Manifesto analysis: Joe Tantillo, candidate for DoRep

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Joseph Tantillo admits that the Union is not without its faults. It can be slow, inefficient and unwieldy. However, he is quick to add, his own blend of passion and hard work is the refreshing remedy to a Union often perceived as out of touch with its student body. The Union “transcended all of its traditional roles and it became my home,” he says. Between his roles as Association Chair, Returning Officer on the Societies Committee and Charitable Development Convener, Mr Tantillo has built up plenty of experience with the Union which he hopes will help him win the position of Director of Representation.

Education

Mr Tantillo claims sports players are afforded some leeway when negotiating deadlines and wants to extend the same benefit to those involved in societies, theatre and volunteering roles. “I believe it would be unfair not to extend this option to more students,” he says. This is Mr Tantillo’s flagship policy and one that will chime with students battling to balance the demands of academic work and extracurricular activities. How far this option will extend is less clear however. Will only Union-affiliated students be afforded this benefit? Will students have to prove their curricular activity is worthy of a deadline extension? This policy will no doubt prove a popular proposal but its details need fleshing out.

Study Space

A perennial thorn in the side of previous DoReps, Mr Tantillo’s solution to the paucity of study space is to provide additional space for individual departments. In the long term, Mr Tantillo proposes a second library and five-year plan on the expansion of study spaces.

Advisors

Mr Tantillo plans to shake-up the student-advisor relationship, developing it from a formal “30 seconds” affair to one in which you feel comfortable about approaching your advisor for help when you need it.  Mr Tantillo has latched onto the coattails of previous DoReps, like Amanda Litherland, who have sought to beef up academic support for students. The feasibility of this policy is questionable and will require considered collaboration with the University.

Reading Week

Mr Tantillo’s year group will be the only ones to recall the heady days of reading week. Before it disappears entirely into the ether, however, he will look to secure a period of time in semester one for a temporary hiatus on coursework. “A high-intensity workload with no break can be damaging to students mental health and wellbeing,” he says. Yet every DoRep since reading week was abolished has tried and failed to reinstate it or something similar. It remains to be seen whether this policy realizable or whether reading week consigned to be a distant memory.

Wellbeing

A cornerstone of former DoRep Teddy Wodehouse’s time in office, Mr Tantillo hopes to expand mental health first aid training for students whose roles put them in contact with large numbers of students. This is a sensible policy that should win the support of many voters. Yet Mr Tantillo intends to go one step further and assign all first year students a services counsellor. In theory this is a very attractive policy but it is unclear if it is a practicable one.

Democracy

Mr Tantillo vows to hack away the inefficiency that has blighted the Students’ Representative Council (SRC). Despite pledging to reform the body, make it more inclusive and more productive, Mr Tantillo has not entered into detail about how he will reduce the bureaucracy that afflicts the SRC.

University

Mr Tantillo proposes pushing the University Court to include more students. This is a novel policy that would bolster student representation at the University’s highest level. Slightly less ambitious is Mr Tantillo’s mawkishly titled ‘Students Are Awesome’ campaign. Seemingly along the same lines as the Principal’s Medal, Mr Tantillo aims to “recognize students who go above and beyond in their contribution to student lives and the St Andrews community.”

The Saint’s assessment

Joseph Tantillo is a serious candidate with a serious manifesto. Clear and wide-reaching, Mr Tantillo’s proposal encompasses a vast array of policies. His experience and ambition are to be commended along with his evident passion for the University and the Union. Yet such is his ambition that a clutch of his policies lack the fine detail needed. Mr Tantillo’s manifesto is evidently a determined one, whether it is a realistic one is less clear.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s not forget that the Saint were the ones who broke the story about Joe not standing for President by publishing his private Facebook message the week before his exams. You still haven’t apologised for that. And then you then let his former girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend do the interview and try to push him around about it. He kept his cool and taught you a lesson in professionalism. I supported the Saint when Moffat tried to sue and you’ve done nothing but disappoint since; add this needlessly aggressive interview to the list of things you should apologise to Joe for.

  2. This interview is really poorly done – instead of asking questions that allow Joe to discuss and highlight the benefits of his manifesto, Henry attacks him and shows himself to be incredibly unprofessional. Hats off to Joe for keeping his cool. Yet again the Saint shows how incredibly unprofessional they are. So disappointing – and still no apology for the Facebook message debacle.

  3. I’ve watched a fair number of election interviews, and it seems this is by far the most aggressive, unnecessarily so. I don’t know if as other people suggest there is a previous conflict between Joe and Henry, but this interview definitely suggests it, and makes the Saint and Henry look unprofessional. This is really disappointing since the Saint generally comes across professionally especially in your video coverage, this definitely undermines that good work, an editor surely should have realised this conflict and even post production made the call to redo the interview.

  4. Is this an interview or an interrogation? Clearly some resentment issues from the interviewer’s behalf, only makes Joe look better though for handling it so well! Well done Joe. St Andrews sees right through the green monster of jealousy you have sat in front of you.

  5. So disappointed by the lack of professionalism in this video. While the fine line between asking tough questions and simply bullying someone can be a bit murky at times, Henry is clearly doing the latter.

  6. A fair article with some valuable analysis, entirely overshadowed by an incredibly unprofessional interview.

    Get it together Saint, at the moment your coverage is more annoying than the flock of campaigners outside the library, and that’s really saying something.

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