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Candidate for the position of VP Welfare and Diversity

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Ruby Jones

Everyone includes everyone. #TheWheelDeal

The aims of my manifesto can be summarised into three sections; accessibility, inclusivity and safety for ALL students. These goals have manifested through the voices of multitudes of students, in order to improve overall welfare in a rich, diverse campus where everyone is valued and accepted.

Due to my experiences of inaccessibility on campus, the first issue I’d like to address is making Exeter more accessible. Despite using a wheelchair, I have persistently been timetabled in inaccessible rooms and only through making noise has change occurred; however, it should not be the responsibility of the student to ensure equal access to education. I’d make it compulsory for tutors to read every student’s ILP at the commencement of a new class. By stressing importance and visibility on ILP’s, students’ needs should be met without additional anxiety. I would also improve accessibility by digitizing the disabled parking bays on campus via iExeter.

Access to mental health services is an ongoing issue. I’d work with Wellbeing to create alternative routes for support when waiting lists are too long, including a network of student volunteers, and increased visibility of services such as Nightline. Wellbeing should be accessible to everyone regardless of gender, ability, race, or class. I aim to decolonise mental health support offered and would ensure the employment of a person of colour to support those experiencing issues that a white counsellor may be unequipped for.

The second focal point of my manifesto is inclusivity. Racism is a serious issue at Exeter yet there is astonishing complacency. I’d introduce anti-racist practices that attempt to reduce racial abuse at Exeter. This would entail actively fighting back against racism, something that is not currently being done. By training staff in what racism means and looks like, and through educating all students on actions to take if racism is witnessed, we can aim to reduce the burden upon marginalised students. I would also integrate INTO students into the Guild, in response to their feelings of disenfranchisement. Through monthly meetings with other full-time officers in the INTO building café with students, I would ensure international students have the same access to the services and support the Guild offers.

By working with the VP Education, I’d look to decolonise the current curriculum, creating a more globalised syllabus. By inviting international speakers from different disciplines to public lectures, I hope to create a richly diverse curriculum that is representative of all students.

Finally, I aim to improve welfare of all students by ensuring safety. This would manifest through introducing a system where students can report acts of harassment and discrimination they see from individuals or societies. Depending on the severity, the individual or society will be sent a warning, alerting committee members to unacceptable behaviour, or an order that this person must be removed from the society immediately. We’re all aware of the discrimination that happens behind closed doors within societies, and I refuse its toleration. This system allows reports to be made anonymously from someone within the society without fear from other members.

My intent is not to speak for others, but to amplify voices that are often drowned out. Everyone includes everyone. 

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