Why you shouldn’t #savethestrawpedo.

Hey Theo,

Guess what?

Straws haven’t actually been banned you know? They’re literally just behind the bar instead. You can ask for one for you and your mates, it will probably only take a second or two longer.

Then again, why are you encouraging students you may be representing to partake in irresponsible alcohol-related activities? Downing bottles of alcohol one after the other isn’t something I’d recommend to anyone, really. But I suppose, to each his own (bottle of WKD and straw)…

Also why put the effort into a campaign that really doesn’t matter that much? I’d rather see a President encouraging students to get involved in campaigns and positive action, a much better use of their time. Will you make EUSA and other sabbs release statement of solidarity with the strawpedoers and then remove the solidarity with Palestine statement? Priorities?

I am genuinely intrigued as to why you are pursuing this policy so hard. What actual good do you think it will do for students? Or is it just a joke? I am open for explanation, because if anything, I find this policy pretty alienating! It’s very clear from the results of EUSA’s survey into sexual assault in clubs around Edinburgh that not every student loves going to Big Cheese…

Lots of love. xox

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Jonny is Everything.

its time for new a jonny

It’s time for a new Jonny.

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~Thank you~

Thank you to everyone who sent me nice messages of support and solidarity. It really did mean the world and we socked it to them good and it’s nice that people messaged me who I thought were my enemies due to being in the Labour Party. I put some hearts around my face to show the love but also to distract from the massive bags under my eyes and my bad skin from being  constantly stressed because of fourth year and human garbage. Don’t you just love student elections??!?!?!11?!!?!!

20150313_133438_MyPhotoSticker

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Enough is enough.

CONTENT WARNING: discussion of rape, racism, abuse and use of swear words.

What I just said. You all know who I am. It’s Ellie fucking BW, you got me.

One of the main reasons I wanted to make the big, shocking reveal is so I can talk personally about tonight’s Sabb debates. I thought so many of the candidates did incredibly well under that pressure, and really stuck up for themselves and their policies (shout outs to Faatima). However, it was also full of a lot of vile bullshit.

I’m sure most of you who would read this blog would have been there tonight, and would have seen my question to Tom Kerr. For those of you who weren’t, I asked a question to Kerr, a candidate for VPAA, about him allowing a member of the DKE frat on his campaign team, a frat who threatened FemSoc with rape, and referred to a member of their frat who came forward about their behaviour as a ‘sneaky Mexican fuck’. Furthermore, I was shocked that he thought it was appropriate to bring this man into a room including women that the threats were made against. I was also told that he was pro-life, and asked him how he would reconcile holding these views and representing all women students on campus, and he denied this  saying he ‘doesn’t have an opinion’ on either side of the debate. That seems like a cop out answer to me.

So, I popped the question, to the applause and support of much of the audience (as I was asking questions that I know many women in the audience also wanted to ask). He answered with what I feel was a mediocre response, saying that I couldn’t paint all of the frat members with the same brush, and the answer to the pro-life question that I previously mentioned. To be honest, I think it makes a lot of sense to distrust and link all members of a frat that sent threats of rape and used racist language to this behaviour. Were they still members when these complaints were made? If so, then I have every right to link them to this awful behaviour and hold them accountable for it.

Anyway, I was very shaken and incredibly nervous about asking the question, as I knew I would be met with hostility and poopy tweets. The actual response, however, was genuinely shocking. I listened to Kerr’s answer, disliked it, then went to the bar to get a drink. As I was walking out, a member of said frat at the back of the room and members of the Diagnostics society, jeered me, shouting “shame, shame” at me. A few of the members of the audience realised, including members of Fresh Air, who tweeted about it and were shocked. I found out after the debate that these same people attacked Faatima, candidate for President and only BME candidate for this role, when she defended accusations of racism hurled at her. This behaviour breaks safe space, something that EUSA venues are meant to uphold and enforce. I felt unsafe and worried about verbal attack or worse.

Their behaviour prompted complaints from other audience members with them asking the producers of the debate to remove them as they were making people feel unsafe. They were asked to do so, yet refused, literally shouting in the face of the person who asked them to leave. Thus, they remained throughout, making me at least feel incredibly unsafe and paranoid, and meant that they were able to continue shouting “shame” at Faatima. They also squared up to a member of the audience after the debate when that person did not want to have a conversation with them.

This night was awful, but incomparable to the debate on freedom of speech held by Sp!ked last night. Last night, me and other survivors of abuse, were told to “grow up” and get used to sexist and abusive behaviour on campus, and that our desire for safe spaces and trigger warnings was paternalistic and akin to fascism.

