The President of the Students’ Union has made some controversial comments in an interview with the Boar on his predecessor’s time in office, tuition fees and the University of Warwick itself.
In a frank and wide reaching interview with the Boar, the President of the Students’ Union, Stuart Thomson, said that he was planning to “cut the crap” that had dominated his predecessor’s tenure as president.
Whilst Thompson did not think that Joe Kirby had failed to complete his objectives as president, he says he plans to take a “completely different” approach to the role, concluding that there, “were a lot of things they could have done much better last year”.
His stance on the hot issue of tuition fees is that ideally “once you are at university, any changes in the system will not affect you”, stating that he believed the NUS (National Union of Students) should focus on targeting Sixth Formers.
With regards to his aims for this year, Thompson indicated that he wanted to find out whether the University actually “cared” for students. He commented that the University spends a great deal of money on research but wanted to ensure that the student experience was put at the “heart” of the University’s thinking.
‘Tommo’, as he insists on being called, has praised the work of Joe Kirby on the matter of international students, saying that he believed that the work that was done there was going to make a “big difference” for them. However, Thomson said that he was going to be focussing more on the Union than the University.
He went further to distance himself from Mr. Kirby, by saying that he believed that he was going to treat the University not as a “friend” but rather that he would approach issues with it as a “critical partner”.
The President also deflected claims that the high profile change in the Union’s logo and website meant that he was only concerned about image, arguing that he wanted to “change everything”.
With regards to Union Democracy, as campaigned for last year, Thomson argued that it was merely “one forum” for students to get their views across and that he is keen to get students involved in decision making through the creation of Facebook Groups to discuss issues that are affecting students.
The President went on to highlight the changes that are sweeping across the Union by mentioning that every single outlet in Union South had altered in some way over the summer holidays.
He concluded by stating his aims again were to have the Union rebuild completed on time and on budget, to see that students have a greater say in decisions and to secure £500,000 in funding for a brand new Media Centre.
He added that he wanted to “really engage” with students and listen to what they were saying by, for example, ensuring that all name changes were approved by students in future. Does this mean we can vote on whether to call him ‘Tommo’?