Read our interview with Mr Patterson here.
To many, David Patterson has long been an obvious candidate for this year’s Association president race. A fourth year IR and Modern History student, David is perhaps best known for his presidency of Mermaids. Beyond this he has co-chaired the Scott Lang Dinner committee and been the student representative on the Community Council. He currently serves as the deputy senior officer of the SSC.
Mr Patterson’s manifesto is comprehensive. There’s little left out in the six-page document, with his three major pledges being: improving the accommodation situation through partnerships, including with the University’s centre for housing research; ensuring that the ‘student experience’ is open to all; and keeping the Union running smoothly during the redevelopment. His tag line of “For a president with experience, trust Dave” asks voters to compare his experience with that of his fellow candidates. While his background is certainly impressive, having organised over 40 events as Mermaids president, it remains to be seen whether it will be judged as the most relevant to the remit of Association president.
Mr Patterson addresses eight individual policy areas in his manifesto: accommodation, accessibility, ‘the student family’, redevelopment, University relations, external representation, environment and ethics, and ‘the big questions’ – a section devoted to his policies on dealing with the referendum on Scottish independence and the rectoral election scheduled for the next academic year.
Mr Patterson’s approach to the proposed HMO ban is fairly conservative, seeking to ‘act as partners’ with residents, establish a relationship with the University’s Centre for Housing Research and improve upon the student accommodation survey. He claims no Association president would be able to solve the problems relating to the price and availability of accommodation, perhaps in response to Chloe Hill’s yet-to-be-fulfilled pledge to establish a student letting agency.
David has some innovative ideas for addressing accessibility and widening access, such as providing a fund to reimburse travel expenses for students from Scottish state schools in deprived areas who attend University open days. He is bound to be asked why this policy cannot be extended to students from across the UK, especially given the fact that those students would be required to pay £9,000 annually in tuition fees and most often have to travel from farther away to visit the University.
Beyond his remit?
There are, however, a lot of policies that look rather out of place on an Association president’s manifesto. In light of the Union redevelopment, Mr Patterson promises to “lobby to give societies access to space in underused and untapped areas of the University” – despite the fact that this is one of the central responsibilities of the director of events and services position. A lot of attention is also given to sports, pledging to keep Wednesday afternoons free and to lobby the University to provide sports scholarships – policies that are more associated with the Athletic Union president.