Skip to the main content

We spoke to the Liberation Officers running in this year’s Leadership Race so you could get a better idea of who they are and what they stand for. 

We asked them these questions:

  • How will you work on building and sustaining your network?
  • In your eyes, what’s the most immediate change that UCL could make to improve the experience of the students you represent?
  • How do you plan to work with the other liberation officers to best represent intersecting identities?
  • Thinking specifically about student life post-pandemic, what would you prioritise doing next year in your post?

And here were their answers: 

1. How will you work on building and sustaining your network?

Imogen (Trans Officer candidate): I hope to work on building the LGBT+ Network by organising social events and generally making it as easy as possible to students to engage in these events and connect with the network. I think it’s particularly important that the LGBT+ Network attracts as many LGBT+ students as possible so that they have the opportunity to engage in a safe space for their community and so they can help with sustaining and organising the network in the future.

Donella (Women’s Officer candidate): Since campaigning started, I have been very active on Instagram and Facebook, sharing both my aims and opinions but also posts that I feel are resourceful, inspiring, or containing important information about the state of the world for women today. If elected, I will:

  • Continue with this sharing of information and original content
  • Create a drop-in time once a week and an anonymous virtual suggestions box should women want to voice their concerns
  • Partner with officers across the board to ensure women’s voices are heard throughout the University
  • Create a Women supporting Women network for women to engage with me and others on these issues 

Priya and Jade (Women’s Officer jobshare candidates): Creating platforms and online spaces where we can share our ideas. More communication equals more awareness, more empowerment. Introducing diversity, including more LGBTQ+, POC, disabled, BAME women will not only build, but also sustain our network. Intersectionality is key. Launching events where more officers (e.g., sustainability, LGBT+) can come together and build an alliance to tackle issues collectively. Learning from other officers can offer different perspectives, build up on more niche issues. Ensuring our network is a safe space for all begins first with providing one. And this is only done through inclusivity and communication.

Paul and Akosua (BME Students’ Officer jobshare candidates): Mainly through communicating and collaborating with societies. This is because UCL is diverse and so are the societies therefore holding joint-society programmes will enable us to meet many people, especially BME students.

Danilo and Abigail (Disabled Students’ Officer jobshare candidates): We will run regular socials and also increase our social media presence. We will also link to other networks/societies and ensuring that our current members are content and enjoying the network, so that it maintains a good reputation.

2.    In your eyes, what’s the most immediate change that UCL could make to improve the experience of the students you represent?

Imogen (Trans Officer candidate): In my opinion, that change which I think UCL needs to implement as soon as possible to help transgender students is enforcing more respect for pronouns. Misgendering is a huge problem at UCL, especially in academics, and it’s disappointing to see my department and the university as a whole do so little to prevent this. To me, it seems UCL projects the idea that they’re unwilling to make transgender students feel welcome in class, and I hope to see UCL overcome this, so that participating in class feels equally safe for trans- and cisgender students alike.

Donella (Women’s Officer candidate): Sexual assault prevention is the most pressing issue facing the students that I represent. Making consent a mandatory part of the curriculum is the most immediate change UCL could make to not only improve women’s experiences, but save lives. I propose this be achieved through the creating of an engaging and educational consent module on Moodle, that must be completed by the end of the first term for first years. This will be followed by a group meeting with personal tutors to discuss the meaning of consent and the ramifications of a lack of consent, to ensure that the content was absorbed.  

Priya and Jade (Women’s Officer jobshare candidates): One of the most important issues that are most often gone unnoticed is sexual harassment and misconduct. As a first year living in university accommodation, it isn’t hard to see how easily this can take place during parties/nights out. Working as Women’s Officers, I think it is crucial that students feel safe in their own environments, being able to reach out to someone if they need to. Creating a space where students can comfortably communicate, raise awareness and introducing training for staff to deal with this appropriately. It is important to strengthen alliances between all students on campus.

Paul and Akosua (BME Students’ Officer jobshare candidates): UCL could develop and hold skill sessions to equip everyone with the knowledge of how to deal with racism specifically and how to step in when it does happen. This includes providing more support for BME students through the Student Support and Wellbeing service.

Danilo and Abigail (Disabled Students’ Officer jobshare candidates): Providing more funding to hire more support in SSW linked with the faculty level. The in-faculty SSW staff can help facilitate SORAs within departments and as well as greater support networks, in addition to hearing their points of view and ensuring that they can give feedback that can be listened to.

