Your presidential candidates: Zaid Mahmood

Alex Charilaou 3 March 2021

Image by: Zaid Mahmood

Zaid Mahmood is a final year Business and Management student running for Kent Union President. His experience includes being President of the Medway Business Society for the past two years and he was the student representative for his course in first year. Zaid told InQuire that he thinks his experience has improved his skills with leadership and engaging with student voices.

Zaid was positive about the current Kent Union Sabbatical Officers, saying they’ve done ‘amazing work’, and singling out current VP Student Engagement Aldo Manella for doing good work around reintegrating the Kent and Medway campuses.

Zaid wants to implement ‘Medway Monday’, where the Kent Union leadership spends office hours working at Medway for Medway students. He is also especially interested in the university’s mental health provision, and as President would want to push for greater resourcing and funding. Zaid discussed how the University’s mental health provision is not adequate for BAME students, and more training for staff on BAME issues is needed.

Zaid was clear that he would push for compensation from the University for Covid-19 related disruption to student experience, though he conceded this was ‘unlikely’ to materialise. If the univesity did not adequately meet these demands, Zaid would support students engaging in ‘peaceful protests’. He would also push the University to provide online learning training for staff and would be open to having the Union supplement this with their own training.

Quick analysis:

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media

Zaid, like all the candidates we interviewed, was personable, polite and responsive to our questions. His experience at Kent, both as a society president and as a student rep, stands him in good stead as a candidate for Kent Union President.

Zaid was the only candidate to speak about the Union’s relationship with Medway – as a student of Medway campus, he believes the Union has a way to go in making sure that Medway isn’t neglected, and it’s a relief that a candidate for President is bringing this issue to the table.

I was impressed by Zaid’s claim that he would support protesting students in demanding compensation from the university. This is further than other candidates have gone thus far on this issue and is a reassuring sign that Zaid would be a President responsive to student demands. I was also impressed by his sensible and pragmatic proposal to push the University to provide training for staff in delivering online teaching.

Zaid’s experience with students, emphasis on mental health and support for students during the Covid-19 crisis are plus points to his candidacy. I would, however, caution Zaid against thinking that the positivity approach he’s taking in this campaign will be effective in confronting university leadership. His policy ideas are welcome, but I fear he’s overly optimistic about the scope of the President role to implement them.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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