You asked the questions! We have the answers… Here are the candidates’ answers. If you want to see their manifestos click here to return to the manifestos and posters page.

PLEASE NOTE: Some question topics on this page mention sexual assault and harassment. These questions are contained within the answers for Welfare and Vice-President Internal which we have put at the bottom of the page so that you may avoid them if you wish.

Treasurer

MACHINE, Arina

1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Treasurer?

 

Reports! I’ve worked in enough corporate environments to know that so many issues can be fixed with a well written, detailed, and publicly available report.

 

Before I was a part of the HUS, it seemed like it was shrouded in mystery. I didn’t know how it worked nor what the members did. This is especially true when it comes to the HUS and its finances. 

 

I want to write a number of reports that answer basic questions such as how do the HUS finances actually work (see my response to question #2 for a teaser!) as well as how to request money from the HUS for an event or society. With this information written and digitally available, I want to encourage students to improve the community at Homerton, such as by starting a new society. 

 

Reports can also contain information such as the HUS budget, allowing for anyone who is a part of the JCR to review the spending of money and criticise it if they see fit. After all, how can you criticise a budget you can’t see? Criticism, I feel, is important for any well functioning representative body. 

 

I know reports are a bit boring, but if I was elected and able to produce them, they would survive long after I stopped being treasurer. They could help generations of students shape the Homerton community, and that’s what truly matters.

 

2. You have talked about societies but what about sponsorship or ensuring the budget is spent on the right things?

 

I think this is a great question! In advance, I apologise for the length of my response, but I think it’s necessary to go into some detail about how the HUS functions to properly answer this. Most of the information I’m giving comes from the constitution, my conversation with Morgan (our current treasurer) about how the role works, as well as my personal time spent on the HUS.

 

The role of the HUS treasurer is not in line with roles of other treasurers. Actually, the HUS treasurer doesn’t even directly run the HUS treasury. 

 

The HUS has a wonderful office manager who is the only person, according to the constitution, that can directly access our online accounts. Emma manages the bulk of HUS funds, such as the sabbatical payment of the president as well as stocking of the HUS office.


The HUS treasurer is the student facing side of HUS finances. As a result, a large portion of my policies have focussed on societies, since this is arguably the largest part of the role. I was careful in my policies to not make promises that would overstep the abilities of the treasurer.

 

However, this does not mean I can’t ensure the budget is spent on the right things! This is where my main policy of engaging the student body better through my interactions with the exec team comes into play. I want the HUS to constantly be asking students about opinions on and new ideas for spending. For example, the HUS pays for weekly Zumba and Yoga, and I want to help the future sports officer ask about other classes people could be interested in. 

 

I want a similar thing to be done with welfare and the rest of the exec team. Constant communication is key to ensuring money is being spent right! I want to foster this communication through an anonymous online suggestion platform, meetings where general student opinion is asked, and of course day to day friendly conversation with people who pop in the HUS office.

 

Further, with a publicly available HUS budget summary, I hope to also open up the budget to criticism from anyone, because criticism is as important as suggestions when it comes to improving the use of funds.

 

Finally, I need to address the sponsorship portion of the question. Three years ago, the HUS changed the Sponsorship and Careers Officer role (the position that superseded my current one) to remove the sponsorship element because it was unnecessary. The HUS receives its money from the college and doesn’t require external sponsorship. This is a good thing! This is what allows the HUS to sell items in its office without a profit (and sometimes at a loss) as well as constantly run free events, such as welfare art and chill. 

 

I hope I’ve answered your question sufficiently and haven’t bored you along the way! If you still have questions about my policies on this issue  please feel free to contact me.

SAWDON HARKAVY, Atalanta

 

  1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Treasurer?
  2. You have talked about societies but what about sponsorship or ensuring the budget is spent on the right things?

 

1.)  The Policy I would be most proud of, is to increase the colleges charity efforts. I think this could provide the college with the opportunity to be an active force of good in the wider community. There is a clear disparity between many of the students at Cambridge, and the culture of the University, Vs the reality for many of the people who live in the city. I want to try and change that, in whatever small way possible. This policy could help Homerton students become more involved in that community, provide help for those who need it, develop our own community, and hopefully help to give some students the skills to continue this kind of proactive community engagement throughout the rest of thier life. I would be really proud to spearhead something that has the potential for so much good, and could outlive my tenure as Treasurer.
 
2.) The role for the treasurer, as currently outlined by the HUS includes the following;
‘Look for ways of increasing efficiency, of cutting costs and of increasing income that are not detrimental to the student body as a whole.’
I believe the focus here is wrong, and that role of the Treasurer should not be to find a way of spending money efficently without being detrimental to the student body, it should be increasing efficiency in an effort to actively benefit the student body. The HUS exists to represent and provide services for the Students at Homerton, and student welfare must always be our priority. I would attempt to officially change this definition of the role, and believe that the tangible benefits would be varied. They may include a wider range of societies which facilitate the extended wellbeing and development of our students, but it may also mean investing more in welfare activities to allow students to wind down from the stress of Cambridge, or helping to produce resources in coalition with Liberation officers to limit discrimination in the college, and provide a better, effective, system of support when it does occur. My core pledge is to communicate with, and listen to the changing needs of students. 
 
I can’t tell you right now what the most beneficial use of the HUS budget would be to students, what I can tell you is that if you can all communicate with me, your needs and wants for college life, I can do what is possible to make the budget work for you, whatever that may look like, throughout the course of the year. 
 
In terms of sponsorships, I would promote a greater degree of transparency. Homerton’s current affiliations are not made clear to the student body. It would be a fundamental priority to me, to try and obtain sponorships solely from organisations whose ethos lines up with the colleges, and who we can be proud to associate with.

Academic Affairs & Liaison

ROBINOT JONES, Lindsay

1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Academic Affairs & Liaison officer?
  • What I will be most proud of will be increasing Homertonians’ involvement in the interview period, Q&A sessions, tours and open days, which I believe will not only make prospective students, applicants and offer holders feel welcomed and motivated to study here, but will also help you to see the bigger picture, make you feel grateful to be a member of Homerton, and make you proud to be able to help those who are in the same position that you were in, just a few months or years ago!
 
  • (As I’m not always great at making decisions), here’s another action that I will be proud of: Through workshops, making sure all students understand, right from the start, that working hard does not have to mean compromising your health or your happiness, that supervisors and lecturers are human, and that you can always ask for help or for an extension to a deadline.
 
2. What actual plans would you carry out?
  • Create Subject events, socials and chats for Subject Reps and other students doing the same subject to make sure communication is ongoing (not just in Fresher’s week!) and Subject reps are regularly reaching out to offer help, to foster a true community feel and ensure that support is always available from those who have already been in your position as well as from those who are going through the same thing as you.
 
