The UGM on Tuesday highlighted the complications FXU President Exeter Dean Pomeroy has faced in keeping up with his manifesto claims.
While Dean was praised for both his visibility and approachability as a President, students queried the progress that he had made so far. Two areas that saw considerable interest were his manifesto commitments for financial transparency and wider module choices.
In regard to the former, one question asked the Exeter President to explain his limited progress so far. Dean responded that:
“When I initially wrote my manifesto, I thought we could make a lot more leeway with this than has been possible at this stage.
“My initial aim was to try and get it as a course-by-course breakdown, and I’m not sure how feasible that is in the current climate because of the way that universities manage their very complex institutions, more-so than I realised when I was a student.”
Dean added that it would instead be more feasible to aim for individual campus break-downs, which he hopes should be available by the end of his term.
FXU President Community & Welfare Harry Bishop was also queried in regard to the limited progress “The Fifth Pledge” on his manifesto has seen. The pledge calls for more staff training around mental health support and suicide awareness.
“It has been slow, because that involves working with a lot of partners and having a lot of conversations about changing a lot of what they already do.
“I think that Glasney Lodge has had assist suicide awareness training. Rob Greensmith is in charge of that, and there has been a lot of good feedback from them about how it is being restructured.”
Harry also mentioned that he is looking at a new “digital deliverance” system for talking about transgender rights, LGBT, and the fact that the curriculum is very white. The new system would look at how changes could be made, and would be useful for university lecturers who would otherwise not have the time for training sessions.
The meeting also saw FXU President Falmouth Chris Slesser speak briefly about his upcoming “Love Your Library” campaign this January, part of which aims to:
“… launch a research piece about for the Falmouth campus library, in line with my manifesto commitment around renovating that space.
“[The campaign] asks, ‘What does the library space look like for students studying in the creative industries?’”
Despite the aforementioned setbacks, FXU President Exeter Dean Pomeroy also showed great confidence with the plans he has for the future. He assured students that “accessible and affordable” field trips were still his number one priority.
“I’m currently going through the first phase of this, where I’m trying to define exactly what “accessible and affordable” is, making sure that it’s something that the student population—through the SSLCs and the subject chair—agree on.”