Hi everyone, it’s [qmunicate] here. We’re going to be keeping you up-to-date on everything that happens tonight at the President’s Debate!
The two candidates standing for election are Mata Durkin (MD) and Mitchell Welsh (MW), with Priya Khindria (PK) hosting.
19:16: PK has invited both candidates to the stage and will ask pre-submitted questions, with either one, two, or three minutes to answer depending on how long PK sees as appropriate for the answer.
19:16: PK invited both candidates to give an opening statement for one minute.
MD: Mata is a 4th year philosophy student, current VP Board at the QMU. Main focus of manifesto is looking at strengths: mainly catering outlets and improving already provided services, for example, improving atmosphere of bars. Additionally, building better communication with the university and pushing for the university to take more responsibility in the building works which have affected the union.
MW: Mitchell is a 2nd year history and philosophy student. His main points focus on finance, away from events which consistently fair. Focusing on bars and catering, events will still have a place but will not be the main focus of the QMU. He wants regular, informal meetings with the staff, and a increased focus on membership and societies, making an effort face-to-face to improve relations.
19:19: How will you deal with the role of the QMU with 4 different student bodies?
MW: Advocates for a unique role of the QMU.
MD: Agrees with Mitchell on the diverse roles of each student bodies, particularly the SRC and GUSA. Even the QMU and GUU focus on different things, their focus on debates, and the QM’s focus on live music. The unions offer different atmospheres and different places for people to go, with a variety of events which appeals to the QM’s history.
19:22: There are not many people here. What can we do to engage students more?
MD: Do surveys to find out what the students want from us. Ask the freshers and strike while the iron is hot to see what people want.
MW: Surveys do not work. Make sure that in freshers week people know what the board does.
1921: Role of QMU in enhancing student experience?
MW: Increased focus on social events in the student experiences, smaller scale events karaoke, charity events, pub quizzes, social space during the day with catering and bar facilities.
MD: Lots of facilities other bodies don’t offer; GU don’t have a big fundraising presence on campus.
19:22: Fundraising is great but how will this help us to survive as a building?
MD: C+C show that QMU care a lot about greater community and not just being a business and making money. Instead, QMU put that towards improving greater community, showing that we care, which is a good thing for others to know about us.
19:27: The principal introduced the student experience committee. How will this help and what will you bring to it.?
MD: engagement as a whole across campus has been low. We have not been told a lot about this committee so I would have to find out more information before I could fully comment. We should use this as an opportunity to ask the students and see what other bodies and unions do. We can learn from this.
MW: Most useful to reach people who are just about to come to university, good for creating a distinction between ourselves and the GUU. Also give a clear indication of what we should do, as is seen elsewhere on campus.
19:28: What drove you to run and what would it mean for you to be the President?
MW: genuine love of the building, belief that he can do better. Work over the current Presidential hours, starting before 9am and finishing after 5pm.
MD: Been her second home since she moved to Glasgow. Being on board, and what’s she’s already achieved on board has helped her give back. Running for President noticing the mistakes in the Executive at the start of the year and having good solutions to fix those and make the union a better place for years to come.
19:31: Neither of you speak about cross campus in your manifestos. Is cross campus not important to you?
MD: it is very important. I already have a good relationship with current boards. I would build upon this. it is important to discuss issues we are all having and create solutions to these problems. We are trying to help to make this university a better place for students on campus so we should work together on this.
MW: Cross-campus relations important to the union, and as a whole. Better relations would make student experience a lot better, would improve the relations so that mix-ups such as that of last Freshers’ Week headphone disco overlap do not happen.
19:31: What committees have you attended this year and what have your contributions been?
MW: C+C, anything needs decorated I do it. Help people bring their ideas out, and as President would hope to be able to push things out of people and bring commitment and loyalty to the QMU as a whole.
MD: Has been a CSR and pubs lefty, hasn’t been able to attend pubs committee as much due to work commitments, and also attending their committees as much as she can. Organised BHM as much as she can, organised BHM film screening. In terms of events, attended a lot at the start of term, mainly helping organise the club night (Spectrum).