  • Make sure you always have access to academic support by sending reminders and putting up posters informing you about academic support programs and study skills sessions that are available, either delivered by Homerton or the Homerton Changemakers.
  • Add an “academic welfare” workshop to the Freshers’ workshops so that all students learn the importance of prioritising self-care: how to ask a supervisor for a deadline extension, how and where to ask for help when you need it, and when to take a break or go to bed.
  • Enable anyone who is interested to get involved as an Interview Helper during the Interview period (not only is this great fun and great experience but you also get paid!), or during Open Days, giving tours to prospective students or leading Q&A sessions with prospective students to tell them what it’s like to study your subject or what it’s like to be a Cambridge student! They would LOVE to hear from you!
  • Make sure Homerton is indeed seen by the public as the friendly, welcoming and amazing place that it is, by getting lots of you involved in Open Days and School visits, so that applicants love Homerton before even becoming students here!
  • Hold trials for the University Challenge team to make sure you all get a chance to run for it if you’re up for the challenge and ensure we have the best team to represent Homerton! 
     
  • Ensure the interview period runs smoothly and that every applicant feels confident, reassured, and welcomed at Homerton, by making sure all Interview Helpers treat applicants with care, respect and fairness.

WHITE, Jennifer

  1. What actual actions would you carry out?
 
Regular formal collaboration with target/access and co-opt roles to make sure that academic help in college is available and tailored to benefit groups and individuals at a disadvantage. Much of the unseen difficulty in coming to Cambridge from an under-represented background is in the small challenges that arise in academic settings. I feel it is crucial to foster a community wherein comfort, confidence and ease in academic environments is something that is discussed and addressed from freshers week onwards. This might take the form of workshops to improve academic confidence, or just a drink in the bar to make sure those from under-represented backgrounds know that they are not alone in struggling to adjust to some of the unspoken idiosyncrasies of Cambridge study. Rather than presuming, I would seek to gain a greater understanding of where the gaps in academic support are (in support offered to adjustment students, for example), before working hard to fill them. This would of course extend to interviews and open days, where every effort would be made to make sure all prospective students feel safe, represented and welcome.
 
Ending the one-way conversation about imposter syndrome. Much more useful than a talk on imposter syndrome in freshers week would be smaller meetings of students that open up two way dialogues about academic confidence and support. A huge part of this would be extending that support beyond freshers week and ensuring that those conversations carry on throughout the whole three years. Rather than obsessing over broad concepts like imposter syndrome, I would seek to open up conversations about how students feel complex feelings and issues could be better understood and resolved.
 
A programme of events, collaborating with subject reps at different colleges, and inter-subject eventsMaking sure that students can build relationships beyond the college, and beyond their year group. This would not only be a great opportunity for subject socials, or fostering a stronger Homerton community, but would greatly benefit those from subjects with a small intake. 
 
An anonymous means by which to raise worries, difficulties, or complaints. A contact point, (google doc, website, phone number or email) that people could use to bring up any issues or problems they are having specifically within their academic study. This would make it much easier for individuals to raise problems, and for problems to be addressed and solved. This would allow monitoring of wider patterns and repeated issues, which could be presented to senior staff in a clear and systematic manner. This might also take the form of working with welfare officers and collaborating on drop-in sessions, to make sure that if possible, worries can be met with tangible action and solution, as well as emotional support.
 
An explicitly academic mentoring scheme for first year students in addition to study skills sessions. Though college families and subject reps are incredibly helpful, subject reps have a lot of responsibility, and college families are naturally often more focused on the social aspect of settling in. I would be set up a network of individuals within Homerton who feel they would be well placed to offer academic advice, tips, and support. This could be done via an online database, allowing individuals to be well matched with mentors. Alongside raising awareness of college run workshops, fostering inter-year relationships would help freshers to feel more supported, and connected to those with an explicit desire to help.
 
Inter-disciplinary communication and events to help foster a positive and inspiring academic atmosphere at Homerton – Perhaps in collaboration with Changemakers, I would endeavour to encourage an exciting and inclusive academic community at Homerton, providing spaces to recommend books, research, podcasts, theory or any other content that might make academic discussion more than just the burden of a weekly essay. This might take the form of social events in collaboration with ents (discussion groups, talks, outings, ideally with wine and cheese !), or a monthly round-up made up of submissions from undergraduate and post-graduate students and staff. I am incredibly passionate about working hard to simultaneously improve welfare and academic creativity in college.
 
Regular periodic updates from me (perhaps with the help of the communications officer), ensuring that important takeaways from CUSU meetings are being relayed with accuracy and transparency. This will be particularly important as the situation will undeniably be open to rapid changes in Michaelmas term. These updates would also include information about university wide or national educational issues, how to get involved and be informed. The HUS is of course an apolitical body, but on the issue of striking, for example, when students are so affected, it would be important to me to provide everyone with both the relevant information and the means by which to ask questions in a safe and non-judgemental arena.
 
2) What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Academic Affairs & Liaison officer?
If I could work to implement even just some of the policies I have outlined, and could see that they have had an impact, I would be thrilled. Above all, I would like to have made a tangible difference to how diverse and accessible our college academic support is, and to help to encourage an inspiring and supportive academic atmosphere in which welfare is not an afterthought. If we could get to a position where every student feels that they are individually catered for, and where every student feels they have a platform for their concerns to be heard, I would be happy. In terms of direct action, this would mean extensive conversations with students and tailored support for under-represented groups in particular.

Target & Access Officer

ALLEN, Olivia

As a previous T&A officer, I found it difficult to recruit mentors from a variety of subjects for the Homerton Shadowing Scheme. How would you tackle this if elected?

Being on the HUS target and access team this year I was aware of these problems.

Therefore,

  • I would definitely advertise the Shadowing scheme to Homerton students more widely (e.g. advertise the scheme on Facebook, Instagram and the Homerton discord, create posters, and work closely with the Communications officer) and earlier (ideally before Christmas so that students have time to decide and commit to putting 2 nights aside before making other commitments.).

From this,

  • I would hope that more students would get involved and cover a wider range of subjects.

Overall,

  • This would be my ideal solution because I want to increase the number of Homerton students who support the target and access team, and I would love to increase the number of prospective students who can have access to the scheme because I know, from personal experience, how important this is.

 

Alternatively

  • I would like to suggest that arrangements can be made for students to stay in a mentor’s room for university guidance – but then have a separate subject mentor who is willing to take shadows to lectures.
  • When I was on the scheme in 2017, strike action was taking place. This meant that I could not always shadow a geography student. Instead, myself and three others were able to attended a lecture with a Natural sciences student. Therefore, I am confident that it is possible to shadow someone who is studying a different subject whilst still having a positive experience.

 

I am aware that it was difficult to recruit mentors from specific subjects such as medicine and law.

  • Notably, there are fewer Homerton students studying these subjects compared to subjects such as education and natural sciences.

Therefore,

  • Without a way to avoid this I would weigh up the key issues which the ‘target and access’ scheme aims to tackle (e.g. underrepresented areas).
  • When matching applicants for the scheme with a mentor, I would prioritise the areas where statistically lower numbers of students apply from.

