ABOUT ME

Photo of Siyang Wei, the new Access, Education and Participation Officer for postgraduate students.Facebook | Twitter

Describe your role at Cambridge SU:

Many things, as you can probably tell from the title. I work closely with my undergraduate counterpart to represent students across the University in discussions about access and widening participation for disadvantaged students, and the education students undertake here. We also lead on the University’s academic rep system, work with JCR and MCR Access officers, and collaborate with grassroots student organising – generally, making sure the SU is able to empower students at every level when it comes to these issues. My job is also, of course, to raise the issues and perspectives of postgraduate students specifically – which means a lot of scope for new and exciting projects.

 

Why did you run for the role?

As an MPhil student this year, I became acutely aware of how little attention is generally paid to access and participation for postgraduate students, who are often understood by universities primarily as sources of income. This has an impact not only on postgraduate students as students, but higher education as a whole, given that steep barriers to participation in postgraduate study preclude the possibility of an academic career for the vast majority of people. While this problem can never be truly resolved without wholesale transformation of the higher education sector (and the economy and society more broadly), the creation of this position within Cambridge SU excited me because it is at least an opportunity to bring these issues to the forefront of the University’s agenda. 

What are your top priorities for the year?

A big issue for postgraduates is money. Particularly in light of the uncertainty around funding as a result of the pandemic, I will focus on the financial security of current and prospective graduate students: protecting and promoting existing sources of funding, and expanding plans for funding specifically directed at disadvantaged postgraduate students. I will also prioritise working with UCU to ensure fair treatment of staff, of whom postgraduate students are some of the least-protected and worst-paid. The pandemic should not be an opportunity for further precaritisation, as it has been in many institutions across the country.

What did you study?

Sociology at Newnham College

What do you do when you’re not at Cambridge SU?

Reading speculative fiction, watching video essays, playing board games and card games (and also D&D), listening to and occasionally recording podcasts. Going outside and hanging out with friends when that is allowed again.

Favourite place in Cambridge

The Thai van in the market, for a delicious lunch. I’d recommend the number 6 with green curry and steamed rice.

WHAT I'M WORKING ON AND LATEST UPDATES

 

MY MANIFESTO & ACCOUNTABILITY documents

Manifesto - Designed | Plain text