We are a grassroots group of students drawn from campaigns and causes across our university. We’re not just standing to win an election, but to build a different sort of OUSU, a responsive, campaigning and more democratised union.
We think the Cost of Living is a key issue for students, with a 4-5% average rent rise, and funding reductions. We will campaign for a University Rent Subsidy to support poorer students/students at poorer colleges with rents, for college rents to not exceed the basic state maintenance loan, and for the preservation of strong bursarial support over fee waivers if necessary. We will use OUSU resources to support JCR living costs campaigns.
Higher education is under attack, with sweeping cuts (leaving gaps of £6k per student per year in tutorial costs at some colleges) and the introduction of the private sector. Our vision of education is one where we are students, not consumers. We want an OUSU that will build resistance to the government’s attacks on higher educations, through mobilising for both national demonstrations such as the one on November 21st in London, and local action, resisting library closures and opposing all cuts to the academic experience. We want to see increased university support for postgraduates and international students, who are currently among the most economically deprived in the student body.
We will create a comprehensive living cost index in order to plan priorities.
We also seek a more democratic and inclusive OUSU. We will look into university-wide referenda and general meetings where all students, not just OUSU reps, will be able to decide policy and priorities, and aim to ensure OUSU reps bridge the gap and engage closely with JCR meetings. The problem of apathy towards OUSU can be tackled by giving people the chance to make a difference, as well as empowering OUSU by campaigning against university restrictions on its funding – Oxford student representation receives £500k less than the Russell Group average. We will also look into creating an OUSU Student Legal Officer, to ensure students are properly represented in disputes.
We oppose and will resist racism, sexism, homophobia and all forms of discrimination on campus, by working closely with liberation campaigns and building grassroots resistance toward any discriminatory organisation that comes to Oxford. We oppose the racist deportations of our fellow students at London Met, and will fight for a fair deal for international students. We will campaign against the victim-blaming campaigns on rape that Thames Valley Police have organised in Oxford.
Community and environment are central. We will support the Campaign Against Climate Change’s call for a million green jobs nationally by pressuring Oxford to create green jobs insulating university buildings, and working with interested parties towards a plan for a Green Oxford. We fully support the campaign for a Living Wage for all Oxford staff, and will work with councillors and local campaigners to enhance the integration of university and city. Due to a shared vision of education, we support local campaigns against the dangerous and rapid conversion of Oxford schools into unaccountable academies. Defending our lecturers and staff against attacks on their pensions, pay and conditions is also of fundamental importance to the university community. We will support the work of students in outreach on homelessness and poverty in Oxford.
Access is another key campaigning area. It is in part linked to the cost of living issue, in that by securing better funding settlements we are likely to encourage recruitment. In addition, we will aim for regular meetings of college access reps to create integrated strategies and campaigns, target younger students (which studies have shown is highly effective) and continue to open up Oxford’s resources to local schools, as well as supporting programmes to mentor underprivileged school students.
Oxford also has its place in the international community. We will extend the campaign against Oxford’s investment in the arms trade, as well as following the model of other UK student unions and supporting a boycott of Israeli goods and services in protest against the treatment of Palestinians. In addition, we aim to raise awareness of, and support the work students have been doing in reaching out to asylum seekers imprisoned at Campsfield House in inhumane conditions, just north of Oxford, and against asylum detention centres.
We have a wider vision of what our student union should be. Whilst we are aiming to defend education, we are not just defined by what we oppose, but by the sort of student union we want – one that is campaigning, integrated, grassroots and responsive, and puts the student at the heart of their education.
Our candidates are
Arianna Tassinari #1 for Graduate International Students Officer
Nathan Akehurst #1 for Access and Admissions Officer
Lucy Delaney #1 for Women’s Campaign Officer
To find out more about any of our policies or candidates, just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit us at facebook.com/groups/oxfordleft, tweet at @oxfordleft4ousu