 

I am aware that there are not an even number of students who will apply to the scheme for each subject as there would be mentors for each subject. (e.g. 10 may apply for medicine, but only 3 medicine student volunteer – but only 4 students might apply for natural sciences when over 10 students volunteer)

Therefore,

  • I would try to match subjects together which study similar topics
    • g. Sciences and Medicine/Vetmed
    • g. Hispol and history
  • I am fully aware that this is not the perfect solution, however, if it means that a student can have the amazing opportunity to participate in the scheme, I most definitely think this is valid.
    • As noted above, when I was on the shadowing scheme I attended a Natural science lecture and supervision which proved just as valuable.

Overall,

  • I believe it is the experience which students gain from visiting the university and seeing what the Homerton community are really like which is the most important factor when visiting.

 

What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Target & Access officer?

 

For me, because I am so passionate about the cause to promote equal access, I would be proud to say that I have made a difference to the life of at least one student because that is what happened to me. Going on the shadowing scheme really opened my eyes and made the idea of university possible. I know that my life would be very different without the target and access team. Therefore, If I can give at least one person a life changing opportunity then I feel my time as a Homertonian would be successful and I feel that I would have made people from my hometown proud too

 

However, if I had to choose one policy it would be to ensure that students from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds receive more support before and after going to university. By setting up clearer guidance as to where to find information, such as practise exam papers, I hope to ensure the application process is fairer to enable equal access for all. Additionally, by continuing setting up the pen-pal style app I hope that applicants can ask questions about anything from academic reading suggestions to university life in general. This will ensure that students feel less anxious about not fitting in because they know how friendly and helpful Homerton students are, so feel welcomed into the Cambridge community. Personally, I feel like I would definitely be able to help student in this way. Therefore, I would be proud to be a friendly face that student feel they can come to for support.

 

How do you plan to reach out to schools?

I am confident that I can reach out schools in the South Yorkshire area, one of Homerton’s link areas because:

  • I already have contact with and have visited my school and Sixth Form so I am confident that this will continue.

 

  • When I was at Sixth Form I did volunteering for the local radio. From this, I made contact with community businesses and reached out to many schools in the South and West Yorkshire regions.

 

  • Last summer I was in the newspaper for 14 years 100% attendance. From this I was asked to do further interviews, including interviews for schools, so I have contact with a wider cohort.

 

  • I was deputy head girl at my Sixth Form and my main role was to organise the open days. This meant advertising to other secondary schools and gave me chance to speak to many students from a wide range of backgrounds. Therefore, I have experience reaching out to schools by email.

 

I am also confident that I will be able to reach out to schools in other areas:

  • I will apply my skills, like I have done in the past, to contact different school institutes.

 

  • I also have contact with people from the shadowing scheme from other link areas. Therefore, I can find contact information for institutions countrywide.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on email (ora28), Facebook, or Instagram if you have any more questions.

COOK, Mia

 

  1. As a previous T&A officer, I found it difficult to recruit mentors from a variety of subjects for the Homerton Shadowing Scheme. How would you tackle this if elected?
  2. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Target & Access officer?
  3. How do you plan to reach out to schools?

 

  1. I believe that by sharing what makes the scheme so great and the benefit it has brought, both to students of Homerton and potential applicants, more students will be encouraged to get involved with the scheme. A clearer detail of what the commitment involves up front, will encourage those reluctant or unsure about signing up, so in turn will help to fill the gaps in subject representation.
    By collecting and sharing statements from Homerton students who have previously volunteered, I will be able to share what the benefits of being involved are and greater detail about the experience. Additionally, there are many students at Homerton who previously attended the Homerton Shadowing scheme, or other college initiatives who may be able to share the experience and give personal insight into why the scheme is so important. Taking this personal approach, providing real examples form the last few years will encourage a wider range of students to sign up as they can see the benefits of taking part. On top I this, I feel that those students who are less likely to volunteer could be reached through increased advertisement of the scheme. Alongside email, I will use social media to encourage people to volunteer as well as physical advertisement in college, such as leaflets in Pidgeon holes to reach people directly.
 
2. 
(In reality, the thing I will be most proud of in a years’ time will be hearing from the schools I’ve made links with about their applications to university.  If you’ve heard me talk about becoming a college parent you’ll know I’m the biggest mother hen going and I would be so excited to know that students I’ve helped in some small way, now have offers from universities and potentially even Cambridge.)
 
But in terms of policy and action in the HUS, I will be most proud of creating resources and potentially hosting an open day specifically for applicants with disabilities.  Its really important that Homerton lives up to its reputation of being the ‘friendliest’, modern college that is able to reject some of the traditions of Cambridge. By sharing targeted resources and holding open days for access groups, this presents a message of acknowledgement to the inequalities in the application process which is an essential first step in making college a space where everyone can feel welcome and safe. Open days or connections with current students means we can get to know offer holders better and develop the support college is able to provide in response.
 
Because of my own experience with having a hidden disability that interrupted my A levels and created a lot of doubt about whether I would be able to come to university, I want to use the position of target and access officer to help other applicants how have doubts and uncertainty, whether this be because of disability, class or any other reason. I know personally that the outdated information online, overly formal contact system and reliance of student pro-activeness to ask for disability support can act as a deterrent to applying to any university and being able to change this in any way would be a great achievement for me.
 
So, in a years’ time if I am elected at target and access officer I will be most proud of updating the online information about disability support and collating resources for school to support students through their application when considering using an ‘extenuating circumstances’ form or applying for additional funding. Also, of inviting students with disabilities – whether personally or virtually to meet current students and get to know Homerton to create a smoother, more supported arrival to university will be something I would be massively proud of.
 
3.
To reach out to schools I will create a data base of schools in Homerton’s Link areas (Scotland, South Yorkshire: Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, Buckinghamshire and London: Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond), by using local council information that is freely available online and the published Cambridge and Oxford admissions statistics that show which schools offer holders are attending. This will allow us to direct target and access work initially to the schools with no recent alumni links and build up from there.
 
This year I have been the Schools Liaison Officer for the Oxfam society and successfully upheld previous connections with schools and reached out to new schools in the Cambridge area though email and social media. I’ve found that emailing schools – directly to the head of sixth form if possible is an effective way of gaining contact. I’ve found through Oxfam that repeated emailing can also help, and as many schools now have social media pages there are additional ways to get in contact that are more likely to gain a quick response. I will only contact school when there are already resources to offer them in order to create a positive relationship and ensure we can deliver what is promised.
 
I will also use social media, which is typically aimed and directed at prospective applicants themselves, to encourage students to direct their teachers or school to the appropriate contacts/ information if their school isn’t already aware of this work. Often students in state schools can become aware of Cambridge through social media before their school is actively providing support for the application process.
 
In addition to this, as target and access officer is will collate resources and push for more training sessions for current students, this will equip students to return to school in their home towns (not necessarily the school they went to themselves, but encourage making contact with those they are aware send fewer, or no students to Oxbridge). I really believe you can’t do too much access work, so the more students involved will help expand this further and create links with a greater number of schools who may benefit form these resources and connections.