The behaviour of the DKE frat member and the Diagnostics society at the debate tonight is a case in point. I know for a fact that I was not the only person in the audience who felt unsafe and scared. I know for a fact that mine and others’ safe space was broken. I need safe spaces so that I am protected from such vile behaviour. Protected from men like them who literally threatened to rape me and other women on the same committee as I. It is not something to joke about and belittle because you’re a bit upset you’re not allowed to come to women only spaces, or BME only spaces, or trans only spaces, or LGBT+ spaces, or disabled only spaces.

Your vague offence does not equal or even come close to my physical disgust, and shaking, and paranoia, and desire to leave and cry. Do not patronise me. Do not accuse me of paternalism when you tell me what I can and cannot be offended and triggered about.

So much solidarity to all the people affected by these vile people tonight, and so much love to all those who sent me messages of support and encouragement, people who didn’t even know me. Also hugs to all the women who were thinking what I asked. It was vital that we asked those questions and challenged those views. Progression and ending bigotry does not come from allowing the bigots to silence us, or pressure us into a corner. Our voices and opinions are valid and powerful.

Thank you for reading, if you did. From now on this blog will be more radge. I’m done playing mister nice guy.

Ellie.

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Skipping the VPSA and jumping onto the manifesto boat.

I do what I want. (soz theres just loads and I don’t know most of them) ((Sorry, Eve, you’re great))

What I’m going to do is rip the crap out of these dang videos and policies, because seriously, some of them just aren’t that good at all.

Firstly, Jonny who is running for Prez.

PROS: His campaign is revolving around improving the well-being of students. Mental health and stuff and having Wednesday afternoons free. He also suggests an online accommodation hub for students; will he support a tenants union, a similar idea already in the works?

CONS: He is also pushing for the earlier release of exam timetables, which has been dragged through the mud many a time in student council. The strongest arguments show that this is not possible as staff need ample time to fit in dates for students with learning adjustments. If they didn’t have this amount of time, it would be very difficult to accommodate those students. I’m yet to hear a persuasive argument otherwise. If Jonny wants his campaign to cater for every student’s well-being, he’s not doing a great job in that respect, unless he wants to tell me how this would be possible. I feel we need to prioritize the already existing structures in place that help disabled, mentally and physically, students. Also, he wants monthly “brainstorms” with all students in all schools pitching in with their ideas on how to improve well-being. Isn’t that school councils and outreach trips? Also, what does that even mean?

Next, Theo!

PROS: focusing on mental health as well. And the rights and facilities for LGBTQIA students. Thumbs up for that. I also really like the idea of a campus “Safe Zone”, but I don’t know how that would be possible? I really hope he pulls it off if he gets elected, or other candidates could pick up on this idea. The funniest bit was Gabriel.

CONS: Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. Godammit does Theo just want to strawpedo that damn WKD. Big Cheese queue jump… really? Theo says that he will provide automatic queue jump for those going to Big Cheese if they pre-drink at Teviot beforehand. This sounds pretty ridiculous. Firstly, how would you know where they’ve been pre-drinking? Secondly, you are encouraging students to drink in a more expensive setting, with no real incentive or discount to do so. Thirdly, I don’t know how responsible it is to encourage people to pre-drink somewhere by enticing them with opportunities if they do so. We all know you like a drink, Theo, but Prosecco on tap??

Now, Faatima.

PROS: Everything.

CONS: Nothing. #NotBiased #ThatWasALie

Now… Michael.

PROS: More study space.

CONS: Doesn’t like political engagement and wants it to piss right off. He gets lost in Teviot quite a bit. Statistics.

(I’ll run through the other positions relatively quickly because there’s just so damn many! Also gonna have some fun with WordPress things.)

⇒ VPAA ⇐

CHRIS EDREV‘S VIDEO IS PRETTY FUNNY BECAUSE SOMEONE LITERALLY GIVES HIM A COOKIE. I ALSO LIKE HIS IDEA OF A VARIETY OF FEEDBACK. BUT I PREFER IMO AS SHES NICE AND HAS GREAT IDEAZ. Such as, supporting the gender studies department and paying tutors fairly to improve feedback – that is the real problemo here after all, folks! Also I nearly cried laughing at that end zoom bit oh my god.

Calum, hey. Sorry for the delay. He’s got some very good points in his manifesto. I am so so glad to see that he’s focussing on widening access. Coming from a comprehensive school in London, this is so needed. The university does not put enough effort into taking in students from under-privileged areas and state schools, and I’d be chuffed if Calum rectified this if he got elected. You go, Calum!

Tom Kerr

PROS: mental health and implementing a variety of methods of assessment which students can pick and mix around to suit them.

CONS: He’s a Tory pro-lifer.

∴ VPS ∴

Fraser‘s video is 12 minutes along. But cat cafe and gender neutral toilets everywhere. Good.

