Your VP for Welfare and Community candidates: Muhammad Abdullah
Alejandro Javierre 10 March 2021
Image by: Muhammad Abdullah
Muhammad Abdullah is running for Vice President for Welfare and Community.
Separate to his competitors, he is running for the role for the second time, having ran for the same role a year previously.
Muhammad remarked that due to the circumstances of the past year, his current campaign will be very different.
“I think this year it has helped me a little in that I met a few people from last year which helped me, so I’m a little bit more known to people than last year.”
“I was more of an in-person campaign sort of person, and this year it has been entirely online – [this year’s campaign] has taught me a lot of things I’d say.”
The sweeping changes to the election process this year has led to very different styles of campaigning.
On the changes away from manifesto points to priorities, Muhammad said: “I think it is a positive step because it actually tells you what students want.”
“Obviously when someone is running in the elections, they talk to students, but I think it’s a very good way to ask students directly ‘what do you want your officers to do?’ – it’s a really good step.”
A large part of Muhammad’s campaign centres around increasing the transparency of the university and union’s disciplinary processes around harassment and hate speech.
He said: “When someone is involved in racism, harassment, or any sort of hate speech it needs to be reported.”
“What happens normally, if I talk about my own experience, we do hear that the person has been reported and that’s the last thing we hear.”
“When University penalizes people it should be informed because it serves as a deterrent to someone who is planning on doing it.”
Racism is also currently one of the main issues on campuses, according to Muhammad.
“I especially have heard stories regarding the increase in racism towards Asian students, recently – we had it last year as well at the outbreak of the virus as well.”
Muhammad’s campaign also focuses on raising awareness towards the causes of poor mental health, as well as considering greater provisions for mental health services within the Union.
“You can’t imagine unless you go through that how bad it feels when you are subject to harassment. In a lot of cases, students suffer from poor mental health when they are subject to harassment and racism.”
“By tackling the causes of mental health, that means for me, tackling harassment, tackling racism – basic general things we can tackle on campus to stop or decreased the level of mental health problems which we have.”
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media
Muhammad’s experience with election campaigns at the University may serve him well, however he is facing a much larger and more diverse competition this year. While greater mental health support has been a hot topic in the welfare debates this year, Muhammad’s unique position on where he thinks the focus should be placed (although in his interview he did clarify this focus was not a specific policy promise and he would follow what students deem to be a priority), may set himself out from other candidates.