19:35: Both of you spoke about taking less risks and making smaller changes. Pubs budget has been cut and events and social have had budget cuts too. If we keep going this way can we still be run by students?
MD: When I was talking about this I meant big financial risks like large events – i.e. big club nights or large music events which bring few people in. big ideas are fine but we should make small changes to improve services we already have.
MW: New ideas brought to events committee. New members helping at committee at Freshers’, social wil provide opportunity to take part, doesn’t have to involve setting up a big event, can help at pub quiz, charity sale, or condom booth. Massive events that are high risk and generally don’t make profit aren’t things students should really do at this stage in the QMU.
19:37: Ensure committee attendance higher than is currently?
MW: advocate better advertising during Freshers’ to prospective students, make sure students know what the committees do. Uni experience much more than coming to the union and having a drink but taking a part in student politics and what makes the union so great.
19:40: Pubs committee has had huge success looking for alternate funding and using connections to get better deals. how would you do this for the union as a whole?
MD: one resource we don’t normally use is our life members. I’m not making unrealistically large expectations for this but many life members spent years here and haven’t had the same level of communication that they were expecting. Many life members say they would donate if they had more communications from the union. We cold have a donate option for them to allow them to contribute to us.
MW: Fundraising outside of publications could show a weakness in our own finance. Cannot rely on students or life members to fundraise for events, pub quizzes, that should be paid from our own profits. Cannot fund for anything other than pubs committee.
19:39: How do you create an atmosphere in an empty bar, surely it’s a question of reputation needing to be addressed?
MW: Cannot repair atmosphere unless you’re bringing people into the building. Coming to reputation, at this stage you cannot change students minds, focus should be on targeting new and prospective students.
MD: Talking about music in terms of atmosphere, walking into a silent bar seems empty even if there are people in. Music adds to the atmosphere, makes the place feel more inviting. In terms of reputation, agrees with Mitchell that targeting 3rd and 4th year students should not be the focus.
19:43: Mata are you aware how much it costs to get music to play in champs?
MD: Not aware of exact figures but i know that getting SubTv into champs was looked at which looked good (This is what plays in Jim’s bar currently). As the dukebox stands you have to pay to play music and that is not useful for the bar staff or for atmosphere. We should see if we can override this or go back to looking at SubTV.
19:43: What do you think the reputation of the QMU is, honestly?
MD: I think the majority of students on campus would not have a great view of our reputation, a lot of people see us as a failed version of the GUU, comparing those events. People coming to the union aren’t brought in by the events, necessarily, but by the committees. I think we have more of an activism reputation, than anything else.
MW: I would mostly agree, though I would like to say that the view is that outside of Freshers’ Week, the union isn’t seen to do much. Freshers’ Week gives the wrong impression of the union, which adds to it’s reputation.
19:45: Focus on bars and catering, what makes us a student union?
MW: Emphasises that students will use the bars and catering services. Union seen as a way to be a part of something more than just a bar, rather than a place for a club night.
MD: Concentrating on bars and catering is juts a way to increase our income. We can then use our money for the other services we provide: condoms, quizzes etc. Yes we are here to make money but that money should be going into what we do for students. We are here to make students’ lives better at uni and bars and catering help this.
19:47: Both manifestos advocate playing safe approach, focus on day-to-day business instead of night events. Considering financially dire position of the union and lack of footfall, is there not a risk of bleeding us dry at a slower pace than otherwise.
MD: Again, focus should be on what we do well, and we without being too repetitive, our catering is what we do well. I think that when it comes to doing small solutions, sometimes that’s all we need to improve our external appearance to attract people to come in. I don’t think focussing on the small things necessarily means we should be sitting back and letting our deficit go up and up and up. We’ve cut costs as much as we can, that’s not something we can do anymore.
MW: If we promote our bars and catering properly then they will turn a profit, it’s not a case of slow death but slow recovery. No club night can make us recover in the space of two years. Presidential term is just one year, we need a slow recovery, maybe even a decade long. Keeping going on small profits is better than risking everything in a last-ditch attempt. For the sake of survival, it’s better to gradually reduce deficit.
19:52: MD you mentioned improving our bars. Was this just about music?
