YUSU Elections 2016: Women’s Officer Candidates – Rosie Rhodes and Joanie Hutchinson-Ross

Credit: YUSU
Credit: YUSU

Rosie Rhodes (right) and Joanie Hutchinson-Ross (left) are running for the position of Women’s Officers. They both have formidable experience as committee members of FemSoc, LQBTQ and the Women’s Network.

Tell us a bit about yourselves.

We’re both currently in our 3rd year, and are going on to study Postgraduate courses at the Centre for Women’s studies next year! Rosie currently studies Psychology in Education, and Joanie studies Linguistics. Until this year, neither of us had gotten involved with a lot on campus, but this year we’ve been actively involved in the Women’s Network, LGBTQ and FemSoc, and sit on all three committees – we actually feel this is where we’re uniquely qualified amongst all the candidates for the roles, as we have been involved with the liberation networks already, so have a strong basis moving forward.

Why were you inspired to run for the position?

As mentioned above, it wasn’t until this year that we became actively involved in campus politics and liberation, and so our interest definitely only came about this year. We’re both part of what you might call some of the ‘oppressed’ groups on campus – we’re both LGBTQ, women and disabled students, so we’ve seen first-hand the effect that having someone on your side can have. Seeing some of the great work the Part Time Officers have done this year, we want to be part of that, and to be that person that is maybe on your side when you don’t feel anybody else is.

Why do you think you are the right candidates for the role?

We definitely think the fact that we have been part of the Women’s Network and on the committee of the network for the last 5 months gives us an edge over our opponents. We already know what is going on in the Network, and where the main issues lie and need to be addressed – and this is reflected in our policies. We’re the best candidates for the role because we understand the issues that women face on campus, and can go forward with campaigns and initiatives to tackle these problems. We want to expand the network, and reach out to more students to ensure that everyone feels represented – at the moment our meetings are very small and we’d love to make them a lot bigger!

Which of your policies are you most excited about?

The policy we’re probably most excited about implementing is working alongside Unity Health and the Open Door team in order to improve mental and physical health provisions on campus. We’re most excited about this one because Unity Health seems to be the thing that most Full Time Officers and Part Time Officers have tried to tackle in the past few years, and still not too much progress has been made. We’d love to be the ones to change that! We want a better chain of referral for students with mental health difficulties – Open Door is working above and beyond its capacity and it is simply not fit for purpose. We also want to put greater support in place for students thinking of taking a Leave of Absence, AND for students who are currently away on a Leave Of Absence. At present, support seems to stop the minute a student leaves campus, and that shouldn’t be the case – we want to make lasting links with Unity Health and the Open Door team to ensure every student feels they have the support they need.

Who is your biggest competition?

Both pose quite a challenge. They’re both great candidates, and we do agree with and like a lot of their policies. To be honest, we were quite shocked that the position was contested as they both seemed to kind of ‘come out of the woodwork’ somewhat, as we’d never come across them at network meetings. But they’re definitely serious contenders! I don’t think either in particular worry us so to speak, but I definitely think we’ll have to work hard if we want to win, and it’s definitely not a one horse race!

Are you backing anybody for YUSU President and if so why?

We’re backing Ananna! She (along with Katie) is one of the reasons we were inspired to take on this role in the first place, and it would be so great to see her go on to be President! She’s subject to a lot of bad press, but her policies are fantastic, and she genuinely cares about the University – we think she’d be fantastic.

Is there anything else you would like to say to potential voters?

I think something we’d like to mention is that our policies are of course just a starting point! There are many more things we’d love to achieve if elected, but we do think we, out of all the candidates, have the most realistic and achievable policies, and have a very firm idea in our head of how we can achieve them! And remember: a vote for Roanie is a vote for Rabbits! Thanks!


Voting is now open and will close on the 19th of February.

Interview conducted by Matthew Edwards.

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Laura Cox

News Editor 2015/2016.