on this year.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 26/02/19 09:06

One of your policies is to 'Fight for longer opening hours in SUSU spaces during “vacation period” (which it isn’t for postgraduates, students on placement, etc)' However, catering is already heavily subsidised at the Union and recently the Cafe reduced its offer, presumably due to financial issues. Added to this, this year the block grant from the University dropped, meaning there is less money to go round. How, then, do you see longer opening hours over summer being financially viable? Are you suggesting that money will be cut from some areas to finance the already heavily subsidised catering offer over the summer?

Hi! Thanks for the question. We have seen recently that if there is a demand for longer opening hours, that it is viable to make this change happen, I am directly referencing the extended opening hours of Avenue Cafe which happened within the last couple of weeks. There is room for this change to happen, and if it's something that our students feel that they need, then we should be providing it. This is not something that will happen overnight, but it is something that is important to our wider student body, and I will do my very best to make sure that this change happens. I am not suggesting money will be cut from other areas, and that's also not quite how it works. If elected, i'd be happy to provide a transparent statement about how/when/ this change will happen, how much it will cost and where the money is coming from. X

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 26/02/19 09:12

In one of the answers to another question you have said 'I completely agree with you that it's so wrong our postgrads are overlooked, and I will do everything I can to change this if I'm elected.' Next year, PGs do not come under the remit of VP Welfare and Community but are moving to the remit of VP Education in Democracy. Does this not show an oversight on your part that you have neglected to note the role changes?

Hi! Thanks for the question. In short, no. I know what the job entails, I still think I should be considering postgrads. Postgraduates are part of our wider student community, and they are also a huge part of the student population. Just because they do not necessarily fall within my remit does not mean I should be ignoring them, nor should any other candidate. My dedication extends further than what is spelled out in the job description, as it should for everyone else.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 26/02/19 09:15

Hi, next year Sustainability comes under the role of President. I was hoping you could explain why you then thought it was appropriate to have an entire section of policies on Sustainability in your manifesto?

Hi, thanks for the question. Sustainability is a big part of student wellbeing, and something our current VP Welfare is working very hard on. While the 'responsibility' technically falls under the President now, it does not mean I can not have my own focus on this, particularly after my experience this year working on the Sustainability Zone Board. I want to make sure that any current plans in place do not fall through once the new sabbatical officers come into the job. My plan is to work with the new President to ensure our Union is sustainable as possible, and doing this by communicating many of the ideas that we throw around on the current Sustainability Zone Board, and communicating more with students.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 26/02/19 09:26

There are several points in your manifesto where you reference sites, medics, postgrads and sustainability. None of these come under the role of welfare and community. It's concerning that someone running for a role has not looked at the job description. Can you explain this oversight on your part?

Hi, thanks for the question. I can assure you that I have looked at the job description, many times! I reference these things because I think they fall within the wider remit of welfare: we need to be working with our students on all sites to ensure that they are getting the most out of the Union, we need to be working with medics who struggle with their mental health disproportionately, we need to be working with postgrads as they are part of the student population and therefore fall under *everyone's* remit. I'd really like to emphasise this because this has been a common theme in my questions recently: postgrads are part of our students, thus, they need to be represented by every sabbatical officer. While the VP Education and Democracy helps in postgrad representation, this does not mean the rest of the sabbatical officers should pretend that postgrads do not exist. I have answered a more detailed question about sustainability in one of my previous questions. This isn't an oversight- the role of a sabbatical officer is multifaceted, and much more than is just detailed in the job description.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 26/02/19 09:33

You talk about the fact you the Equality and Diversity officer this year, but nothing about what you have actually done in that role. Can you please give some more details about what you have done this year as Equality and Diversity officer?

Hi, thanks for the question! Firstly, this is because we have a 500 word limit and i wanted to use the space to talk about what I *want* to do, not what I have done, as this is ultimately what students will be voting for. I became Equality and Diversity Officer in late October 2018, which at this current point was 4 months ago. We must also allow for exam periods and the Christmas break, which was roughly 6 weeks (for me, anyway). In this short time, I have helped plan LGBT+ History Month which you are seeing currently, working with Emily Harrison to plan events for International Women's Day and I am currently working with the SUSU media team to film a video about the different accessibility features on social media. I (alongside Lucy, the Ethics and Environment Officer) have also set up an Instagram account for the SUSU Sustainability Zone to engage our students more. I am also planning diverse commemoration periods in advance so that our students feel more satisfied with the visibility of these on campus, such as Black History Month, for which we received a lot of feedback. This is also outlined in my manifesto, because if I am elected, I will be supervising the organisation of these events.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 26/02/19 09:39

You seem to have three sections in your manifesto dedicated to the 'Welfare' part of the role and only one for the 'Community' aspect. Could you explain why this is when the job is equally weighted?

