Sunday, 8 February 2009

Student elections- where are all the men?

First published at

Student Elections have come around again, as you may, or quite easily may not have noticed. Nominations opened on Monday 2
nd of February, so if Britain’s Obama is out there, please get yourself down to the union for an election pack.

Having a look down the twenty or so posts available, I can’t help but wonder why there is not a position for Men’s Representative…

For those graduating this year, there are five full-time elected officer posts on the Student Affairs Committee (with salary, don’t all scramble at once): President, Education officer, Activities and participation officer, Media officer and Campaigns officer.

Yep, all non-quality specific.

And for those of you still battling through your degrees who are left feeling you could be doing that bit more for yourself and your peers, the Students’ Council has five voluntary positions: Chair of Students’ Council, Women’s Representative, Students with Disabilities Representative, LGBT Representative and Black Students Representative.

Looking at the list above, I can only assume that the lack of a bloke-specific position means that male interests are intrinsically represented in the ‘Chair of Students’ Council’ position, thus, the position might be more accurately described as ‘Male Representative of Students’ Council,’ and therefore, that there must always be a patriarchal slant put on proceedings. Hmm… all sound a bit too familiar ladies?

The point of a Chair is surely to be without biased?

If this is not the case, then in the great bid for equal rights in a (still, let’s face it) male-dominated world, men either feel they have already been able to achieve all the things that they set out to, so a position is not required (job done, let’s go down the pub), or, if the Chair is not necessarily male and is acting in a neutral role, that men are becoming underrepresented.

The Chair of Students’ Council should be drawn from any student who decides to run, so obviously including anyone from any of the groups given their own position above. They are all equally capable of acting in an unbiased way.

But this would of course mean an overrepresentation of one group with the absence of a white-able-bodied straight male student on the board.

Surely there are areas of university life peculiar and of importance to the male student population in the same way that there are for women students, students with disabilities, LGBT students and Black students?

The only solution is to have a Men’s Officer as well, to identify issues relevant to male students and to ensure the needs of male students are reflected in the activity of the Students’ Union, just as all the other officers do for their respective represented groups. And the Chair, by merit alone, be drawn from anyone who applies.

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