Six Steps to a More Equal Campus
Hello one and all! I’m your new Vice President Welfare and Communities, lovely to meet you.
I thought that before I start throwing blogs your way about all the marvellous things I’m up to (and what you can do for me), I’d start with all the marvellous things our Student Leaders are up to, in regards to achieving equality on campus.
Our new batch of Student Leaders, who work their socks off within various areas including media, faculties and Performing Arts, met at a SUSU conference last week. We provided them with training, many-an inspirational speech, and the opportunity to develop their ideas with their sabbatical leaders.
One area we worked on is equality and diversity within SUSU. This is an integral part of our union and something we should all be scratching our chins a wee bit more about. It’s crucial that we challenge tired stereotypes; university should be a safe space where everyone is treated with respect and dignity and where oppressive language and derogatory behaviour is absolutely not tolerated. It’s 2012: it’s time to get wise to equality, folks. So here are just a few things your Student Leaders said they’re going to do, to make SUSU an inclusive and fair environment for all. Power to them!
- Treat everyone the way I would like to be treated.
- Not allow people to use unacceptable language when in my company.
- Allow people some extra time to write articles if English is not their first language (no guesses which Leader this was…)
- Encourage more females to feel empowered and run in SUSU elections.
- Research into cultural backgrounds to help with the transition to Southampton University for international students.
- Encourage a respectful atmosphere and not tolerate discrimination within my committees.
Pretty good, eh? It’s a great start but there’s certainly more we can all be doing. What are YOU going to do? If you have any ideas of how to conquer inequality within our union, I want to hear them! Comment below or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
16/07/2012 at 4:38 pm Permalink
Nice 5 points… Not sure what ‘unacceptable’ language has to do with equality though! If you know me well, chances are, you’ll have heard me swear. I do it quite regularly, in normal conversation. I still respect people though, and treat them as equals! I don’t really understand what’s so wrong with casual ‘unacceptable’ language. It should be acceptable!
16/07/2012 at 5:08 pm Permalink
Unacceptable language in this case isn’t referring to swear words, but derogatory language – I think you can think of some examples! Racial/sexist slurs etc.
I’m a menace for swearing, no fear!
16/07/2012 at 4:50 pm Permalink
Hey Chloe, great first blog!
I think encouraging more females to run in the elections is such an important point to address!
I want to say, as a former SUSU elections-runnee, I can understand why a lot of girls perhaps DON’T run.
The amount girls get slated/discussed, especially for how we look, is absolutely ridiculous. It takes away a sense of credibility in a candidate. It also, in my opinion, is a bit of a kick in the teeth. I don’t want to be judged in a professional environment for anything other than my skills and potential in the job.
Boys don’t receive the same treatment, and I think it is enough to put so many ladies off of running. Elections aren’t about the way you look, but what you have to offer in the position. I hope in the future people truly recognise that, and treat both male and female candidates as if they were equal.
Good luck with everything this year! xx
16/07/2012 at 5:12 pm Permalink
Sister, PREACH. I totally know what you mean, it’s appalling. I’m working with Advice and Representation on how to level the playing field for our female candidates during the next years’ worth of elections, specifically looking at how to source more female candidates and provide them with the best chance to overcome inherent sexism in the election process.
Watch this space 🙂
17/07/2012 at 1:44 am Permalink
This is fantastic. If you only succeed in this effort this year then you were the right person to get the job….having said that, I’m sure you will manage a lot more.
I only ran for a SL position, but I purposefully didn’t campaign because I wanted to be judged on the merit of my manifesto rather than a picture on a poster. I understand that SL and Sabbs elections work differently, but I think this was something a lot of girls were worried about!
17/07/2012 at 11:08 am Permalink
Ms. Green makes a number of excellent points in her article but I would like to point out to Ms. Richardson that of all the female candidates, she was the only one I observed attracting comments on her appearance and if anything the majority of these were positive.
If an attractive male candidate were to plaster a topless photograph of himself across campaign posters I suspect he would receive the same treatment.
If you want to be judged on your policies, try making THEM the biggest thing on the poster.
17/07/2012 at 11:15 am Permalink
Chloe, you’re going to attract comments on your appearance if you try and use your lady lumps as a selling point, especially on the posters. It threatened to jeopardise your credibility as a candidate from the word go.