Hi, thanks for the question. I'm afraid I will have to disagree with you there. This year, it is one role, not two roles, this means the responsibilities are integrated, which I believe is reflected in my manifesto. Just because I only have one subheading for Community, does mean that there is only one area of my manifesto where community is involved. Equality and Diversity is a community issue, and the points in this subheading reflect this. In this job description, part of the Community section is "to work, to support and facilitate campaigns and celebrations of events with cultural significance, such as Black History Month"- one of my key points is to improve the Visibility of Diverse Commemoration Periods. Out of all of the candidates for this role, I have actually got the most points about community in my manifesto- some candidates have even been referring to the role as just "VP Welfare"- I think this shows that I have an excellent understanding of what the role entails, particularly the community aspect of it.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 26/02/19 09:52

Do you plan to do anything else for international students other than just 'Work with VP-Activities and International Officer to improve engagement for international students in clubs and societies'?

Hi, thanks for the question. I think integration of international students into clubs and societies is a huge issue currently, and one that I would specifically like to work on. In my manifesto, I also want to improve support for student housing, where I have especially outlined international students. Additionally to this, I want to have regular meetings with the international officer (a student officer) to ensure that we can do the most for our international students. I strive for our international students to have the best time at University- like I said in my surge interview, SUSU isn't just for British people or people who speak English, it's for everyone.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 26/02/19 09:59

Given that our former student union president has publicly endorsed your campaign by her comments on Facebook, as well as the fact you appear to be good friends sharing many views, what re-assurances can you give us that you condemn the ideologies she displayed during mural-gate and will act with professionalism in this role representing the interests of all groups of students?

It's no secret that we share similar views- Emily and I were both on the Feminist Society for 2 years, and produced some excellent work together. We are both intersectional, passionate activists, and I am not ashamed of sharing that with her. I will not be answering anything about the incident because it isn't relevant to my campaign. I don't believe anything I have ever done suggests that I will not act with professionalism during my role. If you have any more concerns feel free to email me at fcam1g16@soton.ac.uk

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 02/03/19 19:23

You appear to focus on a rather narrow subset of the responsibilities of your role, which for brevity I'll refer to as "social justice" and sustainability. Could you please expand on your intentions for the remainder of your role?

Hi, thanks for the question. I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you on that one! When writing my manifesto, I specifically ensured that each manifesto point would match an element of the job description.I'm not sure what other elements of the job you're referring to here. I'll give you some examples where my manifesto reflects the role responsibilities: Promote student wellbeing, with a focus on mental and physical health safety and housing//Lobby the University to act on student feedback with regards to the support services it offers, and any wider wellbeing issues// Leading on equality and diversity within the Union// Ensure the accessibility and inclusivity of all sites and all activities there// Leading on Welfare and Community campaigns//Lead on welfare and awareness campaigns such as ‘You Are More Than’ //Support and facilitate campaigns and celebrations of events with cultural significance, such as Black History Month. These are just an example of points that are reflected in my manifesto. Please feel free to email me at fcam1g16@soton.ac.uk if you have any more concerns.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 04/03/19 11:27

How would you deal with any backlash from students who do not agree with a decision that you have made, even if students had been consulted in the decision-making process?

Hi, thanks for the question. If there were a community of students who were unhappy with a decision I had made, I would bring them in and set up a system to get feedback, understand their grievances and work to make the next decision one that everyone could be happy with. Similarly, if there was wide student backlash (for example, what happened with the rebrand), I think the Union need to be paying attention to students. The Union has a reputation (at least, since I've been here) of being silent when students are angry with something happening. This needs to change. We shouldn't be afraid of backlash, because it shows that our students share. We should be inviting students to criticise us more until we get to a point where all of the decisions we make ARE student led, because ultimately thats what a student union should be doing= reflecting student interests.

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Daphne Li, George HartAnswered by Fleur on 04/03/19 11:34

The current VP Student Communities has put on student parent specific events like the cinema kids club. Do you not think making existing SUSU events more 'child friendly' for a very small portion of student parents is a counterproductive and exclusionary idea? How could you make Freshers' more child friendly?! And which Fresher in their right mind would attend a 'Child Friendly' freshers?!

Hi, thanks for the question. Indeed, Emily Harrison has put on these events and I think they're a great idea. Making events child-friendly so that student parents are able to integrate with the student community more is not exclusionary- it's quite the opposite. We should be showing our student parents that the Union is here for everyone. Similarly, making fresher events child friendly is quite simple, and there are many freshers who would attend child friendly events, particularly as many freshers (as I have previously mentioned) are student parents too. I personally believe we should be hosting more fresher events which aren't drinking centred anyway, as I believe this encourages an unhealthy drinking culture and isolates those who don't enjoy these activities.

This question was also only asked to FleurAnswered by Fleur on 04/03/19 11:19

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Hi! Thanks for the question. In short, my passion and dedication. I won't give something up without a fight, it's why you see many of my manifesto policies are things that I've been trying to do at the Union for years now. I wish I could put it into words, but simply, you won't find someone more dedicated to this than me. I'm also incredibly self-critical, which I don't necessarily see as a drawback, as I believe it allows me to understand student grievances more, which I think some of our sabbatical officers could be doing better at. I understand that I won't be able to please everyone, but believe me when I say that I'll still work my butt off for all of our student's needs.

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Daphne Li, George HartAnswered by Fleur on 04/03/19 11:39

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