Sports Officer

WILKINSON, Lily

 

  1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Sports officer?
  2. Would you continue weekly yoga sessions and would you consider starting morning exercise sessions at Homerton?

 

1)

First and foremost, I’d like to point out that whatever policies/ actions I undertake in the role, I will seek to ensure that they are meaningful to my vision as sports officer but most importantly accommodate students’ goals/interests. It’s paramount that HUS members listen to what students want, not just assume that their own ideas and actions will go down successfully in college. I will take pride in all policies if I feel like they have contributed to student experience.
One policy/ action that I would be particularly proud of if I could make it happen would be highlighting the sporting achievements of individuals and college sports teams. I feel like sport at Homerton can sometimes go under the radar and not receive the recognition it deserves. Therefore, it would be a great step to include a sports section on the HUS email for example to celebrate sporting achievements. It could also be used as a means to inform the student body of upcoming matches/ fixtures and what exercise groups are occurring each week. I hope that this would showcase sporting talent, instil a sense of pride in students at Homerton and help students access sporting news to encourage greater participation. I really want sport to not be separate and instead be incorporated into student life as something fun, inclusive and diverse. I hope that my campaign has shown how excited I am about the role and what I can potentially achieve if I am elected sports officer!
 
2) 
Yes to both! Having seen how successful the yoga sessions were this last academic year, I would certainly strive to have these continued on a regular basis. Obviously we can’t predict what the circumstances will look like when we return to Uni and if social distancing will still be enforced so alternatives may have to replace traditional yoga classes. This being said, online yoga classes have seemed to be a success so this could definitely be a possibility in the dance studio with limited numbers or broadcast on zoom. Regardless, I would ensure that all the necessary safety measures are taken.
In terms of morning exercise, this would be something I’d love to try and incorporate into the week. Personally, I find exercising on a morning really refreshing, it boosts my mood and energy levels so I feel ready to tackle the day ahead. I’m sure there’ll be other early birds amongst up so if there was enough interest, I’d certainly look into it. For example, exercise sessions could include student run HITT sessions in the dance studio, even something as simple as following a Joe Wicks workout on YouTube or if the weathers fine the green space/ football pitches could be utilised for circuits, interval training e.c.t. Even a low commitment running group, all depending on what sort of exercise would be most popular with students. It’s brilliant that we have the gym on our doorstep but it can be a bit lonely exercising on your own. Exercising in a group does not only incorporate a social element into exercise, it’s usually more motivating and fun which is something I feel is essential.

Ents Officer

CASTELL, Eliza

What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Ents officer?
Organising an enjoyable freshers. Whilst this is always an important part of ents I think this year being able to do this is especially vital. It is inevitable that students are going to feel somewhat isolated from the typical university experience because of the guidelines we’ll probably be subjected to. So, organising events, in whatever format that they’re required to take, that will help freshers feel included in the university environment, will be something I’ll be proud to help do. A Freshers Week full of events that encourage socialising and an emphasis of immersion into college life is something I know Id be able to look back on with pride- especially if it helps restore an element of normality during this difficult time.
Getting bops back is a contentious issue with college, you’ve both aim to get bop back but what would you do if college say continue to say no?
If college continues to say no, then there will have to be other events that fill the Bop shaped hole in our lives. I would explore the possibility of doing a smaller, more intimate year specific social that would mimic the bop format but would be on a smaller level which may be more likely to be allowed by the college. However, recognising that this might lack in terms of numbers, organising more megabop events with other colleges could be an option. Not only does this take away from the pressures of such a large event being on college grounds, it does provide the college specific nature of the event that was such an important part of bops.
Particularly in freshers week how will you ensure there isnt a divide between drinkers and non drinkers ents and all interests are represented?
I think the importance is in timetabling and ensuring that throughout the day, when people won’t be drinking, there are non drinking events that are enjoyable and enticing to ensure that all students who drink and those who don’t  socialise. More importantly, I would ensure that within the evening there are both drinking and non drinking events to ensure that those who don’t necessarily want to go to a club night or a pub crawl aren’t left with nothing to do. I would ensure that the same level of organisation and commitment goes into both drinking and non drinking events and that there is an equal distribution of time tabled events for all students.

TAYLOR, Greg

1)      What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Ents officer?
I’ve made the return of the BOPs the cornerstone of my manifesto and obviously I’d be absolutely over the moon if I could play any role in bringing them back, but I think more importantly than that I’d be immensely proud if I could look back at my calendar at the end of my term as ENTS officer and see really regular high-quality ENTS, both drinking and non-alcohol. Especially considering the current pandemic, it may be easy to let college ENTS fall to the wayside in the face of overwhelming odds and the difficulties of this situation – but this has the potential to be quite a miserable time and when ENTS, at best, provide a great sense of community I’d consequently be immensely proud if I could look back post-pandemic and say, I kept ENTS running through these times and really helped make these times a little less dark and gloomy.
2)      Getting bops back is a contentious issue with college, you’ve both aim to get bop back but what would you do if college say continue to say no?
The crucial thing here is evaluating why the college wouldn’t want them back – whether it’s a public health hazard (re. pandemic, social distancing) or simply because of a fear that we’d return to last year’s shenanigans. If it was the former then obviously it would be extremely irresponsible to push for any event that flagrantly violated health regulations and subsequently put our student body and larger community at risk, so I’d consider alternatives to the close proximity of BOPs – perhaps some sort of social distanced alcohol activity outside? If we are at college during Michaelmas, regulations will have necessarily been relaxed somewhat from where they are now, otherwise being back on-site wouldn’t even be a possibility. It’s likely some level of social distancing will be temporarily in place but I see no reason why we could not adapt Homerton traditions such as the BOP to keep them in line with all government health advice.
If the college refuses to condone BOPs simply because of last year’s activities, then we must remember that the majority of the college behaved with really great conduct at BOPS, and I feel as though the small minority who were responsible for the banning of BOPS have been confronted with the consequences of their actions and would endeavour to not behave in this way again. If this could not be conveyed to the college, then I suppose, as a last resort, certain negotiating concessions could be made on our behalf – however, that said, this is not an ideal scenario and I would stress that any BOP concessions the ENTS team make that would affect the student body will first be run past the student body – accountability is key and we want to hear your thoughts and suggestions, and I would never champion or promote any idea to the college that did not have the support of the student body, or make important decisions on their behalf without consulting you first! We would be your delegates in these negotiations, we work for you! It is possible BOPs will not be allowed back, and to this end as ENTS officer I will continue the great tradition of immense Homerton takeovers during this interim time (and indeed continue them even if BOPs are brought back!)
3)      Particularly in freshers week how will you ensure there isn’t a divide between drinkers and non-drinkers ents and all interests are represented?
 By really promoting daytime ENTS during freshers week like the Scavenger Hunt last year, we can ensure that there isn’t necessarily always a “drinking event” and “non drinking event”  – indeed, I am of the opinion that non-drinking events only really need to be provided when alcohol consumption is the express purpose of the event – i.e. Amy Winehands etc.. Events such as quizzes, open mics held in the buttery and BBQs, or whatever else we end up putting on will not be advertised as “drinking events” – merely “events”. These ought to provide adequate mixing between drinkers and non-drinkers – obviously alcohol consumption is completely fine during these events, but with a lot of events being put on not revolving around alcohol consumption (but allowing it) I see no reason why drinkers and non-drinkers alike wouldn’t be able to enjoy them. However, my approach would be flexible and if I was contacted by non-drinkers claiming they felt alienated then I would endeavour to adapt my strategy to make sure everybody felt as included as possible.

