Manifesto Analysis 2019: Academic Experience VP

The role of VP Academic Experience has undergone a name change this year, formerly VP Education, the slightly altered role now includes academic societies and focuses more heavily on the experience of students in academia.

This race is perhaps the least diverse in terms of the range of topics discussed as well as the stances of the candidates.

Both candidates, Victoria Seward-Read and Sean Kennair, highlight the need for more ‘common areas’ for students, improving academic connections with Medway and increasing student engagement but both candidates offered slightly different approaches on how they planned to achieve their goals.

Victoria approached the role with a focus on the importance of supporting students throughout their academic experience both mentally, by looking after their well-being, and physically, by giving them appropriate study and social spaces. She was passionate about “giving back” to students and not allowing them to “get left behind” as she feels that recently students have been “lost in the system”.

Sean feels the Union has become “too online”, a change from the social media focussed rhetoric we often hear, and pledges to “put in some serious leg work” to engage with students on campus by “sitting in on lectures” and spending time in student outlets.

To make your own analysis of the manifestos, follow the links below: Sean Kennair's Manifesto

Victoria Sawared-Read's Manifesto

He believes that students feel like the Union “isn’t relevant to them anymore” and that in order to build back up a sense of “community and engagement” you need someone who is “ready to spend the extra hours, ready to go places and have that stamina to keep going despite the adversity”.

In response to presidential candidate, Sasha Langeveldt’s, goal to diversify the curriculum, Victoria “agreed to some extent” but had not considered it for her manifesto.

Sean also agreed with the idea in principle but clarified that he “does not believe in diversity for diversity’s sake” and instead felt that “the best works, whatever the subject, should be available, whatever artist that is, academic excellence should be what we strive for”. He proposed that looking at quality texts, would inevitably diversify the curriculum.

Both candidates were also keen to promote their ideas on increasing Medway students’ academic experience. Sean focussed on making it easier to get to and from Medway by “increasing the amount of buses” and “using that leg work to take the same bus they take, experience the same difficulties they have”. Victoria’s manifesto instead aims to make Medway’s Drill Hall Library open 24/7, aligning with her enthusiasm for appropriate spaces available for all students.