“Guys, guys, guys. I just fucking love this fucking university. Get in!” screamed Rich Croker to a jubilant Derwent home crowd on Friday night, as he overcame Colin Hindson to be named as York Students’ Union President 2006/07.
Croker’s campaign was built on the idea that York University should be “for students not conferences,” a policy that appears more important than ever, considering the challenges faced by the University’s expansion into Heslington East and their failure to provide satisfactory accommodation for 2nd and 3rd years. He highlights his election aim to ensure that “current student facilities are not sacrificed in the desire for improved conference facilities”: again, particularly apt at a time when college bars are facing their most sustained threat.
Main rival Colin Hindson was the candidate Croker classed as the “favourite” and he praised his closest competitor, whom he beat by only 33 votes, for his “strength in organisation of events.”
“My strength lies in the coordination and representation of groups, and we have worked well together over the past year. If I didn’t win then I honestly wanted Colin to.”
When asked about the effects of the University’s proposed Heslington East expansion, Croker said that even though the expansion is a “good thing,” he wants to prevent Heslington East from becoming “a conference park.” Other priority campaigns were a call for more involvement in external SU affairs, such as the National Top-Up Fees campaign, and producing an SU cookbook which would aim to introduce cheap and easy nutritional meals into the student diet.
Croker, who grew up in a rural village in Buckinghamshire and attended Grammar School, claims not to have any political allegiances. “To put politics into the Students’ Union is wrong, and something I would ensure doesn’t happen this year. I think a Students’ Union which works for students rather than political benefit is what I believe.” He added that the only political belief he feels strongly in is the benefits of single sex education.
He also defended his experience record, claiming “if I honestly believed someone else could do the job better, I wouldn’t have run. I do believe I’m the best person for the post.
“What I have done in the past has made a difference. I haven’t taken one central route which means I’ve seen a lot of different areas of student life, including RAG, Student Action and the Athletic Union.”
When asked to elaborate on his profession of love for his University whilst making his victory speech, he chuckled. “Because York is small, it has such a great feeling and I think it’s good that everyone knows everyone. There is a lot more potential to be released in York, and I think this will be a great experience both for me and for the Students’ Union.”