Communications Officer

LENEGHAN, Bronagh

1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Communications officer?

I would be proud of keeping the Homerton community in touch and connected; which I would achieve by prioritising updating all platforms available to us as frequently as possible to make the online presence of our community more engaging and more prevalent. 
 
2. Do you have any new ideas for improving networking for freshers, especially international students?
 
In terms of networking before arriving in Cambridge, I would plan to primarily use platforms everyone has access to, ensuring all freshers have an opportunity to become familiar with those in their year group. To achieve this, perhaps a poll could be created to ensure that the freshers themselves have a say over which platforms they’d prefer to use. Alongside this, I think networking could be improved for freshers by putting them in contact with subject reps and the HUS team or perhaps running a Q&A style online session, so that they may get answers for any questions or uncertainties they have about coming to Cambridge, ensuring they are more comfortable before their arrival/beginning the academic year. 
 
In terms of creating and hosting networking events once the next academic year begins, I would be sure to collaborate with the ENTs team on how best we can set up networking events and how we can adapt in the best ways possible, given the likely restrictions on hosting some events. If it required an online solution, I think it would help to explore the different platforms available to us and what events we are able to host remotely, again to ensure the platforms used are widely available and used by most students. Further, to ensure these events are in the best interests of students, perhaps reaching out to freshers to see what they themselves would want to get from these online events in order to continually adapt our approach to networking so it is suited to all students. 

RUPAREL, Freya

  1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Communications officer?
If I was elected communications officer I would be proud of setting up an interactive google calendar/apple calendar that people could sync to their devices to show when/where HUS events and other Homertonian societies are scheduled. This way people would receive live updates and notifications and they would easily be able to check and plan their activities. During this time it is also so important for people within Homerton to stay connected especially considering the pending year. If we are not returning in October or freshers week is very different from how they would imagine it I would endeavour to find a good communication system for people to socialise and to receive HUS information on.
  1. Do you have any new ideas for improving networking for freshers, especially international students?
During this day and age social media is massive. One of my goals is to create a freshers group chat to help freshers find the people they will be studying with throughout the year so they feel more comfortable when making the big move to university. This way people could also share their other social media platforms (if they choose). I would also like to produce a few ‘day in the life at Homerton’ youtube videos to help freshers understand what their new lives might look like. Regarding international students I think it is so important to keep international students updated with what’s going on and make them feel part of the Homerton community even though they may be miles away. It is increasingly important to find ways to do this considering the current circumstances.

Services & Green Officer

BLOOMFIELD, Natasha

  1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Services & Green officer?
I think that the policy that I would be most proud of would be introducing collaboration with homeless charities and food banks to Homerton. Not only is food waste a key issue in improving sustainability, but homelessness is a growing issue in Cambridge, a clear marker of the inequality of the city, and a problem that is undoubtably made more difficult by Covid-19. Setting up food bank collection boxes in college and encouraging Homerton to donate some of its own food waste to food banks, and/or to get involved in other campaigns organised by homeless charities, would feel like a very worthwhile achievement, in which sustainability measures could have an impact even further than just within Homerton.  
  1. You support the national living wage. I do casual work for college for numerous things, term time and during the holidays and as a result have been on the payroll for my three years at Homerton. Working for college is essential to help me afford my basic needs. I am paid well above the minimum wage and am happy with my employment- its flexibility is fantastic. I support College’s stance on the national living wage, and that only part-time students (be that university or 6th form) are paid below the national living wage. If College was forced by some reason to increase the wage, it would not be likely that I would have this opportunity (since one full time employee on a permanent contract would replace the handful of casual workers). Would you be willing to listen to who is actually affected by these issues instead of making your mind up about what we want?
The most important thing about being in this role would be to represent the Homerton community when getting involved in college affairs, and this means that my priority would above all be to communicate with anybody involved before implementing an idea. The underlying intention of my proposal to support the Living Wage Campaign was to formulate better relations with the service staff at Homerton. This means that I would be very willing to be flexible with my proposals if, after consideration, this is shown to be the general opinion of the staff; it would be unreasonable for a student representative to override the opinion of the staff working here. My personal stance is in support of increasing wages for service staff, and I believe that it is well within Homerton’s financial capabilities to do so, and also base this off of the support that the Living Wage Campaign has across the university overall. However, I do not wish for any measures that I take on to have an inadvertent result on jobs, and I take the consequences of any proposals I make seriously. Therefore, I would be careful not to overstep my role, and so careful about following through with such a proposal. I would be very open to alternative ways of bettering the experiences of service staff at Homerton.
  1. Would you get involved with Green Impact? 
Homerton was involved with Green Impact with success in the past, achieving a Gold Green Impact Award in 2018, and so this would definitely be a good opportunity for Homerton to get involved again. Green Impact provides very helpful guidelines for improving sustainability, so I would encourage Homerton to create a Green Impact team again.
  1. What would you do about making food and packaging more sustainable? 
Some ways that I would look to further limit the levels of food and plastic waste at Homerton would be: to remove disposable cups from water dispensers; to restrict the use of plastic packaging in ents; to promote the ‘community fridge’ on Facebook for reducing food waste amongst students; to set up boxes in college for reusing plastic bags; to put up food bank collection boxes; to encourage the college to donate to food banks. This would definitely be an important focus for me, and I am also looking to other colleges and university initiatives for inspiration for ways that Homerton can improve in this regard.
  1. Would you consider starting a green garden?
I would definitely want to work on making gardening at Homerton more sustainable. As well as looking at the current gardening practices at Homerton e.g. types of plants grown, pesticide use, etc., starting a green garden would be a good way to improve this. Perhaps the likes of a Garden Society like at Churchill College, where students can grow their own vegetables, or a space at Homerton more specifically dedicated to green gardening practices when it comes to plants grown, soil used, etc.

C/N: The answers and questions for VPI and Welfare below contain mention of sexual harassment and assault.

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Vice-President Internal

COMBE, James

1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Vice-President Internal?

