The candidates to be the 53rd Rector of the University of St Andrews, Willie Rennie and Srdja Popovic, have today lauched their manifestos.
In his manifesto, Willie Rennie has emphasised his presence in St Andrews and existing ties to the St Andrews community.
“The best way for a Rector to engage with students and really advocate for their interests is by being here in town – and I’m already here. I already spend the time hanging about outside Tesco talking to students, meeting the Sabbaticals, finding out how we in local government can help student interests, and being the Rector would give me a wonderful chance to do more of that,” he said.
Mr Rennie also spoke of his links to the community and the work he has already done throughout the years to resolve issues faced by students in St Andrews.
“I’ve spent years working with locals finding real-life solutions to their frustrations, and if I were your Rector I could finally work to solve problems for the whole community,” he said.
Mr Rennie also outlined the key issues he would hope to tackle as Rector. The manifesto promises to pursue “lasting, structural changes” to address the provision of mental and sexual health services to students. It also pledged to fight for affordable accommodation by pursuing the repeal of the ban on HMOs licenses in the centre of St Andrews.
Srdja Popovic has chosen to focus his manifesto on a series of bold policy proposals under the headings of “Equality”, “Accessiblity” and “Representation”.
Mr Popovic’s manifesto states his three main aims as – providing widespread affordable accommodation in St Andrews, improving transport links to and within St Andrews – including lobbying for a new train line to the town and emphasising the importance of “student power” within the University.
The manifesto says that Mr Popovic will lobby the University to continually construct afforable accommodation at a proportional rate with the rest of the accommodation it builds. The manifesto also promises to encourage the University to replace Albany Park (which is in the process of redevelopment and is currently the least expensive student hall and the only affordable accommodation in St Andrews for many students) with more affordable accommodation.
Mr Popovic has also pledged to try and restore the rail link to St Andrews as well as reducing the number of cars that pass through the town each day.
The Serbian activist’s manifesto also promises to “create a public forum outside of the Union for politically active societies to better coordinate their efforts” and “allow for a more flexible forum for debate outside of the Union.”
It also promises to support student interests on issues such as study spaces, sexual and mental health provision, and Brexit.