Melody Stephen

After George Floyd’s recent killing, and in the midst of a global pandemic and socio-political instability around the world, students’ voices have not been heard. Our prime minister does not acknowledge our specific struggles and the university leadership has made decisions that have further alienated us. It has taken a pandemic to expose the university’s lack of proper structures to cater for every voice and background represented among students. A  lack of diversity in levels of decision making means that those most affected by the pandemic have been left behind. So I am running to ensure a greater voice for ALL University of Manchester students. We deserve to be heard and catered for in our learning  environment, especially at an unprecedented time like this.

About me 

Hi! My name is Melody and I am a 4th year Law with International Study student. I am the chair of Urban Lawyers North, a society that helps to increase diversity in the legal profession. I am also a researcher in the Teach Black Studies campaign which aims to decolonise the curriculum here at Manchester. I have played basketball for 11 years and currently play for the university’s first team. 

Other qualifications/positions: 

  • Certified Mediator 
  • Manchester University law society diversity representative  
  • International students division editor (australia)  
  • University of Manchester – Widening Participations Student Ambassador 

So, why me for General Secretary?

As General Secretary of the university I aim to allow all students to have equal opportunity to excel and thrive through 5 proposals I will outline below.

Transparency in diversity

Improving transparency is incredibly important as it requires students and faculty to be aware of how far the university is failing in areas of diversity, welfare and student support.  


  • the removal of the annual ‘BAME’ report and replacing this with the breakdown of each ethnic group separately to allow true representation. 
  •  Remodelling of the diversity report to include  
  • an LGBTQIA + report with a comprehensive community breakdown as opposed to lumping all identities together.  
  • A more in depth audit into disabilities, categorised into subheadings under mental and physical health.  
  • Audits into the experiences of students in care, students who have care responsibilities and students from low income backgrounds will be fully explored  
  • Counselling services must include a greater percentage people from underrepresented backgrounds  
  • The university must decolonise the curriculum 

Sexual health and safety (Trigger warning: Sexual abuse) 

Sexual violence, especially amongst women, has been a long standing issue. The university’s response on this has been late and often inadequate. At the end  of the first semester of my first year,  I knew 5 women who had been assaulted and not one had reported the experience. 


  • The university needs to take ownership of the part it needs to play to reduce sexual violence across all campuses. 
  • One way to do this is to upgrade the UOM app so any students who feel in danger can click on a distress button which will alert nearby authorities.  
  • There should be an extra featured button on the counselling website to report a rape  

Pandemic plans

The pandemic has brought unforeseen circumstances like never before to the university. However, rather incredibly, students have paid a huge price when the university should have instead protected them. Students should not be fenced into their accommodations, students should not have to protest in a pandemic and no student at all should have a stunted learning process due to lack of access.


  • Implement a technology fund at the university  
  • students should be reimbursed for unused accommodation 
  • First year students should receive more support to deal with the lack of sociability  
  • Final year students should receive staggered graduation ceremonies if missed.  

Post pandemic priorities

Whilst we have proposed Boris’ road map to look forward to, many will have gone through a traumatising and difficult time during the pandemic and I am to make the return back to university as smooth and as considerate as possible.


  •  I will lobby for the university to keep the current mitigating circumstances and extension guidelines even after all students are back to allow room for those who might struggle with adjustments or are still grieving.  
  • student bursaries should be available for accommodation as many students and their parents will have unfortunately found themselves with added financial burdens even after the pandemic.  

Manchester is a vibrant, diverse, caring, fun and resilient community. This university is the heart of so many of our personal developmental journeys and I will ensure that the university supports instead of hinders this. 

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