Who Am I?
My name is Matthew Brown. I am a mature student from Buckinghamshire, England in my first year at the University of Edinburgh studying philosophy, and I am currently staying in student accommodation in the city of Edinburgh.
I have experience working in many different sectors and settings, from gyms and studios and as a personal trainer, building sites as a labourer, offices and meeting rooms as a hotel reservationist and then later an insurance representative, through to your friendly neighbourhood beverage pourer. As a result, I have had the great fortune of being able to meet and listen to different people and to have exchanged a story or two with many of them.
Why Am I Standing and What Do I Hope to Achieve?
I first considered standing after receiving an email highlighting the positions that no one had stood for yet. “I can win this one”, I thought.
I then considered that I was already in communication with the Student Association, I was attempting to highlight issues around, what I consider to be, a too heavy a focus on identity when it comes to the Student Association’s sincere attempts to provide support for the students that it represents.
To give an example, the positions of ‘Liberation Officers’ explicitly restrict people of certain races, ethnicities, sex, ability of body and sexual preference and identity from applying for these positions, regardless of any ability they might have to fulfil the purposes of the role. This is a practice, I feel, that moves against the aims of the Equality Act 2010.
I will be bringing this as a motion to the next Student Council meeting in March of this year and will continue to pursue it thereafter. Standing as a representative would allow me to be directly involved in the democratic processes my motion is to go through, and would provide me with an opportunity to engage in discussions with the association, its members and other students on this and other topics.
As mature students we are here because we have chosen to be here. We then took the steps and made the sacrifices necessary to get here. You already have what you need to succeed. I hope, in standing to represent mature students, to either remind you of that or to assist you as best as I can when it is needed.
“I can win this one” had turned into “I have an opportunity to stand as a representative for mature students like myself, and to do my best to help and support them where they cannot help and support themselves, irrespective of any characteristics associated with identity.” A mouthful I know, but I mean it.