QMU Elections 2015 – Hustings 2: Hust Harder

23.46: VOTE. Thursday 5th March, 9am-6pm, QMU polling booth on the ground floor.

23.45: And it is done. I may now attempt to regain proper use of my arms/hands/fingers/brain/laptop/liver.

More. 4. For Stearn: How would you finance the living wage? Financial implications.

University should be involved. Funding should be found. This is very important. Couldn’t be immediate but could start working towards it.

5. For Stearn: Staff have contracts to work certain events – is this unfair?

Should be contracted in the same way as anyone else. This would need looking into.

6. For Steven: Should someone as the face of the union be held responsible for their social media presence.?

Doesn’t encompass his personal views. Done for comedy, and laughs. Separate to his activities on the BoM where he has actively spoken about equality.

7. For Sefton: Expand on what you would do for clubs and societies.

Societies should view us as more than simply a room that they hire out. Involve creative societies to have a stake in the building. Has spoken to society presidents to find out what they want from us. Want to be a choice above everywhere on campus.

8. For Steven: Strong opinion on clique within the union. You’re running a joint campaign.

That man is his best friend. ‘I don’t know how much you know about friendship’. Wants to support him in everything, and vice versa. They share the same aim so can help each other. Not a case of excluding any other. We would work to eradicate cliqueness if elected.

9. For Steven: You may be subject to disciplinary action for recent actions, or a VONC. If this was the case, and you were elected, would you continue to work towards being President.

Yes, I would have been voted for and I would come back and be president.

10. For Sefton: Internet and social media to promote union.

Complained about the website often. Wants to completely gut the website and totally change it. Wants to use social media to allow members to scrutinise the board and have input.

11. For Steven: Do you find the oppression of minorities funny?

Are people that laugh at Frankie Boyle bad people? [Yes, from the crowd]. Steven’s twitter bears no relation to his actions at the union and his aims with the union. Apologises for causing offence.

[Some muttering from stage between Smith and the candidates. Jack tries to keep chat on track].

12. For Sefton. Would you overhaul social media? How can you use this more to engage with people?

Always going to be things that we want published through it. Control of who/when/the voice. Success as Pubs convenor cited, knowledge of how to get this done successfully

13. For Stearn. Clique. How combat?

This view of the QM is because the people that run for board are predominantly FWelpers. Need to tell members exactly how they can get involved and what is in it for them. Board’s interest is vast and there are many groups they can engage with. No, there isn’t a clique ‘problem’.

14. For Stearn: How to implement discounts and benefits in local community.

Would need looking into, it would work, but would benefit the members further. Board would have to consider carefully businesses to approach. Publicising this is the most important.

15, and final. For Stearn. Living wage. The university hasn’t increased unions’ block grant for a while. Make the case to increase the funding to cover the living wage.

Will not attempt to understand how the  uni comes to its decisions. It is a case of staying in contact. Showing them constantly, exactly what we do at every stage. ‘Friendly but firm’, as the Guardian says.

23.17: Individual President questions.

1. For Chris. You appear defensive. Aware that social media activity has caused offence. Would your presidency be harmful? Have you, and if not why not, considered withdrawing?

Seems to be a bit of a personal attack from a respected publication. No wonder he is defensive and nervous. Part of a BoM that seeks equality and that should say more about him than a twitter. Actions/words/louder.

2. For Chris. Concern over your statement that ‘we already possess equality’. Are you capable of ensuring this? [Maybe mutterings of the fact that almost 100% of the room are Caucasian]. Can you be responsive to accusations of inequality?

Would respect any member’s issues and would do his utmost to change anything that makes someone uncomfortable. Wants to meet the needs of the membership.

3. For Chris. Magic is run by tech team – no obligation to sign up on saturdays, how would you cover cost on tech?

There will be volunteers that want to

22.31: PREZ CANDIDATES. Max Sefton, Alice Stearn and Chris Steven.

[DISCLAIMER: This was ‘guest edited’ while I was in the bathroom].

Sefton: Reinforces his experience and successes with the Pub Comm. Passion. Love. “Thousands and thousands of people can come to QM”. Ambition. Presidential surgeries. Clubs and societies having steak in the building, not a fan of vegetarians. Clubs and socs can do what they want here – painting. Bars and Scran are great. Ask him questions.

Stearn: Last night was last not tonight. Tonight is tonight. Let’s go forward. Living wage! [This is a great idea]. Membership should matter. Pride in membership. Community. Work with staff more… and out of time. Ask lots of questions plz.

