VP Welfare

Kai O'Doherty





Leading on representation and liaising with the University on matters relating to student wellbeing lie at the centre of my role as Vice President Welfare.  I coordinate and lead campaigns in relation to welfare, and equality and diversity issues including student safety, mental and physical wellbeing, and inclusion.

Email me at VPwelfare@eusa.ed.ac.uk








I’m Kai O’Doherty, your Vice President Welfare for 2018/19. I am a Masters student in Policy Studies at the University, having moved here in September 2016. Before I came to Edinburgh I studied Political Science & International Development at McGill University in Quebec, but I am originally from the small island of Bermuda.

Welfare has always been incredibly close to my heart, with a history of activism in Bermuda, Canada and Scotland in social and environmental justice. At McGill, I supported and advocated for sexual assault survivors, and coordinated trainings to thousands of first year students on areas of sexuality, gender, consent, race and colonialism, and supporting issues of fair working conditions.

Since arriving in Edinburgh, I have been the LGBT+ Liberation Officer at this Students' Association in 2016/17, Vice President Activities & Services in 2017/18, and am now NUS Scotland's LGBT+ Officer in addition to VP Welfare. And yes, I will eventually finish my Masters degree once this year is over!

1. Improving Mental Health Support

  • – Peer Support
  • – Special Circumstances
  • – Mental Health & Wellbeing Week
  • – Suicide Prevention
  • – Mental Health Strategy Implementation
  • – Year Abroad Support


2. Combatting Sexual Violence on campus

  • – Training: for students, staff, and conduct investigators
  • – Awareness campaigns: #NoExcuse
  • – Improving Reporting Policies and Procedures


3. Centring Anti-Oppression

  • – Supporting Liberation Officers
  • – Free Sanitary Products on all Campuses
  • – Thematic Reviews: Parents, Carers and Mature Students; BME Students
  • – International Student Support
  • – Trans Students: Access, Trainings and Representation

Better mental health support!

  • Counselling: continue the fight for shorter waiting times; better & permanent facilities at King’s Buildings
  • Improve Personal Tutor mental health support, through a massive review of compulsory training
  • Expand Mental Health & Wellbeing Week, focusing on campuses outside of George Square, and events spread throughout the year
  • Special Circumstances: quicker responses, clearer guidance, and fair and just decisions. Those with chronic illness shouldn’t have to prove “worsening conditions”.
  • Mental Health Peer Support groups: for postgraduate students especially

Zero tolerance of sexual violence & harassment

  • Create a pro-survivor, stand-alone sexual assault policy, replacing the oppressively inadequate current University procedures
  • Lead further review of visual consent campaigns, refocusing on survivor support
  • Build more opportunities for consent training

Community-building support for international students

  • Fight for the University’s reinvestment in a space for the International Student Centre
  • Push for community-building efforts from the University, beyond recruitment and visa regulation
  • Fighting for reasonable housing options, especially for those having to find apartments before arrival

It’s basic: expand the provision of hot water taps and microwaves across campus!

Fight for marginalized students!

  • Support Liberation officers to achieve their aims, ensuring an intersectional approach
  • Continue efforts to prioritize access for widening participation students to enjoy University with fewer barriers