Nick Cooper is from St. John’s and is running as part of the For Oxford slate of candidates. He has previously held the positions of OUSU Academic Affairs Campaigns Officer and OUSU Graduate Academic Affairs Officer. He’s also sat on many committees within OUSU, and served as last year’s Returning Officer – something that could prove advantageous for him and his slate this year.
His manifesto promises a review of taught Masters degrees, and survey of student wellbeing, an agreed minimum expectation for supervision, continued campaigning on Graduate funding and accommodation, and work on increasing teaching opportunities.
The question for Nick is, how will he convert all his reviews and surveys into tangible results for Graduate Students? Indeed, some of these reviews have been done before – OUSU has investigated taught Masters courses twice in the past 5 years, and not a great deal has changed. Nick’s challenge is to show how he will be different.
Danny Zajarias-Fainsod is a former MCR President at Wadham, and currently serves as the Chair of the MCR Presidents Committee. This gives Danny increased connection to the vital Common Room Presidents who can be so vital to turning out the Graduate vote. Utilising these connections is going to be essential if he is to overcome Nick’s benefit of running on a slate.
Danny is focussing in on a few issues in his manifesto. Firstly he wants to see many more teaching opportunities for Graduate students to assist them should they choose to continue down the road of academia. He also details how he would campaign to change the Universities politics and practices with regard to entrepreneurship and intellectual policies – he outlines how current protocols are more restrictive than supportive. Danny’s final point is on increasing Graduate engagement, and how he wants to see more grads involved with OUSU, their College, and the University.
As I have said with other candidates, now is the best time to engage with students. Danny highlights the important point of graduates being underrepresented in Oxford political life, however I’m not sure his policies are the kind of thing that will inspire people towards his campaign and OUSU. Teaching opportunities and organisations like ISIS Innovation clearly are issues that need resolving. But with little chat on matters such as supervision, transfer and confirmation of status, and accommodation, I feel Danny may have an uphill struggle to get the votes needed to win.