Vice President Democracy & Services: Interviews & Analysis

[Tom Boon | Elections Team]

The Elections Team offered interviews to candidates on a first come first served basis, as slots were limited.

The Role

The Vice President of Democracy and Services is responsible for shaping the work of the democratic processes and commercial services. Standing as the director of The Forum Hertfordshire, they have overall control of making sure that events are in the interest of students. Responsible for the student rep system, it is their responsibility to ensure that the union is representative of the student members.

The Candidates

Bill Ahmed – SHOW HERTS

Tavisen K Chetty – OneUH

Cynthia Ekezie – Storm Herts

Jigar Gangdev – Ace of Herts

Luke Harvey – Independent

Matt Yeoman – FRESH Herts

Bill Ahmed – SHOW HERTS

Trident was also able to interview the slate SHOW HERTS, where they answered questions regarding their individual manifestos and offered comment as a team.

Bill Ahmed is a final year Computer Science student. Ahmed believes he is suitable for the role of VP Democracy and Services because he works  for the SU as a Halls League assistant. He also claims that he represents Halls League on the Casual Staff Representative Committee, whilst holding roles in Trident Media including Web Manager, Media Forum Chair, and Head of TV.

Ahmed’s first manifesto point is about reviewing the value for money offered by University Services. He claims that he will look to get the best value for money from the student experience. However, in his manifesto he only mentions Union services that he will review, such as The Forum, and names no University services.

Along with other candidates, Ahmed wants to work on the service offered by UnoBus. In particular, Ahmed wants to improve the reliability and timetable of the Park and Ride shuttle. His plan seems achievable, as Trident Media understands that Uno already have the capability to track any bus in real time. In his interview, Ahmed states in his interview “I’m pretty sure the current system is time based, meaning the bus will disappear from the screen regardless of whether it turns up or not […] Being able to move across hatfield in the space of 10 minutes can be really poor […] It’s not about functionality, it’s more of an issue with quality”.

His final points include Transparency at the Union, as well as developing the role of elected Full-time Officers so they are more representative of students, whilst promising to work with the Part-time School Officers and student representatives to “provide [students] with an accessible and engaged platform to make [their] views known to your Students’ Union and the University”. Although this point is reasonable, Ahmed fails to mention how he would continue to develop the student representation system, despite saying he would work with them.

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Tavisen K Chetty – OneUH

Chetty scheduled an interview with Trident, however, due to valid unforeseen circumstances, he was unable to attend.

Tavisen Chetty is a final year Aerospace Engineering Student. He believes that his experience as a supervisor and staff rep at the EleHouse, in addition to being involved in the Overseas Student’s Orientation Program, qualify him for the role. He states that the reason he is running is “to make a real, positive change to Hertfordshire students’ Union and be a clear voice for students in order to make their experience at the University as memorable as possible.”

Among his manifesto points, Chetty states the he wants to “introduce a daily FREE shuttle bus to ASDA and back”. Even though this may benefit many students who walk or take a £3.50 AAA taxi or take the £1 bus, Trident believes that this goal would be unachievable, given the cost involved. Somebody would have to pay for the bus, fuel, and drivers. Another point raised is “Why Asda, why not Tesco or Aldi?”, since a number of students prefer to shop around to find the best deals. There also arises some legality issues when it comes to companies and charities forming relationships. This could complicate matters.

His second manifesto point is to tackle the “street lighting black-out”. Whilst this seems like a solid manifesto point that could be possible, it is worth noting that the overall trend in Britain is that streetlights are being turned off after midnight to save money. However, it is felt that this is more than feasible if Chetty can tackle it in the right way with the council.

Chetty’s point about implementing a Students’ Union loyalty card seems solid, as Food Hertfordshire already have a very successful scheme in the University. Students can benefit greatly from gaining discounts and perks, especially as the costs on campus are already a growing concern.

He also plans to set up a 24hr Advice and Support helpline for mental wellbeing. While Advice and We