Steven:  There was some feedback. Special Freshers’ events, Freshers’ Week, live music and committees. He seems angry at complacency. Clubnights on Fridays, or weekends. Food Factory revamp.

Questions for all candidates.

1. The QM prides itself on being a safe space. Champion gender equality and standing up for the rights of minorities. How do you challenge ‘lad culture’?

Stearn: Cannot be covered in a minute. Should be constantly strived for. Improvement has been made but can always do more. Should serve members and have them know that they are respected and valued. We are nothing without our members. Training of all of our board members and freshers’ helpers. Keeping it in mind every day.

Sefton: Already spoken with SRC candidates and would work closely with them. Want to introduce the university equality and diversity training and make it mandatory for all board members. Chains of command – who you should bring things to. Involved in campus campaigns, such as the Good Night Out pledge. Need to publicise this more.

Steven: Today is the first day he hasn’t felt welcome. We have gender neutral toilets, meat free mondays. We welcome any and all societies. We do a fantastic job, we should keep doing what we are doing. We pride ourselves on equality.

2. GUU Extension will be huge competition. How do we get people to come here?

Steven: We could struggle unless we go big this FW. Strong brands, Magic 90s rave night, electronic artists. Popcorn, paint, he is talking too speedily for everyone to understand him let alone transcribe this.

Stearn: promises to speak more slowly. Wants to garner enthusiasm for the very start so people care enough to come back.

Sefton: Student clubbing is down nationwide. Need to make use of live music and our pedigree in that field. Qudos is perhaps not the best clubnight venue. It will be a challenge.

3. Address QMU clique?

Sefton: Any organisation run by a group of people is going to have some that are more defecated [sic] than others. If we encourage greater involvement then there will be a more diverse membership base.

Stearn: People working together on a daily basis are naturally going to form friendship groups. That doesn’t mean they exclude others. Asks for more information from the questioner. Needs to be about expressing ourselves properly and putting across the image that we want to.

Steven: There is no club that doesn’t have regulars. We want everyone to be our regulars. Provide incentives for people to want to get more involved. Things tail off after FW. CSRs could be made more of, and get them to interact with people.

4. Should there be a policy that holds board members responsible for their activity on social media.

Stearn: Yes. Current HAS has been looking into updating current legislation. It is a slow process. Should be there already, but should be codified. Will adamantly and definitely pursue this.

Sefton: Cites ‘bringing the board into disrepute’ section of CBP. If an addition to policy in that fashion is something members want then he will pursue it.

Steven: Recognises the jibe at himself. Question is vague. Don’t want to shackle people with rules and want people to want to be the best they can.

5. Event with no limits. Go.

Sefton: Beyonce in Qudos. Take advantage of our heritage as the music union. QMU music festival.

Steven: Robot Wars. Craig Charles in a leather jacket with student-submitted robots, followed by a friendly drink.

Stearn: Like BBC R1 Academy. Week of events, and talks, that give people something both to enjoy and to take away and learn things. Also Beyonce.

6. Duty board. How to empower them?

Stearn: Improve staff and board relations, via duty board. Make them more visible. People sitting in the bar, being around all the time.

Steven: Adequate training, equipped for any eventuality. Able to speak to people. More training and qualifications. Gives them graduate attributes too

Sefton: Wants to fundamentally assess the role of duty board. Hyping? Responsible hands? Both? Important to train people well for everything.

7. Lack of consistency? Is this harming the QM?

Sefton: Term lengths too short. Better handovers, supporting projects to get them completed in people’s terms. Try to maintain communication.

Steven: People care enough to stick to their plans. Something about promoting Scran better. Is consistency in terms of the clubnight harming us?

Stearn: Asked for CSR mini handovers to help combat this. Carry on a level of continuity. The beauty of a changing board is the fresh ideas, but this does come with its pitfalls.

8. Sell the union to me?

Stearn: Somewhere you want to come to on your own terms. You know what you want, and how to get that from the QMU. Somewhere you can walk in and feel valued. This is the QM I want it to be, and something I want to share with freshers. People should walk in and be able to share everything.

Sefton: Welcomes everyone without discrimination. Always find a home here. Something to offer everyone. Everyone feels like they belong.

Steven: Engage Freshers before they come here, via social media. Over the summer. Ask people’s opinion in advance so we can tailor the union to them.