Urte: free tampons, condoms and lube and free education and divestment = good, I just don’t like NCAFC much.

Daniel: I like the idea of more cash machines and water machines around campus, but personal safety alarms aren’t so good. You should work on tackling the culture that means people feel the need for personal safety alarms. Also, not really any evidence at all to say these work or visibly reduce violent or sexual attacks.

♥ VPSA ♥

So many oh my god!

Shuwanna‘s video is so strange but I like it: can’t resist that Uptown Funk! All of her policies are pretty spot on, especially the night shuttle bus and improved funding for liberation groups.

Most of Hannah‘s policies are very good too, such as making Teviot actually accessible and not forcing wheelchair users to use the ugly back entrance. I also really like the idea of low-cost casual membership to the gym; I *ahem* don’t have time *ahem* to go and make full use of the current price of gym membership bur still want the opportunity to use it every now and then.

Iqbal is really good at beatboxing and can moonwalk and he supports making the university a guarantor for visiting students.

Kashish supports gender equality and would fight to improve it on campus, but also supports HeForShe which I think is a “load of guff”.

Conor: yeah alright, I like the bit about putting in provisions to increase students of marginalized groups in post-grad degrees and fixing the counselling service.

Andy‘s got a lot of good stuff in his manifesto, but I really hope if he gets elected that he will consult women first on what they want regarding safety on the Meadows. I for one would not be so happy with cops walking around everywhere.

Phew, ok. That’s it. I’m exhausted.

medeusa

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OOh hello. And ooh goodbye :(

Somebody guessed who I am. And is v bad at sarcasm.

Also Tara Copeland has apparently dropped out of the VPAA race. Goodbye, lady, and good luck.

A-

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VICE PRESIDENT OF THE SERVICES BLOG POST

Hey what’s up. I am old and boring so I’m going to have a lil look at the candidates for the Vice Pres of Services now. Sorry if I’m being really boring but I am having fun, OK?! To spice things up a bit I will look into the future and predict what superpowers these people will get when they run their term.

This position is all about the environment and pints and Teviot and stuff. This year it was Tasha and the year before that it was Kirsty and before that it was infamous Dutch man Max Crema. Yep.

Fraser Graham

The man, the legend, the actual big boy. Fraser is well known for being the tallest man in Edinburgh. Representing post-grad students, he will surely draw in many of their votes. He’s also really good at asking question in student council so I predict he will ask lots of questions elsewhere too. Fraser ran for VPS in 2013, so he will be equipped with priceless election knowledge bites and may use them to his advantage.

He is also an Architecture student so as well as knowing a lot about buildings and bricks, we will hopefully know how to get ECA students on board and wanting to vote. He’s also on the committee for BLOGs representing us Bi/Pan peoples so respect for that.

I think Fraser will probably like get the power of invisibility or something. He’s pretty lucky, that’s a favourite power among many people I’ve been speaking too.

Elena Perez Fernandez

I don’t know who this person is. She is on Facebook, and I think she did Critical Mass once but I can’t be sure.

Oh wait a second, I signed her nomination form! That was a silly thing to forget. She seemed very nice and my friend said she was so she must be. good luck, Elena. I wanna see what u got on ur that there manifesto.

I think if she had a superpower it would be like making bikes to fly when she rides them because that’s the only thing I know about her (that she rides a bike).

Daniel Mullen

From the brief and mostly fruitless Facebook peek I did for him he seems to like things that are sustainable environmentally. My friend said he also is a nice guy. OK! He also seems to be pretty involved with lots of sporty things so maybe he will play on that and get lots of sporty kids down for voting.

Other things from his FB: surfing, Edinburgh Uni Memes, sports, rugby, Chelsea FC, TED talks and Just Manly Things. Alright!

If Daniel had a super power (and who’s to say he doesn’t already?) it would be kicking a ball so hard it goes all around the world and hits his enemy standing next to him on the head.

Urte Macikenaite

Urte seems like she will have a big support group behind her campaign. Firmly in the radical but not too radical left, she may have a big number of votes? I don’t know. Team McColl though, this is kinda refreshing. Also a part of trumped up yet not that awesome student anti-cuts group NCAFC, she will surely be met with some opposition (like probably pretty staunch opposition). Also friends with some BNOCs, some of whom are often met with snarls and FemSoc related controversies surrounding abusive behaviour…

She joined Edinburgh in second year, fleeing from St Andrews to the dark underworld of factional student politics. Now she is very much stuck in there, also doing a radio show for Politics and International Relations Soc.

If Urte had a superpower, it would be shape-shifting. She has had her fingers stuck in many pies.

Sorry for boring you. I’m looking forward to seeing what policies these guys will be going with. I’m also excited about trying to hide my obvious bubbling frustration and bitterness and muttering under my breath.

medeusa.

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