Mr Campbell’s policy ideas are certainly unique, but they lack feasibility, likely due to his lack of experience in student politics. It is difficult to imagine much of Mr Campbell’s manifesto coming to fruition if he is elected.
Mr Campbell’s accommodation policy seems to be one of his most eccentric ideas.
He proposes the creation of a student-led housing co-operative where all University accommodation would be governed by a board of student tenants. This board would be responsible for the approval of rent levels and distribution of profits back into the accommodation system itself.
Whilst, in theory, this asset-lock on accommodation could ensure that halls receive a greater level of funding, it is an unattainable fantasy of a policy.
If the University handed management of one of its greatest sources of revenue (Residential Business Services, or RBS) to the student body, it would be an unjustifiable leap of faith.
When asked if he believed the University would accept his policy in an interview with The Saint, Mr Campbell asserted, “I don’t think they have a choice.” He did not elaborate as to why this was the case.
Furthermore, it remains unclear as to how Mr Campbell would tackle the HMO ban, which is up for review in June of this year.
Creating the role of an “in-house entrepreneur” is another keystone policy of Mr Campbell’s manifesto.
This individual would work in collaboration with the Careers Centre and alumni in order to “inspire and nurture students to set up businesses or charities during their time here.”
The creation of an in-house entrepreneur could lead to some interesting opportunities for students to network with alumni and gain skills for employment. However, the implementation of such a policy seems to be something to which Mr Campbell has given little thought.
In the beginning of his manifesto, he asserts that the purpose of such a policy is to provide a “part-time job in St Andrews” for students.
Later on, Mr Campbell suggests the creation of ‘“spin-outs […] which will provide an extra source of revenue for the University.”
This creates some confusion as to whether the entrepreneurial ventures created by the program would benefit the University or students directly.
In Mr Campbell’s manifesto, there is a large focus on incorporating small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He proposes the creation of an SME careers fair, which is an interesting twist on the traditional approach to careers. Students are often only exposed to large corporations at careers fairs.
Mr Campbell asserts that the creation of such an event would “allow for greater diversity in the sectors who employ graduates and will give students in St Andrews more choice about what they want to do post-graduation.”
This may encourage graduates to set up their own businesses, and for a lucky few, provide jobs.
Therein lies the issue: SMEs, given their size, are often reluctant to provide jobs and or graduate programmes that make the transition from university life easier. While a novel idea, it does not seem feasible for this reason.
Mr Campbell suggests holding open days for high school students in northeast Fife to improve the number of Scottish students attending St Andrews.
This is a policy that may encourage those who had previously not considered St Andrews to apply and thus further the University’s reputation in the Fife community.
However, northeast Fife is not substantial enough to address the attainment gap, and Mr Campbell does not propose any kind of outreach for the rest of Scotland.
Mr Campbell furthermore states that “widening access doesn’t only apply to young people.”
To combat this issue, he proposed the creation of a university-run nursery. It would seem, however, that Mr Campbell was unaware that such a facility has already been approved and is set to open in the coming months.
In an interview with The Saint, Mr Campbell subsequently amended his position on the nursery, stating he would “support it and make sure students know about it and prospective students know as well.”
Mr Campbell’s lack of experience in the body of student politics is clear. His experience in national politics is reflected too heavily in his manifesto, as he promises to be a voice against “right-wing populism.” This statement goes against the principles of free discussion and debate that university offers, and while The Saint believes Mr Campbell has good intentions for the student body, his ideas seem unattainable for the conditions in which the Association president works.
This article has been updated for clarity and grammar.