9. Favourite netflix series?

Stearn: Gossip Girl

Sefton: House of Cards

Steven: Breaking Bad

10. How to take into consideration both people with new ideas and those who prefer tried and tested ones, ‘nostalgia’?

Sefton: Convenors should ensure every voice is heard and respected, then everyone can have an opinion on what the QM should be. Members views should guide the way the union functions, and the members should know that. Cites Pubs committee experience.

Steven: Agrees with Max. Strives to encourage committee members to have more ideas. The past is the past for a reason. Let’s leave it there, move on, and come up with something better.

Stearn: Involvement with C&C this year. It is not productive for people to hear their ideas knocked because ‘we did it before’. It is important to look to improve and learn from our mistakes, not ignore them, or dismiss them.

11. Freshers can find it intimidating to go to committee meetings. Would something like introductory workshops work to introduce new members?

Steven: A Freshers’ night would be an introduction to other committees. Run by, and featuring, Freshers, to avoid any intimidating nature.

Stearn: We did Q&A sessions during FW, but a workshop afternoon offering a taster would be good. It would be difficult for some committees and would help address the daunting nature of committees for the first time. Convenors having pride in their committees and showing off.

Sefton: As Pubs convenor he invited the committee to the bar every week after the meeting. Active on social media and making sure people feel that their input is valued. Coffee mornings/cheese and wine/beer and burger events, make more of these.

12. President is a figurehead. Public face. Dealing directly with University management. Not easy. Justifying the QM’s position is hard. How would you argue against a potential closure?

Sefton: QMU depends 15% ish on a Uni grant. Suspension of this would be a threat. Need to prove that we definitively add to the student experience. We can provide graduate attributes and make students better people. Empowers people to speak to SMG and get their point across.

Stearn: Adds that we should be a bit pushier and talk to the university constantly reminding them what we are and what we do. Openly involve the members and get them on side. Get the students to tell the  uni why we’re important.

Steven: This union means a lot to people and should not be threatened. We should band together and fight it because it is so important to students. Gives students so much.

21.50: Honorary Secretary candidates come to the stage. Emma Anderson and Chris Barrett.

Anderson, a third year zoology student, has been on board since first year. She loves people, and loves interacting with people, a necessary quality for Hon Sec. Focuses on clubs and societies, who enrich the student experience. We can tap into the people that enjoy C&S and translate that into enjoying being involved with the QM. Package for affilated societies. Give back to people to increase their loyalty. Want to offer our affiliates and our members more than the average student.

Barrett has been on board for 6 months, as well as a Fwelper and committee member. Wants to spread the feeling that QM is people’s home amongst the membership base. Currently there isn’t much incentive. Points system doesn’t work, drinks prices aren’t exclusive. Weekly email sent to all the members. Readdress the issue of rolling membership, as this is important. Wants to involve C&S in decision making processes. FW is the most important week, and wants to make it feel like home from the start.

1. Life Members. How to increase and continue their involvement?

Barrett: 125 dinner coming up. This could kickstart life members’ involvement in the union by starting an annual dinner, gauging interest this year. Life members should not be the Hon Sec’s primary focus; that should be on current students who come here regularly and use the services.

Emma: Life members are important. We have let people go far too quickly in the past. Want people to continue to feel they are part of the community for a longer time. Down the road are good at this and we could learn from them.

2. Why should people be a member? [sick mic drop, bro]

Anderson: We offer a unique community. This isn’t advertised well enough so that is why hunners of people aren’t members. Members are as important after week 3 as ever so it needs to be consistent.

Barrett: Offer more to people. Potentially a semesterly prize draw for all our members. Integrated summary

3. Freshers’ Week.

Barrett: We need to look at what works and what didn’t. Live acts were great. Look at doing more than this. Freshers’ Ball didn’t work this year, should we stop getting caught up in nostalgia and do something new.

Anderson: We put as much as we can into Freshers’ Week. It is an excellent way to engage people. A line up that plays to our strengths and showcases what we do best. We want a QM freshers’ week that couldn’t happen anywhere else. We do live music events very well, so should play to that strength. Showcase the committees, as well.

4. Freshers’ Helper drinking culture. Address this?

Anderson: Midweek flagging happens because people don’t have the restraint and go too big too soon. She believes she is good at encouraging people and did so through charities this year. Designate a ‘go easy’ team each night to be the go to for the Fresher who isn’t too keen on the boozin’.

