SSC Debates Officer

Hi! I'm Zaine Mansuralli, your Debates Officer for 2020/21.

debates@

Zaine Mansuralli, SSC Debates Officer

About my position

I organise weekly public debates – formerly in Parliament Hall and now on YouTube – and oversee the general running of the Union Debating Society, which also offers competitive debate workshops, national and international competitions, and weekly socials.

How my position affects you

The SSC Debates Officer is ultimately responsible for the speakers and topics of public debates, and making sure the Debates Board delivers the best experience for the student body.

About me

I’m passionate about promoting discourse, whether through organising UDS public debates, encouraging people to try out competitive debating or pontificating about Star Trek or Roman politics over a pint. I'm a fourth year studying Ancient History, with a particular focus on Roman politics and strategy, and I'm from Pinner in Middlesex, England. I look forward to meeting many of you at UDS events throughout this year!

Groups I lead

I'm President of Union Debating Society, which means I lead the Board of Fifteen. I also sit on the SSC, Museums Advisory Panel, and Association Executive Committee.

My manifesto pledges

Through reaching out to contacts I’ve built with sponsors and alumni, I’ll bring an unprecedented increase in our connections. I’ll plan debates and send invitations a semester beforehand to make sure that every event has exciting speakers. I’ll increase collaboration with other societies so we can bring better speakers to everyone.

The UDS should provide a space where all voices can be part of the conversation, particularly those underrepresented in our society. I will hold debates and panels that discuss issues that are important to marginalised groups and that reflect the international makeup of St Andrews, and increase diversity in speaker recruitment.

I will create an Equity Officer position on the Board of Ten promote inclusivity and accessibility at UDS events, to serve as a dedicated point of contact for these issues and provide education to allow the discussion of sensitive topics respectfully.

I will hold debate workshops for anyone without previous experience. Having come to St Andrews from a state comprehensive without any opportunity to learn debating, I understand how intimidating it can be to start debating at university. By holding specific workshops to build confidence we can make debating more accessible and widen access to underrepresented groups.

High profile speakers have experiences that go beyond any single motion; they often want to speak without restrictions on time or topic currently imposed by the debate format. I will reform single speaker events and panels to attract leading figures to St Andrews for you to challenge and question.