Tareq Sydiq

Interview

What is your background?

I have been Student Rep for my course and I have been active politically with Amnesty International, environmentalist and anti-racist groups in Bonn, Germany.

What are the two most pressing issues facing students on campus today?

With tuitions extremely high, education at SOAS is in danger of becoming a business rather than dedication which is expressed, for example, through grading.

Similarly important is the university’s stance on new technologies – SOAS still uses gmail, with all the privacy and big data problems that accompany this. Meanwhile, more and more functions, like grading and choosing classes, are transferred to online systems, while neglecting problems that arise with it.

What are your top priorities in this role?

As Co-president of democracy and education, the main priority would be improving the representation system. Apart from that, and improvement to privacy and investment innew technologies, as that is a field where a lot can be achieved.

How can the union improve as an organisation representing such a diverse group of students?

The union as it is does a pretty good job at representing students. The main issue would be more information on what the union does and how involvement can improve life for students.

What is the most important quality for a member of the union executive to have?

Determination to get things done.

How would you increase student participation in union proceedings? [i.e. UGMs, elections etc.]

Through more broadcasting information on what the Union does, mainly on the homepage. An issue mentioned quite often is the overload of emails from SOAS institutions, so prioritization of information through emails would also help. SOAS offers a lot of ways to get involved – so many that it is easy to get lost in the beginning, so increasing student participation will ultimately mean walking around campus and asking the right questions.

If you could invite any three people (alive or dead) to a party, who would they be?

Emma Goldman who knows how to party, Mr Meursault who will appreciate absurdity, and Edward Said, if you have Meursault, you need Said.

Post Author: Jonny Morrison

Jonny Morrison is the News Editor at The SOAS Spirit. @jonnysmorrison

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