Glasgow University Rectorial Election

7 Feb

I have been nominated for the position of Rector at Glasgow University by the Glasgow University Yes Society, which campaigns for Scottish independence on campus. I plan to run on a platform of reining in senior management pay, promoting gender equality on campus and upholding the rights of immigrant and refugee students. You can read my full manifesto below and follow my campaign on Facebook and Twitter, or get in touch via email at bissett4rector@gmail.com
The election will be conducted electronically over two days from Monday 17 February until 4 pm on Tuesday 18 February 2014.

Manifesto

I’m thrilled to be standing to become the next Rector of Glasgow University, a fantastic institution which makes a great contribution to Scotland and to the world. My first and foremost priority as Rector would be to actively represent the interests of students on campus. I want to hold regular surgeries, aiming to have a surgery at least every three weeks, with dates of surgeries set out far in advance so that students know when they can come to me for advice or to air their concerns.

As Rector, one of my main aims would be to improve gender equality on campus and make Glasgow more inclusive. It’s striking that less than 25% of members of the University Court are women, which is below even the poor national average. For a body responsible for governing the University, the fact that it is so unrepresentative of the student population is unacceptable. If elected Rector, I want to use my position to pressure the University to change this, and would aim to get at least 40% of University Court members to be female by 2017. I want to support the Glasgow University Union in implementing the findings of its independent review, which discovered sexist practices, and work alongside the Union to make it more inclusive. I’m also interested in looking at how we can encourage more female participation in classes and tutorials. As a former tutor at Glasgow, I saw first-hand that male students were often more likely to participate in tutorials than female students. There’s no easy way to alter this situation, but if elected Rector I would want to hold discussions with academic staff and student bodies on how to change this. Finally, I think it’s important that we look at reforming the nomination procedure for Rector. The fact that all four candidates for Rector at a university with a predominantly female student population are male is quite an anomaly, and whilst I asked the University to extend the nomination deadline so that a female candidate could be nominated, this was not permitted. I’d be looking to change the nomination process to ensure a greater gender balance in future.

At a time when University staff are facing a real terms wage cut, I don’t think senior management should be awarding themselves substantial pay increases on their already-immense pay packets. As Rector, I would seek to use my position on the University Court to pressure senior management to show pay restraint in solidarity with staff.

I also want to help student asylum seekers and refugees to feel welcome coming to study here, and to stand up for their right to come and study in this amazing city. In doing so, I think it’s important that I listen to student asylum seekers and refugees, as well as groups such as GU Amnesty International, Student Action for Refugees and Crossing Borders, to find out what I can do as Rector to help.
I’d like to see the University add its support to the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, and to review its procurement procedures to ensure that it isn’t sourcing electronic goods produced with conflict minerals, particularly from the war-torn Congo. Since 1996, the International Rescue Committee has calculated that approximately 5.4 million people in the Congo have died from war-related causes. Further to this, the trade in conflict minerals earns armed militia groups, some of those behind the worst human rights violations in the conflict, tens of millions of pounds a year. It is crucial that the University acts as a voice to pressure its suppliers to source their raw materials ethically in order to stop groups like these profiteering from violence and suffering.

Finally, I will do my best to support arts activities on campus, whether these are theatre groups, creative writing magazines or live music nights. These things, after all, form the lifeblood of a thriving student experience.

February Dates & Ban This Filth!

3 Feb

This month I’ll be out and about on:

February 6th (Thurs) @ Gordon Street, Glasgow.  Selling The Big Issue as part of The Big Sell-Off to help raise money for the International Network of Street Papers. More details and info on how to donate are available here.
February 28th (Fri) @ Lochside House. Performing Ban This Filth! for New Cumnock Burns Club. More details to follow.

And this April Ban This Filth! will be at The Arches as part of Behaviour from April 9th (Wed) to April 11th (Fri). Tickets are £12/10 and available here.

The Big Sell-Off

30 Jan

At 12pm on the 6th of February, I will be selling The Big Issue for one hour on  Gordon Street, Glasgow as part of the first-ever Big Sell-Off.

Organised by Glasgow-based charity INSP (International Network of Street Papers) and The Big Issue, The Big Sell-Off aims to raise awareness of homelessness, boost Big Issue vendor morale and sales and raise funds for both INSP and The Big Issue.

Over 20 celebrities, CEOs, media executives and government ministers will be involved in the event, trying their hand at selling The Big Issue on the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh. You can see a full list of everyone involved here.

The money raised will go towards INSP’s work supporting street papers around the world to start up, grow and develop so that they can provide homeless and unemployed people with a way to earn an income and improve their lives. It will also help The Big Issue to provide winter clothes and essentials to support its vendors at a particularly hard time of year. Please support this valuable work by donating through my JustGiving page here.

January Dates

2 Jan

Come kick start your 2014 with me on:

Jan 8th (Wed) @ The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow. With Adam Stafford and Kim Moore. Ticket price (£5) includes supper and live entertainment between 7pm and 10pm.
Jan 22nd (Wed) @ The Glad Cafe, Glasgow. Independence Live presents: Project Fearty. A presentation & Q&A on Scotland’s Independence for the fence sitters, the mibbies & those who like being ruled by Westminster!
Jan 25th (Sat) @ SWG3, Glasgow. Guy’s Charity Burns Night. All proceeds go to the Scottish Cot Death Trust and you can book your ticket here.

A.x

Ban This Filth! London premier

31 Oct

Ban This Filth! heads to Camden for its London premier on:

November 5th (Tues) @ Camden People’s Theatre. Part of Calm Down, Dear: a festival of feminism. Double bill tickets are available for Ban This Filth! & Pretty Ugly at £15 / 12. Please note, these tickets are only available on the door.

Ban This Filth!

“Andrea Dworkin: radical feminist.  Alan Bissett: man.  One stage.  Bissett plays ‘himself’, telling stories from his own life, with a penis, and Dworkin, one of the most controversial women in history, who has a few things to say to him. Expect laughter, Led Zeppelin, and a live ‘reconditioning’ of a man who’s had it all too easy. Until now.”

Shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

**** 4 stars (selected as Hot Show) ‘The brilliant Scottish writer Alan Bissett … What’s striking is the grace and discipline … He is eloquent and very funny … Bold in his use of audience participation and physical theatre … Oddly magnificent.’ – Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

***** 5 stars ‘an incredible piece’ – Three Weeks

**** 4 stars ‘genuinely fascinating exploration of feminism, pornography, and the ingrained individualism we plant into issues which stretch far beyond just ourselves’ – National Collective

Ban This Filth! in Dundee

7 Oct

For those of you who didn’t catch it at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Ban This Filth! is coming to Dundee on:

October 26th (Sat) @ Bonar Hall, University of Dundee. As part of the Dundee Literary Festival. Tickets are £3 and available here.

A.x

Ban This Filth! Dates

4 Sep

If you missed Ban This Filth! at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe you can catch it again on:

September 20th (Fri) @ The Scottish Storytelling Centre. Fundraiser for the Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre. Tickets are £12 and available here.
October 5th (Sat) @ McNeillie Tent, Wigtown Book Festival. Tickets are £7 and available here.
October 26th (Sat) @ Bonar Hall, University of Dundee. Part of the Dundee Literary Festival. Tickets are £3 and available here.

I’ll also be performing Stand Up Literature on September 16th (Mon) @ The Moray Book Festival. Tickets are £3 and available here.

A.x

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