I want to focus my effort on closing the ‘gap’ between the HUS and the rest of the student body, especially first years. I have to admit for most of this year I have been a little unsure who is in the HUS and what exactly they do. The HUS can feel a little distant, even though it does a lot of amazing work to improve the student experience.
Achieving this would not be simple but the HUS could involve more non HUS members in running events and activities, to help introduce first years especially to what it does.
I recognise how essential the VPI is in acting as a link between the HUS and wider student body. I recognise how I need to be outgoing, talkative and approachable to help close the gap between the HUS and students.
2. With the recent and public upset at the policy and support systems in place to deal with welfare issues especially considering sexual harassment and assault. How do candidates propose to deal with this issue especially considering the lack of transparency from senior staff members? Most importantly how would the candidates propose to generate trust in the HUS to deal with these issues?
I would push for a major policy change in the college, making sure senior staff are aware of the serious concern amongst students. I’ve outlined below what I would like to see as a good outcome:
In the first instance, when it comes to raising a welfare issue or making a complaint, there is great value in having a multitude of individuals to turn to.
Training about dealing with welfare issues given to staff and HUS members should be coupled to a system where those with specific training to handle and advance welfare concerns are given a ‘colour’ that describes their training/experience (and this is highlighted to all students very visibly on noticeboards etc). This could be broken down by specific welfare areas so students are always aware of a variety of people to turn to when raising issues. For example a HUS/Staff member who is ‘green’ would have to have specific and advanced training; whereas someone described as ‘yellow’ might only have more limited training in dealing with welfare concerns, but have expressed that they are very happy to listen to anyone who approaches them. I have personally experienced the benefit of a similar scheme I helped set up in school for managing LGBT issues, where staff with specific experience were given rainbow laces and/or lapel badges, which was to signal anyone with a concern could approach them at any time, and they would listen.
The objective has to be to maximise the variety of places to start when raising a welfare issue, so when the most serious problems arise, there is freedom to choose to talk to trusted individuals, or someone new. A colour system would also help increase transparency about the levels of training about welfare issues within the college community.
The key to raising confidence in the HUS and college staff is this highlighting of exactly how complaints and issues will be dealt with and who by. If a student has a sexual assault, sexual welfare, disability, discrimination, mental health or other welfare issue to raise, they should ideally be aware of who to turn to immediately. Noticeboards around college should highlight those who have specific training and experience in the HUS and among college staff. Leaflets are undoubtedly very valuable for more detailed information, but notice boards are ‘louder.’
Complaints and welfare issues at college must never ‘arrive on the desk’ of a single individual if taken to higher levels. The first step to true transparency is at the very least panel deliberation.
It must be made clear to all students that they can expect and demand they are anonymised beyond their initial point of contact when raising a welfare issue. Specific staff and student welfare contact individuals must be trained and prepared to act as a relay for a student raising concerns anonymously.
It must be clear to all students that regardless of whether they are anonymous or not, they are in control of how far they wish to take their issue. No student raising a concern should ever feel that it might get out of their control.
I think the consent workshop in Fresher’s week should be reviewed. I personally feel one consent workshop is insufficient.
Finally I think bolstering links to central University services (I believe there is an office for assault and sexual violence), and highlighting this to students would increase confidence in the procedures in place.

3. Do you have any new policies and do you feel you have enough time with the other societies you do?

Please see my poster on Facebook/Discord for an outline of what I would like to achieve as VPI.
I don’t want to change things just for the sake of it. I do think that my priority must be improving student life at Homerton and pushing the HUS to be more present by running more events, and involving more non HUS members in day to day activities.
I am very confident that I will have enough time with other societies I do. CUUNA is not a particular serious drain on my time, taking at most a few hours a week. I am the type of person that works far more efficiently when always kept busy and on my toes, and I genuinely think being elected VPI would have a positive impact on my academic work and my motivation.

CONVEY, Harry

1. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Vice-President Internal?

If I had to choose one policy from my manifesto, it would be the complete redesign of ‘Ask the HUS’. This is because getting this right (i.e. so everyone can see in real time what is being asked and how those questions are being answered), makes many of the problems the next HUS will have to tackle so much easier. Engagement and carrying out the will of the student body will be easier as they will have a simple way to reach us, without the need to actually seek out a member of the HUS or wait for the eventual meeting. Restoring trust in the HUS will become easier as people can publicly hold them to account and watch as the HUS members that they have elected answer their questions and take action over their concerns and suggestions. In a similar way it will also help rebuild the HUS’ image as a group of students present to help their peers. I think this will profoundly increase engagement and quality of life at Homerton and that will be something to be proud of.

2. With the recent and public upset at the policy and support systems in place to deal with welfare issues especially considering sexual harassment and assault, how do candidates propose to deal with this issue especially considering the lack of transparency from senior staff members? Most importantly how would the candidates propose to generate trust in the HUS to deal with these issues?

The core principal of the HUS is to work with the college and wider university to represent the members of the Homerton student community and never is this more important than when holding staff to account over the issues of sexual assault and harassment. I would start my answer by saying that with myself as VPI, I would ensure that the HUS unequivocally supports students. If such an issue was raised it would be, personally and professionally, an absolute priority that it was passed onto the appropriate staff rapidly and, critically, that the matter was also their top priority.

In terms of what can actually be said policy wise; the staff are currently in the process of conducting a review into the current Homerton College Sexual Assault/Harassment policy (found on Nexus). The most important priority for the HUS is therefore to make sure that we are a part of this conversation, through senior staff meetings, to make sure that this new policy is crafted with the demands of the student body at its core. The policy should reflect the attitude of the student body and it is the duty of the HUS to make this happen and ensure this opportunity is used to bring about the changes people want to see.

That is just one idea that can be explored on the college side, but it also important to consider the people involved in these issues and what the HUS can do to help them. With discontent being voiced over the measures that college already offers to those affected, it is important that the HUS is able to provide alternatives such as: getting in touch with the (generally praised) University wide Counselling service, making sure the welfare officers are always available to discuss these issues and take action (already achieved through the brilliant welfare phone initiative) and that the welfare officers have the necessary training to deal with these circumstances or any one of a number of other ways the HUS can help those affected.

In terms of how the HUS can generate trust in them to tackle these issues, I think firstly the gap between students and the HUS has to be bridged and this naturally comes from my core aims of increasing transparency and accountability. When people see that HUS members are their peers who can help them present their issues to the staff, it will become easier for people to voice their concerns to those peers and therefore to start the process of investigating these issues. Ultimately, trust in the HUS will also come from the action it takes and it is my hope that planned action to increase the transparency and accountability across the board, of not just the HUS, but also of staff, will generate that trust.

3. Do you have any new policies and do you feel you have enough time with the other societies you do?

In my bid to be the next VPI, I have carefully considered and produced many new policies which can be found in my manifesto, or in these questions (mainly in the second question). They include (among other exciting policies!): an Ask the HUS and HUS website redesign, a manifesto checklist for your elected representatives, a series of events to help allay the loss of BOPs, as well as efforts to secure their return, and also the actions I would take to combat the very serious concerns raised in the second question.

In terms of my time commitments and societies, I already enjoy my life (and find it busy enough!) as is trying to balance my Nat Sci work and the many things my Homerton friends and I get up to. Therefore, I don’t intend to join societies in my third year and will be able to dedicate that time to working for the good of the students on the HUS.

