Election responses from Edison Ponari and Hannah Gordon:
Question 1: As President, what would be your key policy focus? In practical terms, how would you bring this about?
My key policy focus is on the space around MLS. It centres upon making MLS an environment where everyone feels empowered and supported to achieve their goals.
My specific focus on social space is centred around providing recreational areas where we can interact with one another in comfortable and relaxed environments, allowing for an escape from the more intense spaces like the library or the classroom. This will take the shape of advocating for Level 1 to be turned into more of a recreational space where students can lounge and hangout.
Study space is about providing as many facilities as possible so that we have every opportunity to work towards achieving our goals whether they be academic, winning an LSS or external competition or any other endeavour. I will push for more dedicated spaces for JD students, starting by advocating to faculty to make Level 5 discussion rooms for JD students only.
Finally, safe space is about creating an environment where students feel encouraged and comfortable to discuss challenges that they may facing throughout the JD. I will tackle this two-fold. Firstly, by providing fortnightly open-door consultations where anyone can come and discuss their ideas or concerns. Secondly, through creating more accessible avenues for students to obtain support. Our paths, goals and interests may be different, but I want to create an environment where we can work together to overcome the challenges we may be going through in this degree.
My key focus as President would be to work towards making the law school a more accessible, equitable and supportive space. Practically, there are a number of initiatives that I believe would best bring about these changes.
I want to work with other student bodies and faculty to continue the campaign for lecture recordings. Beyond this students also need to have more control over their course structure and be better informed about the control they currently have.
Mental health support also needs to be a continued focus of the LSS. To ensure this is done more than just symbolically I want to learn from those already working in this space and continue to develop strategies around removing stigma and providing effective support. I also want to ensure that directors of the LSS have mental health first aid training and are informed of the appropriate services to direct students to in times of need.
Question 2: What do you see as being the special value of the LSS, as distinct from the role of other student groups?
HG: As the official student representative body at the law school the LSS has the scope, but more importantly the responsibility, to represent the entire student body. The scale of contact the LSS has with students means that it can directly affect the experiences of those undertaking this degree in a way that no other student organisation can. This is achieved through the social and educational events it organises, the competitions it runs and the support it provides to students.
The LSS’ unique standing within the law school enables it to advocate for structural changes at the University, either independently or in conjunction with other student bodies.
EP: Student groups have an important role to play in life at the Law School. The special value of the LSS is centred upon it representing all students at MLS and the impact it has on student’s university life.
It interacts with the diverse student body through its social events, competitions, equity initiatives and representative portfolios. The opportunities that the LSS provides for students creates a social and collaborative environment where students can grow not only as future professionals but also as people. Its unique platform as a representative body for all students allows it to have a strong advocacy role for both the larger student body but also individuals or groups within the cohort.
Question 3: What should the student body expect of the LSS? Are you able to deliver on those expectations, and if so, why?
EP: Students expect the LSS to be an approachable and representative organisation that provides them with a Law School experience outside the classroom. This involves not only collaboration within the LSS to effectively run its programs, but also engagement with the student body to understand its needs.
Delivering on these expectations depends on proactive engagement with the student body. Students should feel welcomed and an active LSS member even if they’re not on the committee. My focus on space aims to not only meet pragmatic needs of students, but also aims at creating an environment where communicating with students is encouraged and actively sought.
Thank you for reading and please vote!
HG: The student body should expect the LSS to actively endeavour to represent the needs and wants of the diverse students of the law school. The leaders of the LSS cannot only represent themselves or the voices of a vocal few, but must also be advocates for those students whose voices are not always heard.
I understand that structural barriers prevent many students from engaging and thriving in this space. More needs to be done to reduce these barriers. This is why the LSS has to do everything it can to provide accessible means for students to communicate their wants and needs relating to this institution and the LSS itself.
I am aware that my view on key issues is only one perspective, directly shaped by my own experiences, and that I cannot speak for the entirety of the student population. This is why as President one of my key aims would be to speak and listen to as many students as possible to be the best advocate I can. Only through active communication can we continue to develop strategies for the LSS to be as effective a representative body for the broadest range of students. My awareness of this and desire to listen and learn from others places me in a position to be able to uphold this responsibility of the LSS.