Student Union President who made graduation fees “a thing of the past” to vie for second term

19 February 2019

Matt Crilly, the University of Strathclyde student union president, has exclusively told The Glasgow Sloth that he will bid for re-election.

The union president made the headlines in early February 2019 for spearheading the #gradfees campaign that secured a win for University of Strathclyde students by abolishing graduation fees at the institution. Students at the university previously had to pay £35 to attend the ceremony and £20 if they graduate in absentia.

The news was received with excitement and relief, especially by the students graduating in 2019. The call to have the #gradfees scrapped started in November 2018 at a meeting with the student experience committee.

After conducting an online poll and circulating a petition, a viral video Crilly and other union representatives created for the campaign was essentially the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to the major announcement by the University.

In an exclusive interview with The Glasgow Sloth on 5 February 2019 just a day after the announcement, Crilly revealed that he would bid for re-election as president for a second year, the maximum term allowed under the union’s regulations.

He said: “I’m not sure I’m publicly allowed to say that now, but, yes, I’ll go for a second term.”

Nothando Celiwe an international student doing her Master’s in electrical engineering at the University of Strathclyde said that the student union under Crilly’s leadership has been impactful. “Since I joined in September 2018, Matt has been quite hands-on and has always managed to come back to us with results, getting the university to change or improve in the different areas that affect us. I feel there are still more initiatives to be done and it will be great if he runs again to deliver on them.”

Part of the initiatives Crilly wants to champion in the coming year if re-elected is “Wednesday Afternoons Free” to ensure no classes are scheduled on Wednesday after 12pm. This is something that has the backing of the Sports Union, as most sports competitions are scheduled on Wednesday afternoons. Crilly sees this as a wider campaign to advocate for intentional extra curriculum time for students during the week.

“We’ve currently had a policy at the university where classes are not supposed to be scheduled on Wednesday after twelve but it’s not really been enforced, it’s not really been taken on seriously and it impacts all the sports people.” said Crilly.

The 2019/2020 Strath Union student elections are slated for 5 March 2019 with 21 posts up for election.

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