Candidate for the position of President



Democracy - Transparency - Accountability

"My name is Jake Painter and In my time at Essex university I have been an active member of the uni and Students Union alike. From being an active member of Student Parliament, working on campaigns, working within the SU's retail department for 3 years, and being a course rep I know the Students Union and uni inside out.

My desire to run for President is to change it and reform it for the better. Over the years having worked and been involved within the SU, I have seen the need for greater democratic oversight, the need to give more power in the hands of students and make them feel as though they have an SU that truly serves them. From having various discussions with students, there is a deep sense of apathy and disenchantment. Many students feel as though that the democratic process within the SU is all for show and the elected officials that they vote for do not have any significant say in how the SU is run. As president, I have the best chance to influence the strategy and direction of the SU and need someone who has the will and desire to fight for the interests of students. I feel I am the one to do this and is why I'm standing to be your future president.

Fundamentally, students should vote for me based on my record. In my time as a member of Student parliament I have always fought more democracy within the SU and fought against any attempts to undermine accountability within the SU. My biggest victory in parliament was removing the policy of no manifestos for sabbatical elections. During the Sab elections of 2018/2019, there was a lot of rightful anger that those running for Sab positions could not run on policies or manifestos, as it made it impossible to differentiate between candidates and reinforced the idea that those elected for Sab positions were merely frontmen. I then worked with those within the SU and Student Parliament to come to a workable compromise that allows candidates for Sab positions to have manifestos based around set questions, which is how this election is being run on.

I have also fought for increasing the strength of Student Parliament itself, putting forward two motions to give campaign financing (as you do with Sab elections) for those running for Parliament and setting a permanent timetable for parliamentary elections (which will be at the start of summer term). Being unsuccessful in the former but successful in the latter. Finally, I put forward a successful motion through to student parliament to allow parliament to call referendums. I also fought against the abolition of VP Services and Communities. As someone who had worked within the SU, I felt and still feel that it is a step backwards to take away proper democratic oversight of services within the SU.

My record for fighting for students doesn't begin and end with student parliament however. As a course rep for the History Department, I successfully fought for there to be a student survey to see what sort of history modules students would like to see in the future. Which, as far as student surveys go had a very good response rate. And as member of the retail department I was known for sticking up for my peers whenever needed. In my second year I helped form and campaign for the successful "Essex Leaves NUS" campaign that saw us disaffiliate from the National Union of Students. Two big reasons for this campaign was so that the SU could spend the money it sends to the NUS on Essex students instead, and also because it was apparent at the time that the NUS was not a conducive body that was adequately fighting for the interests of students. 


As alluded to before, I will represent students by giving more power to them. The best way to represent students is to rebuild the faith in the democratic process within the SU and reinvigorate students belief that their say really matters This means strengthening the democratic bodies within the SU such as parliament and supporting many of the recommendations proposed by our Union Chairman Mark Kiley in his recent Democratic review. These measures include but not limited to:

  • Creating a committee structure within Parliament where scrutiny of Sabbs and policy takes place
  • Working with other Students’ Unions to establish how to improve engagement in Student Parliament? elections?
  • Giving the power to Student Parliament to alter our Articles of Governance, subject to quoracy? requirements?
  • Federalise parliament so that big decisions made have the approval of all three campuses 


What I hope this all demonstrates as well is that I have the skills to make sure I represent students and can be conducive to implementing the big plan for next year. I have many years of experience working with different people and groups to achieve a common goal and that experience will be invaluable if I am elected your SU president."