Welfare

AFTAB, Rati

1. What do you think we could do to improve the information and discussion of sexual abuse in and outside of college?

 

Coming to Cambridge and noticing the institution’s responses to sexual abuse has been shocking – a world renowned institution which has often been ignorant and dismissive of cases of sexual abuse and gets away unquestioned. The consent workshops for freshers were refreshing but these need to be introduced for those employed by the college as well, and should also be inculcated within each year annually. Another part of this is the structure through which such issues are dealt with – for people who choose to go to their tutors, they are often met with uninformed and informal procedures to deal with such issues. For this reason, it is necessary to educate and ensure that there are procedures in place that do no further add to the stress of those that are victims of this abuse – so for example, all tutors and senior staff should be made to take courses in handling sensitive issues of sexual abuse and there should be more uniform procedures in place to handle and deal with sexual abuse, to ensure more accountability to the process and in a way that minimises further adding pressure on a victim of sexual abuse. Furthermore, regarding information and discussion of sexual abuse, there is also an element of focusing on the language used when discussing or handling of such issues – this should be done in order to avoid victim-blaming, or creating a stressful or triggering environment in college. This could be done by ensuring a certain structure + moderation with regard to posts on JCR groups, confession pages and general posters and boards around college. 

 

 

2. With the recent and public upset at the policy and support systems in place to deal with welfare issues especially considering sexual harassment and assault. How do candidates propose to deal with this issue especially considering the lack of transparency from senior staff members? Most importantly how would the candidates propose to generate trust in the HUS to deal with these issues?

 

What stood out to me during the sexual harassment and assault cases this year in connection with the Trinity Hall scandal, was the solidarity that was displayed in response by the student body across colleges. The reason I feel this solidarity, collective action and persistence is important is because we, as students, are often stuck in hierarchical relationships with professors, DOS-es and tutors, so working together as a collective body is immensely important when fighting what is so common within our system. Looking beyond what we as the student body can achieve, as I stated in the question about discussion and information regarding sexual abuse, I would propose working towards proper structures, and uniform procedures, in order to ensure that there is accountability within the systems we work with and issues of sexual abuse are not dealt with differently because they involved members of the senior staff. I think what I proposed above should also be seen in connection with generating trust in the HUS to deal with such issues – if proper procedures are put into place, there is a sense of accountability in what is being done. The reason I say this, is because, when there are proper procedures it is easier to recognise when something is wrong in the system and needs to be focused on. Lastly, another thing I would also note is that for me, the HUS, as an organisation represents the student body at Homerton, and for me, if I were to be part of the HUS, I would always aspire and ensure that I represent the best interests of the student body, and that I would never work in a way which would be to damage the trust that my peers, friends and colleagues would put into me, as part of the HUS. Connected to this trust is the fact that there is a necessity for welfare officers to be accessible and easy to approach in such situations in order to ensure that more people feel comfortable in coming to them with such issues. In conclusion, what I propose currently can not fully cover what would be required in such situations, but I do hope that it provides enough insight to display that I, as a welfare officer, am committed to the safety and well-being of our community itself and that I would hope to continue inculcating structure and accountability when dealing with such issues but also encourage the solidarity, and persistence that has been characteristic of the Cambridge student body itself.

 

3. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Welfare officer?

 

One of the things I highlighted in my HUSTINGS video was the ‘loneliness’ that can come with being at university – no one prepares you for this aspect of life at university and working on this would be one action I would be particularly proud of. So, the first thing is to normalise this discussion during freshers week and normalise the fact that if you feel this, this is not something you are alone in feeling. I believe that the welfare team’s welfairy and cookie-fairy initiatives played a great part in being a good reminder that you are not alone – but I would like to further work on this. Another aspect of this loneliness is the fact that many that go on their year abroads often feel disconnected, alone when away from the college/Cambridge community and in combating feelings of isolation and loneliness, I also want to work on inculcating and finding a place for the year abroad students within our welfare activities (welfare newsletters, creating pen pals, hosting welfare events over the discord server, quizzes etc). In sum, I recognise that the Homerton community is largely friendly, but this does not mean we can choose to ignore what is sometimes typical of the college experience and should provide the necessary solidarity and support if elected welfare officer.

AMEY, Caitlyn

1. What do you think we could do to improve the information and discussion of sexual abuse in and outside of college?

I think sessions like the one we had in Freshers week on consent should be the first part of discussion for issues like this.

I also believe a clear system outlining how people can go about reporting such instances, who they should talk to, and how they can seek help and resources should be publicised around college more widely to ensure all students are made aware of such a system.

I think it is also important that people are made aware that the welfare team is there for them as a point of call, and that people should never hesitate to contact the team if they have a concern.

2. With the recent and public upset at the policy and support systems in place to deal with welfare issues especially considering sexual harassment and assault. How do candidates propose to deal with this issue especially considering the lack of transparency from senior staff members? Most importantly how would the candidates propose to generate trust in the HUS to deal with these issues?

Be a point of contact for students who suffer with any of the above, so that they feel comfortable reporting and discussing any instances that arise.

Be a voice for students that encourages the transparency of senior staff members around college and calls them out when they act unacceptably.

Remind people that the HUS is for students first and foremost and is not an acting body for staff. For this reason, students’ concerns come first always.

Obviously, I cannot promise that the senior staff would take it any more seriously, but I can promise to continually fight students’ corner and raise such issues with senior staff whenever necessary.

3. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Welfare officer?

Ultimately the action I would be most proud of if I was elected Welfare officer would be knowing that I had made Cambridge an enjoyable and comfortable experience for as many people around college as possible. Specifically, I would be most proud of introducing a feedback box because I believe a big part of welfare is listening to others and making sure everyone feels included and cared for. I therefore think a feedback box ensures this happens and that the welfare team and college continue to successfully care for the student body.

NAOE, Maxx

  • What do you think we could do to improve the information and discussion of sexual abuse in and outside of college?
As a college, I think that we should be open in our discussion of sexual abuse, (with the appropriate trigger warnings/language) particularly in the mandatory consent workshops. We should definitely make moves towards advertising reporting services, such as the anonymous university-wide reporting service, or even making students aware of the presence of a SAHA (Sexual Assault and Harrassment Advisor) as part of the University Counselling Service. 
  • With the recent and public upset at the policy and support systems in place to deal with welfare issues especially considering sexual harassment and assault, how do candidates propose to deal with this issue especially considering the lack of transparency from senior staff members? Most importantly how would the candidates propose to generate trust in the HUS to deal with these issues?
In addition to making students aware of the reporting facilities in and out of college, we could also explore the possibility of making sure there is communication on both sides–IE between senior college staff and students, on actions or measures taken, so that transparency is ensured, even if it is through the HUS. We would try and generate trust in the HUS in dealing with sexual abuse through advertising both a zero-tolerance policy, and ensuring that survivors will be treated with respect and guaranteed transparency where possible in the reporting process. 
  • What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Welfare officer?
An improved system of reporting/welfare that caters to particularly vulnerable students, such as sexual abuse survivors, or victims of other forms of harassment, such as racial harassment.

