Lucia Rodriguez Pedroso
Ana Karina Rote – “Only us are the people”
Chant from the Caribe tribe in Venezuela
My name is Lucia and I’ll be representing you this year as Co-President of Democracy and Education.
The Union only exists because of the students and without YOU there is no Union. Therefore, this year my main focus is on expanding student participation within the SU and making our democratic processes accessible to all. There is strength in numbers and if we want to hold SOAS accountable we will need to work together as a collective. Hence, I aim to provide safe spaces for debate and organising where students can envisage a SOAS we can call our own.
Of course, most of us roam these hallways in a quest to educate ourselves, but quite often the institution fails to meet our expectations of what knowledge looks like. For a university that advertises itself as a hub for decolonisation, in practice SOAS continues to operate within the same structures that uphold colonial practices and a ‘reformed’ reading list is just insufficient. Last year, as Academic Affairs Officer, I familiarised myself with the many layers that academic life might take in our university; this year, I intend to continue prioritising students' needs and further develop our amazing academic community.
So, for all things democratic or educational do not hesitate to drop me a line or two at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to chat about all and nothing and maybe we can even share a coffee at the SU shop!
- Democratise the Union
- Reach out to students who might be less involved in the union’s politics and create a safe environment where they feel more welcome to engage.
- Work along the wider student body to make Union General Meetings (UGM) a more collaborative and inviting space.
- Bring back the Get Vocal forums so students who might not feel comfortable with the formality of UGM can also get their voices heard.
- Consult students on better ways to engage with them while distant learning is still a reality through the use of other technologies such as online forums, webinars and drop-in sessions.
- Continue to push for a technological upgrade of the SU website so elections can happen online in a more accessible and user-friendly way.
- Resist the Marketisation of Education
- Support campaigns that tackle the marketisation of education and work alongside the Co-President of Welfare and Campaigns to lobby management to fulfil their duty and represent SOAS’ voice in the wider HE environment.
- Actively oppose the Prevent Duty (2015) and continue to educate students on how this racist policy affects them.
- Lobby management to support the wider SOAS community and reject the securitisation of campus.
- SOAS should lead the way on the decolonisation of Higher Education and resisting the securitisation of campus is key. #IfNotSOASThenWho
- Work alongside other universities to create a wider net of students that oppose this policy. There is safety in numbers and together we can make incredible things happen.
- Union Incorporation
- Continue to improve the institutional structure of our Union by working alongside the other sabbs and the SU General Manager in the process of making the SU a Charitable Incorporated Association.
- Ensure dissemination of concise and comprehensive information regarding how this change could affect students.
- Improve consistency across departments in terms of accessible and inclusive teaching methods.
- Collaborate with the Disabled Students and Carer’s Officer to create a handbook on accessible learning and disseminate this across both academics and students.
- Aim to increase student awareness of the different support services SOAS has to offer.
- Create legible and comprehensive guides that students can go over when they need some specific help.
- Decolonise the Curriculum
- Actively work to decolonise the curriculum by dismantling barriers that affect BAME students’ education and decentring white Western thought.
- Lobby SOAS to diversify its current academic staff and provide academics of BAME origin with the right tools to thrive in the institution.
- Collaborate with “My Reading List is Black” campaign to demand academics incorporate Black authors into their reading lists.
- Tackle institutional anti-Blackness and continue to fight for safe spaces in which Black students can organise.
- Student Support & Experience
- This past year the pandemic exposed some of the big flaws of our current student support system. I aim to continue the work I did as Academic Affairs Officer and expand some of the current policies in place.
- Work together with the student reps and the wider student body to come up with more inclusive student support mechanisms.
- Continue to push management to include students voices into SOAS decision-making process. Especially when this directly affects their experience as students.
Keep up to date with the work I'm up to by checking out my Officer blog!