18/07/2012 at 2:31 pm Permalink
I’m extremely sorry for wearing a £2.99 vest from H&M on my campaign poster, next time I’ll assure that I wear a polo-neck so as to hide every single part of my body.
This is exactly my point. WHY should girls have to actively hide or change how they look for a poster during campaign week?! David, who I am a fan of, had an equally big picture of himself on his posters and I never ONCE heard or saw a single comment in regard to the way he looks.
And to “a voter”, I was talking about girls in general, and using not only my own personal experiences but also what I’d heard from other girls who had run, or thought about running, in the elections. Who posted a topless photograph of themselves? Also, it is a general rule of thumb that people feel more of a voting connection towards candidates that they can recognise (before, after or during elections). If you don’t put a photo on then you’re dehumanising yourself and taking a big risk. Few people would vote for someone if they had no idea who they were and thus, what they look like. Also, my campaign theme was Coco Pops, and I just copied the Kellog’s template, so how big my face was on the poster goes down to the monkey I’m afraid.
18/07/2012 at 5:00 pm Permalink
Dear A Voter and Bobby,
I couldn’t agree with Ms Richardson’s response more. Chloe, like myself, has breasts. If someone looks for those breasts, they will find them. That has little bearing on Chloe, but on the observer. Chloe’s an attractive lass but that’s irrelevant and entirely out of her control: should she be expected to spend the week covered head to toe, in order to be taken seriously? It seems to me that any voter possessing such objectifying attitudes should be the ones forced to adapt, not Chloe. It seems absurd that a woman in possession of breasts (as so many of us are) should be put off from running in an election, due to the unsavoury attitudes of the minority and the way that that unfortunately manifests in such a tiresome and unpleasant manner.
Chloe, you ran a cracking campaign and I’m sure I speak for many when I say that your mammary glands had no impact on the direction of my vote.
26/07/2012 at 3:47 pm Permalink
Jeez, chloe can’t help being smoking hot (richardson i mean). if all you remember from her campaign is her boobs then that just makes you a perv i’m afraid
16/07/2012 at 8:20 pm Permalink
Equality and diversity is an important issue to me and to everybody at this University whether they are conscious of the fact or not, so I’m really pleased that SUSU has a clear focus on the ways in which it will inspire these values on campus.
I agree with most of the stated objectives, but I also want to raise attention to the inherent complications involved when judging the use of “discriminatory language.” It’s sometimes the case that what could be deemed discriminatory is used in ignorance without any intention to cause hurt or offense, so the context should be taken in to consideration before deciding the appropriate way to respond to such remarks. Also, it’s possible that what *is* designed to cause hurt and offense can be articulated subtly and without recourse to particularly ‘offensive’ words or phrases, this is particularly true at a University where students smart enough not to be so blatant in discrimination. Some caution, therefore, is necessary when judging these matters.
Although I didn’t run for a position on the committee, I’m interested to know how you’re going to keep students up to date with what you’re doing, as I’d be more than interested to hear all about it 😀
18/07/2012 at 4:44 pm Permalink
Chuffed you’re eager to get equality on the agenda, like me. Excellent stuff 🙂
I see what you mean about language used in ignorance; however, I also think it’s tricky because derogatory language tends to be widely renowned as being derogatory, which makes me wonder how someone could possibly try to justify their use by ignorance. Do you know what I mean? Certain words, especially racial slurs, can’t possibly be used in ignorance. But I agree about the subtlety employed by some people; it’s something I’m very aware of and will be keeping a close watch over.
I shall keep students posted by regular blogs, reports at Union Council and updates on social media. But please come along to Welfare Committee if you’d like to know more! The more the merrier 🙂
19/07/2012 at 10:39 am Permalink
Thanks for replying, I’ll certainly try and make the effort to head along and observe some equality in action next year =)
17/07/2012 at 1:54 am Permalink
Hey Chloe, these look like some pretty sound base points for the year coming up. I was just wondering if you could explain what you meant in your third point by articles which would be written by those who do not have English as their first language?
18/07/2012 at 3:57 pm Permalink
This was a pledge of a student leader, so it may have been our Edge editor or our Wessex Scene editor; I cannot be sure which. It was their idea and so I can’t take any ownership over it, but my interpretation was that they would extend certain deadlines or perhaps work more closely with journalists whose English may be a small barrier to them. Ask Ellie or David!