3. How do you plan to work with the other liberation officers to best represent intersecting identities?

Imogen (Trans Officer candidate): I plan to communicate regularly with the relevant liberation officers to ensure that all transgender students with intersecting identities are listened to, and that all related officers are working together, instead of separately, to cater for the specific needs of intersectional students. I think it’s the case that a lot of transgender students especially have intersecting identities, so this would be a particular priority for me.

Donella (Women’s Officer candidate): First and foremost, I am an intersectional feminist, and I will work tirelessly with each individual equity officer to ensure that women of all backgrounds, identities, and commitments are at the forefront of every decision made not only by me, but also by other officers. I would like to create monthly drop-in sessions where one other liberation officer and I are available to give advice or hear suggestions from anyone that intersects with our two roles. Likewise, I would set up a virtual, anonymous suggestions box for these women. This would ensure that no voice is left behind. 

Priya and Jade (Women’s Officer jobshare candidates):

  • Work closely with the BME Students’, Trans and Disabled Students’ officers and LGBTQ+ Network alongside faith groups to create social and collaborative consciousness raising events.
  • Aligning the Women’s Network with the campaign to decolonize education.
  • Start an open UCL Gender Studies lecture series undertaking an interdisciplinary approach across different departments.
  • Increasing the visibility of female sports.
  • Creating platforms where men can discuss masculinity.
  • Climate change is a feminist issue!
  • Work alongside the Accommodation officer to ensure Halls are a safe place for all. We will put a box letter in Halls if any student feels the need to express themselves, we will be there for you

Paul and Akosua (BME Students’ Officer jobshare candidates): Regular meetings can be held with other liberation officers to discuss and identify issues that those with intersecting identities face and to work together to make this issue known and to find solutions.

Danilo and Abigail (Disabled Students’ Officer jobshare candidates): Running intersecting LN events, and enabling regular discussions between LT PTOs for strong support and intersectional campaigns, as well having various intersecting theme events e.g. an event for LGBT+ history month etc.

4.    Thinking specifically about student life post-pandemic, what would you prioritise doing next year in your post?

Imogen (Trans Officer candidate): I’ve never experienced university life outside of the pandemic, so I’d be reaching out to the trans community at UCL to find what areas of in-person student life needed improvement at UCL, and I want to prioritise listening to all trans students. However, as more in-person meetings occur, I would like to prioritise making societies more trans-inclusive spaces; many are gendered, which can feel unwelcoming. I’d like UCL to provide guidance for transgender students joining societies, as the stress of not knowing which gendered one to pay for membership of significantly dampens the benefits of joining.

Donella (Women’s Officer candidate): This is a difficult one, as I have so many priorities once we are able to meet in person again! However, I think sexual assault prevention workshops and female empowerment meets are at the top of my list. 

For sexual assault prevention, I would:  

  1. Instate training from the Goodlad Initiative for men across campus 
  2. Instate active bystander training for anyone who wants it 
  3. Instate self-defence training  

For female empowerment, I would:  

  1. Create women-only bar nights and events  
  2. Create women’s conventions and workshops  

Priya and Jade (Women’s Officer jobshare candidates): We have a lot to catch up on, but two brains are going to work on that!

  • Put helplines and resources on UCL’s products’ packaging
  • Create an open space on campus, where students who self-identify as women can express themselves and become shining activists of women’s rights!
  • Put protest at the heart of the Women’s Network and make our voices louder. Protest is integral to visibility.
  • Organizing 3 huge fundraising events dedicated to empowering women with all proceeds going to charity organizations
  • Provide free pregnancy tests, period products and contraceptives on all campus

Paul and Akosua (BME Students’ Officer jobshare candidates): Our main priorities include holding more events such working with societies to organise joint-society events and lunchtime events on cultural discovery. Our aim from this is to cultivate respect and sensitivity for other cultures. We also aim for improved efficiency when addressing reports on racial violence and discrimination.

Danilo and Abigail (Disabled Students’ Officer jobshare candidates): In person socials to help those struggling on online socials whilst also maintaining online community. Also focus on accessibility as we move back to campus to ensure physical accessibility and to ensure that previous adjustments are reinstalled, so that we keep improving and going in the right direction.