Claire Sosienski Smith
My job at CUSU is to organise the Women’s Campaign. This takes many forms, from running social events to lobbying the university, and emerges from a whole history of Cambridge excluding and erasing the achievements, emotions and literal presence of women and non-binary people from its many halls.
I ran for CUSU Women’s Officer because I think a lot about what representation and liberation means in a university where marketization drives fees up and treats each student as if they are consumers; where government policy like the Prevent duty disproportionately affects Muslim students; and sexual harassment is often part of the collegiate culture while the processes through which to launch complaints remain inaccessible, overly legalistic and devoid of care. I felt prepared through my undergraduate student activism to come into this role and make as much positive change in this university as I can.
My priority for the year is to disrupt the neoliberal feminist narrative that locates change within the individual by focusing on only certain white and cisgendered bodies. I want to campaign for material gains that will improve the lives of all women and non-binary people, such as reforming the trans admission policies at women colleges and the current disciplinary procedures so they actually support those who report incidents of sexual misconduct. I want to raise awareness about the struggle for free education because women and non-binary people, particularly women and non-binary people of colour, are disproportionately affected by the increasing marketization of higher education.
Studied: English at Selwyn College
What do you do when you’re not at CUSU?
I read tarot cards, watch adventure time and think a lot about people’s star signs.
Favourite place in Cambridge?
The CUSU/GU lounge on 17 Mill Lane. I still remember trying to find it for the first womcam forum in my first year! It’s tucked away, but well worth discovering to meet students who will be into the same stuff as you are.