Your Committee

 

Chair

Graham Rimmer

Hi There! My name is Graham and I am the current Chair of PLEXUS.  I am also one of the three founding members of the Group – the first time there has been a Group within the OU Students Association for LGBT+ students, staff and alumni.

 

I have just completed my BA (HONS) in Business Studies (December 2016) and I have already pre-registered to continue on my journey with the Open University by completing a Master’s Degree in Education specialising in Leadership and Management.

 

My journey with the OU Students Association started just prior to the 2014 Biennial Conference by organising meet ups with my tutor groups at the time and then expanding those to regional meet-ups in Manchester when I could.  I am currently the North West representative on the Senate Reference Group and one of the student members of the Business Board of Studies representing the views of students at committees alongside associate lecturers, module chairs and other senior colleagues within the Faculties.

 

During the 2016 Conference in Milton Keynes along with Nicholas (another founding member) and Alex, our current co-opted Secretary, we decided to reignite the LGBT+ Society and PLEXUS was formed.  Although Nicholas is no longer with the Group their legacy lives on through the hard work in developing the look and feel of the Group and most importantly our constitution.

 

In my role as Chair I have overall responsibility for PLEXUS and its operation (yes, here is the formal bit), organisation and success.  This is achieved by representing PLEXUS nationally within the OU Students Association, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) and the wider Open University.  The Chair is a member of the Inclusion Committee alongside the Chair of the Disabled Students Group.  The Inclusion Committee is headed up by the Vice-President Equal Opportunities – the only OU committee chaired by a student.

 

Along with the rest of the PLEXUS Committee I look forward to continuing with the development of PLEXUS for you, our members.  If you have any questions or ideas, please do feel free to contact me.


Pronouns - He/Him

 

Secretary

Alex Phennah

Hello! My name is Alex and I am the current co-opted secretary of PLEXUS, and am a founding member of the group. I have been studying with the Open University now for three years. So just about half way into my degree. I am studying with the aim of getting a degree in Psychology with Counselling, the actual end-result, well, only time will tell!


I identify as a queer man, this may be a contentious term for some but I personally feel it is a better identity for me than any other term. I am passionate about the LGBT+ community and have marched for same-sex marriage with the Quakers (I am a lapsed attender if you wanted to know), and I was formerly active within the UNISON LGBT members when working in the education sector.


When I met with other students at the last Open University Student Association Conference we were inspired to drive the LGBT+ group to be affiliated, creating a formal structure with accountability, defined purpose and increased activity. By sharing the load and creating a formal team, it is our hope that the voices of LGBT+ students are represented, supported, and bring together a disparate community. Hopefully PLEXUS will be here to achieve that for many years to come!


A little bit more about me, I work in Digital Marketing and Communications and have done now for over 10 years. Currently working within the employee engagement / recognition / reward sector. I have ADHD, only diagnosed in my 30s, which coming to terms with, and having support/coping mechanisms in place, has given me a whole new lease of life. I recently moved to London from the North West, and was brought up in North Wales. I am a huge fan of TV and cinema and, if not studying, can usually be found in a museum, gallery, theatre or walking somewhere.


If you have any queries about PLEXUS, joining the group, or would like to find out about the committee please do get in touch!









Pronouns - He/Him

Your Support Officers

 

Joshua Gledhill is your Campaigns Officer.  For more information about Joshua, please visit the Campaigns page.

The Campaigns Officer will be responsible for engaging with our membership to ensure that the services we offer current and meets their needs.


The Campaigns Officer will also be responsible for our external representation and will also organise community engagement activities whether these be socials, campaigns or attending organised events such as Pride.


You can contact the campaigns officer via email on campaigns@ouplexus.co.uk





Pronouns: Any/All

 

James Murray is your Equalities & Support Officer.  For more information about James , please visit the Equalities & Support page

The Equalities & Support Officer will be responsible for the one-stop-shop solution for members accessing support within the Open University and in your local community. 


The Equalities & Support Officer will work together with the Campaigns Officer to bring together the combination of education and support across PLEXUS and beyond


You can contact the Equalities & Support Officer via email on equalities@ouplexus.co.uk






Pronouns: Any/All

 

Ana Jejina is your Women's Officer.  For more information about Ana, please visit the Equalities & Support page

The Women's Officer will be a guaranteed place for women's representation at the highest level of the Group.


The Women's Officer will support LGBT+ Women by ensuring there are support network and activities that focus on Women's right and support needs.  The Women's Officer will also support the PLEXUS Caucus Representatives in the delivery of their engagement within the local communities


You can contact the Women's Officer via email on womens@ouplexus.co.uk


Pronouns: She/Her

Your Community Representatives

 

Women's Representative

Jenna Whistlecraft

Hello! I’m Jenna, I’m 21 and I currently live in North Cumbria. I work full time as an Apprentice Training Advisor and I am about to begin my second module as part of my BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies degree!

I welcome all views and opinions as I believe that everybody should have a right to a voice no matter how big or small! I will bring an open mind and a positive outlook in my role with the aim to help create a safe and welcoming environment in which the women of Plexus can confidently express (Or debate!) any issues or concerns they may have regarding their studies or the LGBT+ community.