Barrett: People apply to be a Fwelper because they want to have a good time during FW, and often they want to drink and drink a lot. People choose the QM because they love it and want to plug it. If you said to a helper team they couldn’t drink it could be demoralising. People are volunteering their time and should do what they want to do. Shouldn’t be restricted.

5. Three things you could to to attract members, C&S, and Life Members.

Barrett: Members – first years living in halls. Regular PR and membership drives up at halls. C&S – affilation benefits. Life Members –

Anderson: Life Members need to feel like they are valued. Membership needs a cohesive package. C&S need to feel a sense of ownership over the building and need to feel like they are a part of the QM.

1. For Barrett. Pros and cons of rolling membership.

It can be argued that of people can’t be bothered to reenrol they shouldn’t be allowed to be members. Barrett doesn’t agree and thinks it would allow the benefit and the reach of the union to get to more people. We turn away people at elections who want to vote and they should be allowed to.

2. For Barrett. Annoying weekly email?

No, people should be interested in what their union has to offer. Different from a club as we are a service to the union and offer things to them that they can benefit from.

3. For Barrett. There is a sober tech team every night in FW. This works well. Elaborate?

Tech team is different, as they are in control of the QM’s tech and have a lot of responsibility, of valuable equipment. Unavoidable that regular helpers love to drink. Their experience is trying to get new students involved, and to keep them enthusiastic they should be allowed to have much fun as they want.

3.1. So you’re saying helpers are the priority, not the freshers?

Of course Freshers are the priority. But Fwelpers do it out of their own time, off their own backs, and we want them to be encouraged and enthusiastic so that they can pass that on. We need to appreciate what they are doing.

4. For Barrett. Freshers’ Ball coincided with the referendum. Is it sensible to cancel something successful after just one failed event?

Wasn’t wanting to scrap a particular event, just look carefully at what worked and why, exactly. There can be a tendency just to do things because we always have. Want to be conscious of not doing that.

5. For Anderson. Affiliation packages? What are these and what would they involve?

Want to win back the loyalty of clubs and societies. Currently they go to bars who give them money. If we want them back we need to do something that competes. Can’t offer money but think about what we can offer. Have an affiliates board, allowing C&S space to advertise. Breed loyalty.

No more questions for the candidates.

21.39: Honorary Assistant Secretary candidate, Celia Varela Sixto, starts her spiel.

Celia wants to create a board handbook, that includes relevant points about the Union such as tech setup and entry policy. This would address some issues that have arisen. Better promotion of elections, across the whole campus. Promote that what members want and what they say is of utmost importance. FW team leaders should be trained on how to promote different aspects of the union to Freshers.

1. How can you balance role as teacher and disciplinarian?

Supportive and strict. Understanding. People should perform the best version of their role that they can do. Good at being tough.

2. Are there things we neglect in board training?

It needs updating, and looking over. More fire training, more first aid training. Even just the basics to help with decision making. Needs to be readily available.

3. Do you want excerpts and shorter versions of CBP?

Everyone should read it. It isn’t realistic to assume people will, as it is in a bit of a state. It should be implemented through duty training that people know the absolute key parts of it. Not everyone needs to know about how disciplinary hearings work.

4. Election turnout is low. Online voting?

We have been looking at this for forever. SRC system can’t support both elections at the same time, and other methods become far too expensive. If we find a suitable system, that would be good.

[My gin supply has dried up. This needs remedying. Is that a suitable question for the HAS candidate?].

5. Does duty training reflect what duty board does?

Having a handbook which details what you do on a daily basis would be the key to this.

6. Does the union do enough to incentivise voting?

[This is a silly question].

Publicising the fact that by voting for the person that you most agree with, or could be the best leader, means you are shaping the place and that should be enough. As/more important than free coffee.

7. Can HAS be made more appealing?

Appeals to a certain type of person. More behind the scenes. People are too vocally negative about it and too quick to dismiss

8. What would you like to see regarding engagement and how can it be measured?

Easiest way to see that is higher turnouts at elections. People coming to committees, people having opinions, people caring, people who make their opinions heard.

8.1. Is there a percentage of the membership you want to see engaged? Who are you measuring against?

Currently around 12% of members vote. Just want to increase that. Aim to get the best across campus and the best in our history. As high as we can.

9. How can we make people want to be trained?

Making it a priority and making people feel like they want to be and should be learning new things.

Alright? So, I’m a fanny and wrote too much. As you were.

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