Blanca Serrano - Academic Affairs Officer
Hello, fellow SOASians! This term has seen itself transformed by major events such as the strike so as Academic Affairs Officer I've tried my best to be active in this fight against the marketisation of education. Fighting the neo-liberalisation of education was a fundamental part of my manifesto so I was active throughout the strike pickets, hosting a radical crafternoon and also in the campaign for boycotting the NSS survey. In addition, I've been helping students on a one-to-one basis with their academic life.
Hope you're doing well!
Fran Floris - Women's Officer
This Month was Women’s History Month! Unfortunately, because of the strikes, most of what we wanted to do was delayed, or on an online platform - however, it worked out to be a really engaging month!
In February I created 4 different working groups for Women’s History Month and for the next few month until the end of the academic year. They focused on 4 campaigns: Sexual Harassment, Environmenstrual, Mental Health and Sheroes.
In regards to the Sexual Harassment working group, we are proud to announce the release of a 2018 Sexual Harassment Survey which we hope will help inform the future of the Sexual Harassment procedure at SOAS, including how the SU can better support students and give information about reporting and about sexual harassment itself. We hope to create an information drive for next years, incoming students.
The environmenstrual campaign is a joint campaign with the Environments officer where we seek to provide a greater access to reusable menstrual products at a subsidised price to students. We have contacted several different companies and we hope to get some samples before deciding which company to use. We also hope to begin an information and anti-stigma drive in term 3 to help break down barriers and taboos surrounding reusable menstrual products and to help promote the campaign.
Mental Health support is an issue that permeates all aspects of student life, and one that we believe there is not enough support for by the University. We hope to create a self and collective-care booklet to be complete for exam season and for the new students in September. We want information on dealing with stress, anxiety, low mood, loneliness to be easy to find, clear and accessible in one space with information on organisations you can speak to if you need more professional help or just want to talk to someone.
One of the most publicised was the Sheroes campaign which included a celebration of the self-identifying women of SOAS ‘Sheroes of SOAS’, a discounted tour of the national gallery with Lon-Art and promotion of their WHM exhibition ‘Sheroes’. With the help of an amazing group of women, we created an online platform for Sheroes of SOAS as well as a public display in the entrance to the JCR during the final week of the term.
We were proud to finally begin the Emergency Oyster scheme. Although it is currently a pilot for Late License, we hope to extend it if it is successful so that you can get an Emergency Oyster at any time.
We have the amazing Silke coming in every Wednesday offering one-to-one and group therapy sessions for student survivors of child sexual abuse. She is organising a presentation during term 3 which we will be releasing information about soon.
We had the wonderful Sarah Lasoye from the NUS’ Women's Campaign organising a self and collective care workshop for black women and non-binary people. We will be hopefully organising another session before the end of the year!
We organised a radical crafternoon to reclaim the JCR and bar from transphobic and white supremacist graffitists who exploited the strike period and less students on campus to spread hate. Unfortunately, because of the extended UGM and deadlines, we have decided to postpone to term 3.'