Pronouns: She/Her

 

Trans* Representative

Mick Stubbins

Hi I'm Mick your Trans Representative


A little bit about my background I am starting my B100 course which will take me on to a degree which will further my career in management I am employed with the NHS as a manager, I feel that I can bring my many years’ experience of people skills I have gained within the NHS to this position as many of the staff who work within my trust are Trans.


Myself I am Trans thus I feel that I can speak up on behalf of the Trans/non binary students within the OU and deal with any trans phobia issues with the utmost sensitivity  as there has long been barriers with the LGBT+ community which need to be broken down As this is a new position within PLEXUS this will be growing and new avenues will open up .


I am very passionate about getting a voice within the Open University through PLEXUS for all the Trans/non binary students who are studying who may be feeling alone and not knowing if other Trans/non binary students are out there thus may be able to help with the difficulties they are facing in there studying. I am a firm believe that in this day and age barriers should be broken and Trans students should be recognised in their current gender not there birth gender.

 

Disabled Students Representative

Andrea Porter-Collins


I'm 35 and identify as a bisexual woman. I'm in my final year of an English Language and Literature degree full time.


My background is in mental health nursing but after becoming disabled in 2014 I had to change my career plans and now I hope to become a teacher or a lecturer of Linguistics. 


Pronouns: She/Her

 

Black & Minority Ethnic Representative

Currently Vacant


If you would like to fill this vacancy please email chair@ouplexus.co.uk to register your interest. 

 

Bisexual Students Representative

Abby Foley


I am 19 years old, and live and work in the Hull area.

I am studying with the Open University ‘full time’, and I’m about to start my second year of my Criminology and Psychological Studies degree. Away from the OU, I am studying Public Services as a Level 3 Extended Diploma. I also volunteer as a uniformed adult instructor of the Army Cadet Force which I love!


In my spare time, I love to knit, colour and read – which is a variation for a 19-year-old I know! I love to study and learn new things, the dream one day is to have degrees in different things, from languages to humanities. I love meeting new people and building friendships!

 

Young Students Representative

Neil White 

I also was chosen in 2011 to lead the very ideas and words of my generation into the heart of politics through non-profit organisation, Mediatrust; speaking to Ministers and Political Party Leaders, including the former Prime Minister, David Cameron. Other experiences include being a digital champion in which I helped any age getting online.

My role also included making sure any challenges that are more specific to the younger students are voiced and recognised.

Pronouns: All/Any

 

Online Moderator

Cin McGuigan


I am Cin, your forum moderator. I currently mod a number of different forums, both regional and specialist, and bring that wealth of experience to the PLEXUS forums on the VLE.

I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife and a friend. All of those help to define who I am. I am a bi-cultural, bi-sexual woman, who has experienced negativity towards both of those aspects of my life and hope that by being a part of PLEXUS I can go some way towards making a safe, inviting community for all LGBT+ OU students

LGBT@OU

Sam & Fernando


 

VP Equal Ops (Ex-Officio)

Cherry Day


  • Started studying Open Degree (with Hons) February 2008.  2 more to go. End June 2018. 
  • Started studying because had to take early retirement – now 65 - due to diagnosis of late-onset genetically inherited Cerebellar Ataxia: a degenerative and incurable condition.Became an Association student volunteer May 2008.  Elected to Association’s Disabled Students Group Committee in that year.  Apart from Webmaster, have done every job on the Committee and twice as ‘Chair’. 

  • Elected as V P Equal Opportunities August 1, 2016
  • Other student volunteer roles include: Central Representative; South East Regional Assembly Executive member; Open University Degree Ceremony Co-ordinator and contributing to a number of online Consultative forums.

I’ve been with the OU for over 8 years now and the end is now in sight when I finally (hopefully) achieve my goal of my Open Degree with Hons in 2018.  I’ve had to take time out / defer a couple of times for health and personal reasons but I’m nearly there. That will be one of the proudest moments of my life because it hasn’t been (and still isn’t) an easy journey.  What is wonderful about the OU and the Students Association, is the amount of help and support that’s out there: whether you have a long term health condition (mental or physical); facing other obstacles to studying or not. 


Distance learning can be very isolating and challenging. Coping daily with home / life / work / health issues etc alongside study deadlines can sometimes prove overwhelming .  I’ve often thought a Degree in Time Management might be a very appropriate certificate for the O U to offer their students. ;-)  However, I’ve learned over the years that I’m not alone: not even at 3 a.m. when I’m frantically trying to finish a T M A (Tutor Marked Assignment) and that damn bibliography is taking me twice the time it took to write the T M A. hehehe  Either in the Tutor Group Forums on the V L E (Virtual Learning Environment) or a Module Group that’s been set up on Facebook: there’s always someone to share with and for serious problems there’s always your Tutor and your Student Support Team (S S T). 


Relaxation / hobbies


Sadly, all non-physical now, because I used to ride horses; snow and water ski regularly.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford to adapt ‘Gertie’ (the wheelchair) so I can get on the snow and the water again. ;-)  Therefore, some of my now sedentary pleasures are tapestry work; watching documentaries and crime dramas I’ve recorded and listening to books on my iPod