Posted on Thu 11 Jan 2018 at 16:48 by Salma Asghar
This is my first blog post, so hopefully it should be interesting. My name is Salma Asghar (Please don’t forget it) and I am a first year MLaw student as well as being the BAME rep at the Students’ Union
So, I first found out about the elections on the SU website itself, I was intrigued by all the different roles and ended up wanted to apply to 3 of them. Obviously, I couldn’t do this so I had to make the tough decision of ruling 2 of these positions out. In the end, what drew me to the BAME role was that I’ve always felt underrepresented in all of my other education institutions. Every school councillor was always white. I just didn’t think any one of them took into consideration of the things BAME students specifically wanted. So as a lot of my decisions are, I made this last-minute decision of wanting to run for BAME rep. I really wanted and still want to make a change within our university. I want to integrate BAME students towards the rest of the university students. I found the election process was easy enough- it was just a matter of checking boxes and defining yourself. It was advertised on the web page well and information was clear. I didn’t really advertise on social media, I didn’t really have any posters either as a first year student I wasn’t really sure how to go about this, so my only chance was word of mouth.
However, I shockingly found, when encouraging BAME students to vote for me, they didn’t know what the elections were or what they were for. The lack of knowledge on this was astounding. They didn’t really know about the ‘backstage’ work that goes on within the university. On my first meeting with all the reps, I found I was the only minority (apart from Ikenna) in the room. I felt totally welcomed by all the Sabb team and the reps however I couldn’t help thinking there should have been more representation of minorities in that room which is why this manifesto point is most important to me. There needs to be more BAME students aware of this and we need these students to be as involved as we can in creating decisions within university. These decisions and policies are vital and rest assured everyone’s opinion is taken into consideration no matter how minor it is. Every opinion is important.
I will summarise a few of my manifesto points; things I wish to achieve this year. I would like to tackle issue of BAME students who don’t get involved with activities in university. This includes non-cultural or religious societies, voting in elections or even standing in elections. I want BAME students to be integrated with non-minority students rather than segregated. I will be speaking to a number of BAME individuals within university and different societies to find out what they would like to do to be involved with these extra activities. There’s no point in BAME students just saying they want to make a difference- you have to be the change you want. I would also like to tackle the issue of Mental Health within BAME students. Mental health issues are on the rise within students and are especially less likely to be spoken about within BAME students. I would like to give these students a chance to get help and support with anything they need. I would like the Nightline/student welfare in place in university to appeal more to BAME students.
Ikenna who was the previous BAME rep, met me a few days after I was elected as I had asked him for tips on the role. He gave me some amazing advice and we discussed what he had started last year which was the attainment gap. This attainment gap is largely affected between BAME students and non-minority students. I would like to decrease this gap in university. There will be various meetings to discuss this and I am collating data on this for the moment.
I will continue to update students on this blog of all the (exciting) things I have been getting up to as well as progress being made on each point I have mentioned. This goes without saying but if there is any student who would like to speak about any of these points please do let me know- I’m friendly!