Fergus Kirman and Eve Blain are standing against each other to be elected as SU undergraduate presidentFergus Kirman/Eve Blain

The candidates for the Student Union’s Lent elections have been revealed this morning (24/02).

These elections will decide the new student leaders of the SU for the next year, including eight sabbatical officers. No current SU sabbatical officers are standing in the election.

So, who are the candidates and what do they stand for?

President (UG)

Like last year’s elections, only two students are competing to replace Zaynab Ahmed as undergraduate president - Fergus Kirman and Eve Blain.

Until recently, Kirman was the chair of the SU Council and has served as the treasurer of Christ’s JCR. Kirman promises to build “an SU that does more for you” should he be elected. Last month, Kirman spoke out about problems handling data at the SU, which has led to the establishment of a student-led inquiry.

Kirman pledges to campaign for tuition fee refunds due to strike disruption. Kirman also promises to launch a free NHS prescription scheme as president, repeating a programme he launched at Christ’s. He also commits to creating an SU bar, campaigning for the Cambridge Bursary to increase in line with inflation, pushing for intermission practices to be standardised across colleges, and pressing colleges to expand on-site renewable energy.

Eve Blain is a third-year historian at Queens’ College and is currently serving as co-chair of the SU Ethical Affairs campaign, having previously served as co-chair of the Cambridge University Labour Club (CULC).

Blain says they will lobby for rent and bill caps in colleges and for a cost of living support fund. Blain will also demand that the University supply lecture recordings to all students and implement the reading week proposal, which won an SU referendum last year. Blain also says they will campaign against the University accepting funding from fossil fuels and arms companies. Blain also commits to continue SU support of the UCU during their ongoing strike action.

President (PG)

The postgraduate presidential election is uncontested, with Vareesh Pratap, an energy technologies MPhil student at Lucy Cavendish College the only candidate.

Pratap promises to campaign to make Cambridge “more equitable, diverse and inclusive for all”. Pratap’s policies include making PhD stipend increments proportional to inflation, giving fourth-year PhD students preferential consideration for University hardship funding and intensifying decolonisation movements to lessen discrimination at the University.

Access, Education & Participation Officer (UG)

Two candidates are campaigning to replace Neve Atkinson as the undergraduate officer for access, education and participation.

Caredig ap Tomos is a fourth-year chemical engineering student who has worked as both treasurer and access and academic officer on Magdalene College’s JCR. Ap Tomos pledges to push for the Cambridge Bursary to increase in line with inflation, implement the SU’s reading week proposal and campaign for universal lecture recordings. Ap Tomos also promises to introduce a student-led access campaign and stop oil companies “from hijacking our education”.

Manav Divecha is also standing for the position, but has not submitted a manifesto.

Access, Education & Participation Officer (PG)

The postgraduate access, education and participation officer election is uncontested - with Anastasia Perysinakis standing as the only candidate.

Perysinakis is an MPhil bioscience enterprise student and promises to guarantee remote learning and interest free college loans to cover missed PhD funding distribution deadlines.

Disabled Students’ Officer

The Disabled Students’ officer election is also uncontested. Ell Gardner-Thomas is the only candidate.

Welfare & Community Officer

Harvey Brown and Katie Lane are both campaigning for the role. Brown promises to demand a reading week for students by Michaelmas 2024, restore access to all colleges for all students during daylight hours and explore using university land to tackle homelessness in Cambridge.

Lane, who serves as Girton JCR’s welfare officer, is campaigning on the promise to create a standardised baseline for welfare provisions offered by colleges and host SU events to tackle loneliness. Lane also promises to support the reading week campaign and give more support to intermitting students. Lane also wants to decolonise the university and support student anti-homelessness projects.

Mature Students’ Officer

This election is uncontested, with Ekene Clair Agbim standing as the only candidate. Agbim promises to create mature student drop-in sessions and introduce a buddying scheme between mature undergraduates and postgraduates.

University Councillor

Once again, the University councillor election is hotly contested. The councillor sits on the trustee board of the University as a student representative.

The incumbent councillor Sam Carling is standing for re-election, against Noah Rouse, Sam Hutton and Vareesh Pratap.


Mountain View

SU votes to support University meat ban

Carling, who is currently a city councillor and has previously been Christ’s JCR president and CULC co-chair, in his second term would aim to give JCRs and MCRs more power in central University governance, introduce university-wide limits on rents and push for the implementation of the council’s review into research funding from fossil fuel companies.

Rouse would push the council to vote on fossil fuel funding by the end of Michaelmas 2023 as well as pressuring the University to engage with the UCU.

Hutton’s campaign is focused on the climate crisis. Hutton wants to push climate, decolonisation and LGBTQ+ policy through the University Council and increase transparency in their operations. Hutton, like Rouse, is also campaigning for a vote on fossil fuel funding to take place quickly.

Pratap, who is also standing to be SU postgraduate president, is the fourth candidate. His priorities are the same as his postgraduate presidential manifesto.

There are no candidates for the BME officer position. Kefeshe Bernard resigned as SU BME officer last month. There are also no candidates for women’s officer, double time officer, families officer and part-time students’ officer.

Campaigning for the election begins today (24/02) and hustings will take place in the Hicks Room at the University Centre next Tuesday (28/02) at 18:00. The polls open at 09:00 on Monday (27/02) and close at 17:00 on Thursday (02/03). Results will be announced later that evening.

Varsity’s coverage of the election will continue throughout the week.