SETH, Mikha’el

  1. What do you think we could do to improve the information and discussion of sexual abuse in and outside of college?
  2. With the recent and public upset at the policy and support systems in place to deal with welfare issues especially considering sexual harassment and assault. How do candidates propose to deal with this issue especially considering the lack of transparency from senior staff members? Most importantly how would the candidates propose to generate trust in the HUS to deal with these issues?
  3. What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Welfare officer?
1)           Continue with the consent workshops, and increase/modify them if they are felt to be insufficient. Increase leaflets in areas such as West House lobby and the buttery. I would also want to encourage more open discussions with students about all areas, including sexual welfare. In addition, the HUS will make it extremely clear that sexual abuse of ANY kind will never be tolerated at Homerton, or anywhere else for that matter.
 
2)           Try to create a support system specifically for sexual health and sexual harassment. It is vital that students feel they have a way to communicate their concerns/problems, and if this is lacking in any area, we would try our best to rectify this. This should include open discussions with students so that we know what services are lacking, and how people feel the resources could be best used. One potential idea could be introducing a ‘safe drink’ in the bar and buttery. In terms of trust, it is our duty to listen to and help students, and to maintain confidentiality whenever possible. I hope that both our words and actions will help people feel that they can trust us and come to us with their problems, whatever they may be.
 
3)           Ensuring that students feel supported in all areas, whether that be health (mental, physical, and sexual), their studies, finances, or any other issues. I hope to make it easier to access information and resources regarding all these areas. This would be by increasing leaflets and posters as well as doing Welfare Q&A sessions when possible. I want the student body to feel as though they can trust their welfare officers and confide in them, so that we can help students get the support they need.

WARR, Libby

What do you think we could do to improve the information and discussion of sexual abuse in and outside of college?

I think that the events in Freshers’ Week, such as consent workshops, were really important for students to experience, to open up discussions with students about sextual health, consent and abuse. Continuing these discussions throughout the term would be a valuable improvement to make. This could be done through providing some workshops, similar to those in Freshers’ Week dotted throughout the term. Alternatively or additionally, providing students with information about sexual abuse through emails or leaflets throughout the term, as a reminder of what sexual abuse is, the university’s no tolerance policy, and what support is available to students would be beneficial.
 
One of the main improvements that can be made is to ensure that students are provided with information about sexual abuse, as opposed to students having to look somewhere to find the information. In addition, having effective signposting for students to provide them with the appropriate information will also be a priority – making this information accessible and easy to find, through a process that is not intimidating (such as having to talk to multiple people before you are put in touch with the appropriate source) is important.
In terms of outside college, this could involve communicating with the welfare officers in other colleges to discuss what initiatives they have put in place. This will help to ensure that all staff and students are provided with the same information, and we can use each other as resources to provide information about sexual harassment and abuse.

With the recent and public upset at the policy and support systems in place to deal with welfare issues especially considering sexual harassment and assault. How do candidates propose to deal with this issue especially considering the lack of transparency from senior staff members? Most importantly how would the candidates propose to generate trust in the HUS to deal with these issues?

As you mentioned in your question, dealing with these issues with trust is of paramount importance.
 
In order to approach the issues surrounding sexual harassment and assault, increasing student knowledge and awareness is important in the first instance. It is important to have more workshops similar to those in Freshers’ Week, or lectures about sexual harassment, perhaps where both staff and students are present so that everyone is educated and up-to-date with what the signs of sexual assault and harassment are. Information should be provided to staff and students, along with knowledge of the university’s no-tolerance policy and information about how instances can be reported and dealt with.
 
Having transparency with senior members of staff is a relationship that I think that HUS can improve and work on and believe that this can start to be tackled by having students and staff both involved in lectures about the topic. I think that workshops should be for students only, to create a safe and comfortable environment for open discussions.
 
It is important to be aware that anyone can be vulnerable to instances of sexual harassment and assault at any time. Having a safe, confidential support network in Homerton available for students to use will be another of my priorities. I looked into how the university deals with cases of sexual harassment and assault and found that in 2017, the university launched ‘Breaking the Silence’, which is a campaign to tackle sexual harassment and assault. This campaign involved all tutors being given training on how to handle disclosures and specialising training for the nurse on how to support those who had experienced sexual violence. Having training sessions for members of staff about how to deal with instances of sexual harassment is important, but, until I looked it up, I was not aware of the training they had had. Having an open line of communication between staff and students, as to what training the tutors in college have had, may be an improvement as it may signpost students as to who they should talk to, emphasise to both staff and students the university’s no-tolerance policy, and make students more aware of what is being put in place to deal with the issues.
 
Along with the ‘Breaking the Silence’ campaign, the university has a Sexual Assault and Harassment Advisor (SAHA) and the Officer for Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals. THE SAHA is a specialist support worker who provides emotional support to anyone who has experiences sexual harassment or abuse – you do not have to report your experience in order to get support from this service. Before looking into this question, I was not aware that this support was available to students. Raising awareness of the support available to students, at a university level should be a key aim of the HUS in the next year.
 
Whilst this support is available at a University level, having support within the college is also important. Each instance of cases of assault or harassment is different and the way that students wish to deal with instances will vary between students also. When looking into how instances of harassment are dealt with by the university, I recognised that this may, for some, be a very intimidating process. Having a localised support network within the college is an alternative way that instances of sexual harassment and abuse can be dealt with. As mentioned in the question, this will involve generating a level of trust between the HUS members (welfare officers in particular) and the students. If I were welfare officer, I would want to ensure that students are aware that their situation will be dealt with confidentially – I believe that welfare officers can act as listening ears to students and that they can signpost students in the direction of the support available to them, or how to report issues. Whilst the information of how situations are dealt with will remain confidential, publicising that issues are dealt with is a potential way to create an open line of communication between the HUS and student body.  It is important to be aware that welfare officers can support students by listening and signposting, but there may be instances where they feel it necessary to report what they have been told to someone of who is qualified. Overall, helping to raise awareness, and creating a safe environment to report issues, will be what I aim to achieve as a welfare officer.
 
What one policy/action will you be most proud (in a HUS context) of in a year’s time if you are elected Welfare officer?
 
I really enjoyed attending multiple welfare events throughout my first year – such as movie nights and art and chill. What I noticed whilst attending these events, however, is that often there were not many people.
 
I will be really proud if I am able to increase student involvement in welfare initiatives – by introducing new ones, and asking students what it is they want from their welfare officers.
 
I think that taking small steps to focus on your wellbeing is really important; initially when I came to Cambridge I thought I wouldn’t have time for anything other than my reading and essay writing, but I came to realise that there is time in the day to take care of your wellbeing, and that really, this should take priority.
 
I will be really proud if I have helped, even just a few students, take the time to take care of themselves and be able to ask for help when they need it.