Andrew Bradley ran for President of the Students’ Union promising to campaign to stop the rising cost of student living. But, even at this early stage in his presidency, this is proving challenging.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Boar, Bradley admitted to facing difficulties in securing some of his election pledges.
The changes to parking permits are likely to affect already depleted student pockets, and Bradley, along with the rest of the Sabbatical team, has been campaigning fiercely, but with modest success.
Despite the introduction of scratch cards, he admitted the compromises achieved with the University were not ideal.
“If you’re talking about overturning the permits, then no we didn’t manage to do that”.
Yet, Bradley maintained, “[Parking] hasn’t diminished my passion for campaigning.”
During the election campaign last year he emphasised that “campaigning is not a dirty word” and encouraged students to “be part of it”. He also highlighted his involvement in campaigning organisations on campus.
Bradley has also been forced to relent on his promise of a microwave room in the Union, much touted during the election last spring. This proposal was linked to his promise to fight the rising cost of student living, as students would be able to bring in food from home and not rely on restaurants when they are on campus.
“My plans have been a bit frustrated there, coming up against the usual health and safety arguments and excuses,” he said.
Bradley said he would try and work through the separate facilities within University departments to provide microwaves because “it’s been made clear to me that the Union can’t provide cooking facilities for 20,000 students”.
“I haven’t given up on it,” he insisted.
Bradley also criticised the Chancellor’s role in the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) report into higher education and it’s conclusion that funding cuts should come from the student support system in the years to come.
He described the CBI report as “offensive”, but declined to comment on whether he would attend a student protest planned for the Chancellor’s visit next Wednesday. He shied away from saying he would support a call for the resignation of Lambert.
Most SU Presidents have a pet project and it seems Bradley will be looking to fight student debt throughout the year.
“You can spend much of your working life paying it off,” he added.
More positively, Bradley was extremely happy with the SU’s new venue, the Copper Rooms. He said it had “come alive” with the Freshers’ arrival.