Manifesto analysis: Ondrej Hajda, candidate for director of representation

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Photo: Maria Faciolince
Photo: Maria Faciolince
Photo: Maria Faciolince

Read our interview with Mr Hajda here.

Mr Hajda’s time as education officer throughout this year has given him valuable experience in SRC affairs, which would help him if he is successful in becoming director of representation. Having worked with class presidents and the library in the past, he is in a good position to work well with such bodies in the future.

Study spaces

A major focus of Mr Hajda’s manifesto is his determination to provide more study space. He wants to extend the main library hours so that it is open from 8 am to 2 am every day, as well as extending opening hours for smaller libraries such as the JF Allen and St Mary’s College. Following the recent library survey, he feels it is necessary to provide more spaces for students to use laptops (i.e. more power sockets) and intends to work with IT services on this as well as to upgrade current computer labs. His manifesto calls for a “student-written strategic plan” that will outline the University’s strategy for addressing these issues. Given the limited space in the library – especially for those wishing to charge laptops – this seems to be an important issue to address and a fair proposal.

Previous DoReps have attempted to extend library opening hours. Mr Hajda will need to make clear what he will do differently to ensure that this change finally happens.

Student welfare

He also promises to provide more support for stressed and mentally ill students. He proposes to do this through “a series of free workshops and relaxation sessions (puppies!)”. Links between current peer support schemes, his manifesto states, should be strengthened and more volunteers in mental health first aid training. Although it has previously been a source of contention, Mr Hajda wants to ensure the continuation of Sexy Health Week, as well as raising awareness about condom reps and sexual health in general. These policies are well intentioned, though the details of how they will be implemented are not yet clear.

Equal opportunities

Another of Mr Hajda’s proposals is to ensure greater gender equality within the University. He said: “Although the University has come a long way in the past 100 years in terms of gender equality, it has not gone far enough. I will launch a Women in Leadership scheme to increase the number of women in top positions across campus (and beyond).” A similar policy is his resolve to work with the AU president to “tackle sexism, racism and homophobia in sport”. Both of these points raise a clear worry over the extent of equality in the University. Mr Hajda will need to explain the background to these resolves in greater depth.

Your Union

The continuation of proper support and training for class presidents and greater recognition for volunteers in the University are further policies that Mr Hajda emphasises. He says: “Most importantly, I am here to represent your voice and make all students feel closer with our Union.”

His policies seem well put together with clear aims in mind. Though several of his policies – especially those for greater equal opportunities – will need to be explained further, his overall manifesto is promising.

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