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.  

Accommodation

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.

In-house entrepreneur

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.

Careers

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. 

Widening access

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.”

Final assessment

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. 

6 COMMENTS

  1. As far as I’m aware there isn’t currently a University nursery, although the Uni has announced plans to build one near East Sands. If you’re thinking of the nursery at DRA that’s actually a private nursery – the location is a coincidence.

  2. It would seem that The Saint is unaware that a university-ran nursery does not exist, only a private one. If you’re going to run a hate campaign, at least get your facts right.

  3. Following the points above from Rebecca and C Mercer, it would be indefensible for the editor not to now amend the assertion “Mr Campbell was unaware that such a facility already exists”.

    If Tom Williams is going to hammer a candidate throughout an article, then he should ensure that throwaway remarks are not the basis of his “policy critique”. The Saint has been producing some acceptable stuff lately, but this was a gutter tabloid-esque piece expressed through a suitably third-rate style of writing and pseudo-argumentation. The irony of the piece is that Tom consistently criticises Lewis for not giving adequate thought to his policies, but can’t be bothered to give his “critiques” any genuine thought (which in turn deserves equally scathing criticism).

    I’ll be voting for Lewis Wood because I think he’ll be an outstanding Association President, but Lewis Campbell deserves much more respect than this pathetic and poorly written piece offers him. His policies certainly merit some critique, but they are earnest (as is he) and I’m pleased that the bitterness and cynicism of this article, and many other Student Union elections across the country, hasn’t appeared in either candidate’s speeches/actions thus far. Good luck to both of you, and I hope that the student community disregards the utter rubbish written by Tom W above so that we can all engage with some meaningful debate and discourse over the rest of the campaign.

    P.S. the sub-heading is nonsense in its current form. Might help if you amend to “While Mr Campbell has good intentions for the student body, his [proposed] methods [appear to be] unrealistic”, or alternatively just get someone else to write a respectable article.

  4. Great journalism as usual the Saint, totally unnecessary demeaning of Mr Campbell’s campaign… Oh, and can you please point me in the direction of the university-run nursery? I wasn’t aware that one existed.

  5. According to the UK’s Federation of Small Businesses:

    Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2016 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs).

    Total employment in SMEs was 15.7 million; 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.

    The combined annual turnover of SMEs was £1.8 trillion, 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK.

    There are plenty of wonderful opportunities within SMEs for graduates.

    University spin outs often do provide revenue for academic institutions. One such recent example Oxford Biodynamics, a company which spun out form the University of Oxford in 2007 listed on AIM in December of last year. The float raised £20 million, with almost £13 million going to selling shareholders, including Ramadass, Vulpes Life Science Fund and the University of Oxford. I am aware St Andrews also owns various stakes in revenue producing spin outs such as Xelect Ltd.

    Furthermore, it is not unfeasible to suggest companies connected to the University may also provide part time employment.

    The bias in this article is frankly pathetic.

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