03 August | 08:33:12
Scotland's Student Newspaper
CitySA president silent as unanswered questions mount
Mark Farmer could face no confidence vote, as fiasco over liberation representation rumbles on
Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 | 11:00

Under-fire City of Glasgow College Students' Association president Mark Farmer remains silent over his stance to oppress liberation executives.

As The Journal exclusively revealed, Farmer had rejected the creation of liberation executive positions at CitySA in favour of two general equalities positions.

Despite a notable "key concept" in his presidential manifesto to create a united college so "segregation is no longer a problem", students have accused him of failing to live up to that promise by making them feel isolated within the association.

One student at the college, who declined to be identified, told The Journal that Farmer appears to have "done nothing to help students since taking office and by not supporting liberation I feel more isolated than before."

Instead of actively discussing liberation executives with students, The Journal understands that the association has failed to return follow-up enquiries from a number of students and the Liberate Us campaign group.

Another student, Paul Hale, said: "His manifesto says he wants a united college, but how are we going to be united if he is denying representation to all students?

"I have emailed the president and staff members at college, but they are ignoring me and I know this is the same with friends who have also tried to speak to the college about this.

"I love being a part of a college community and had heard good things about City of Glasgow and their student community, but already I do not feel welcome at the college and wish I had gone elsewhere."

The Liberate Us campaign group, which is fighting to have liberation representation on the students' association executive, is also growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of communication from the Townhead base of CitySA.

After Liberate Us contacted the presidential team to discuss their concerns about lack of liberation representation, a response from Farmer a week later than requested failed to address the issue.

Farmer said: "I would be delighted if City of Glasgow College students wish to set up a variety of liberation groups associated with CitySA and would be happy to talk to individual current students on this in the coming weeks."

Another of Farmer's manifesto pledges was to "create a student executive who mingle with students, create relations so they are at the forefront of the students needs, I wish for an open door policy so we can respond quickly and efficiently."

Despite his statement, students have said what Farmer has said he would do in his manifesto and public statement is not the reality, with the association pandering to college managers.

Another student who refused to be named over fears of reprisals told The Journal: "Three months after taking up his post, the CitySA president has failed to heed the advice of the previous executive and listen to the requests of students in creating a more-inclusive executive. The only leadership is clearly from college staff."

That view was backed up by a former association executive who said: "I went to the office the other day and to me it looks like they're taking orders off management."

Campaigners in favour of liberation executive positions have said that Farmer's conduct will be raised at class representative meetings, and are working towards forcing a referendum by securing 200 signatures from college students.

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