Hello! I'm Jack Karimi and I'm the Union Development & Democracy Officer. I am the chief representative of students to the university, communicating with students as to what the university is doing, and representing students on top University leadership committees. As well as that, I lead on policies that affect student experience, the union's development, as well as our democratic processes as a union.
Currently, Covid-19 is my top priority, and has taken up most of my time. I worked with a number of students who wrote to us about campus bars remaining open, and have worked to ensure that there is enough space for students to socialise and breathe on campus, where we believe they are safest. I was also part of the discussions about testing within the university, and what a testing regimen would look like.
Some of these details may change with the closure of the SU’s bars and with Staffordshire’s potential move to Tier 2 status, but the long-term policy of ensuring access to testing, support for self-isolating students, and ensuring there is enough provision for students to be able to stay on campus, remains the same.
I will continue to communicate with students about changes in Covid-19 regulations and support being offered, and I will continue to act on student inquiries, which includes using my position on University Council to get those questions and concerns straight to University leadership.
In accordance with my manifesto policy of ensuring University leadership is accountable to students, I have been successful in arranging an online Q&A with Trevor McMillan (Vice-Chancellor), Anne Loweth (Pro VC for Students) and Helen O’Sullivan (Pro VC for Education) that will be held on Monday 9th November. It will primarily be related to student experience and Covid-19, but will cover any and all subjects.
Students can submit questions at https://forms.gle/n6szks1xrC2e5TEk8.
I am working on two democratic reviews in order to get them presented to students at the December AGM and in place for the March and May elections. The first is reform of Union Council and the roles of Part-Time Officers, where my focus is on clarifying what PTOs do, ensure that they have the support to do that, and that they are democratically valid. This will also include points from the 'Explaining Elections' motion from the March 2020 UGM, such as helping students understand preferential voting through STV.
The second is a Trustee-mandated review of Full-Time Officers. The brief is to assess whether we should change the size of the FTO team, but my priority is balancing workloads and ensuring that our job titles are as accurate to our roles as they can be.
Students can respond to a consultation on the Full-Time Officer review at https://forms.gle/81fW2PVdnfE6QPii6.
In line with my manifesto policy, I have begun to have conversations about the SU building can be best utilised as study space during exams. It is unlikely these conversations will bear fruit until after we are under Covid-19 restrictions, but the results so far have been encouraging.
I have started to work with partners such as First Buses, my focus right now is on ensuring that there are enough seats to go around during this period where buses are socially distanced.
After my work on democracy policy is complete, my priority will become off-campus students. My manifesto policies in that area are to improve StudentPad, protect students from landlords and letting agents known to have bad reputations, and ensure that off-campus students are not excluded from on-campus events.