MD: Not wanting to repeat myself the main thing we can do is make the atmosphere better. Attracting people and making sure they have a good time is very important for the union. We do not want to only focus on the drinks prices and deals because it doesn’t matter if its cheap if people don’t enjoy themselves.
19:55: Given that we have a paid staff member for PR which has increased our Facebook reach and we have people working pr shifts. How would you work with these people?
MD: Twitter and Facebook have been good but our Instagram is lacking. Younger people may think that Facebook is for older people and they may not use Facebook so we should focus on other social media platforms as well as promoting our website and Facebook page.
MW: All of these things that increase engagement are worth it. PR being done in time and distributed properly, i.e. weeks in advance, are things we’ve failed in. Making sure theses aren’t neglected, and making it clear to the CSRs that they can still make PR, as long as it’s passed by the President. There needs to be consistency, but not a focus on just one job.
19:56: Are student unions still relevant, why?
MW: Yes, there are people who still use both he unions. Admittedly, the atmosphere has changed for the younger generation, unions aren’t anywhere near as popular as they used to be. We need to advocate that the services we still provide are a better way of enjoying the student experience. It’s more traditional, but it’s what we do and what we do best. Focus should be on changing the attitude of prospective students on unions, rather than changing the union fundamentally.
MD: We do a lot for the student experience, offering a lot of opportunities for students to enhance their skills and experience. Getting involved in publications showed me a route in journalism was a way I could go. The opportunities we provide to encourage students to get more out of their experience is what we’re here for, and why we’re still relevant.
19:59: How do you feel about the fact that by the end of this year we will have had 17 external gigs and these have been our biggest source of income this year?
MD: External gigs are good but at the end of the day we are here for students not the general public so this is disappointing. We need to make the experience better for students which means we should not solely be focused on this.
MW: External gigs for general public, not the students. Necessary evil, for the sake of making this union financially viable gigs should still be an option providing students don’t want the space used for something else.
MD: No, I wouldn’t turn away gigs at all. I think that, particularly when looking at our history, gigs makes our history seem exciting. People come to this university to hear about who’s played here. It attracts more people to the building, and to use services, which is positive. Just make sure that’s not all we have.
20:01: Would you prioritise students over an external gig providing they don’t pay as much?
MW: If the external gig is booked, we need to find another date for the students. It’s the best way for financial viability.
20:01: Are we letting down societies as these gig booking disrupt Qudos and other room booking, given they’re not specifically aimed at students?
MW: It’s a shame, but a necessary compromise. At the end of the day, if it helps us remain financially viable then it needs to be done. I haven’t heard societies complain but can imagine it possibly as, but it’s something that needs to be done.
MD: I think that we need to improve communication with clubs and societies with relation to gigs. I think societies think they are being put below gigs and other bookings and we need to make sure they know that we are not prioritising money over them. They need to know that they are valued by us as a union.
20:04: Would you advocate for the larger board’s involvement in approving and booking external gigs?
MD: I think that it’s definitely something we could look into. There’s some bands we may be hesitant in booking, particularly if they don’t always comply with the ideals that founded this union. But, I feel that it would depend on the band exactly. Professionals are booking these bands, and they know what they’re doing and we can’t always interfere.
MW: If there’s a major issue with the band playing, the larger board should be consulted to see if there’s an issue with that.
20:08: What is one things that makes the other candidate more suited to the role?
MW: Mata is on the exec already as VP so she knows more inside information about the running of the building. I do not know these things because they are confidential.
MD: I think that Mitchell is very good at engaging members. He is still quite young and he is closer in age to first years than I am. He knows more about people his age than I do.
20:08: Role is different to others, you are on sabbatical and get paid. What can you bring to a paid role that’s different to a volunteer?
MD: I’ve worked incredibly hard this year as an unpaid volunteer, but I do have to stop to study and make deadlines. Without that, I would definitely be able to have more time for meetings, and put everything I have into this building which is something I absolutely want to do. That’s the main thing, just having the time to properly dedicate myself to this union 100%.
MW: I would still work as a volunteer, taking time out of the working hours providing I have no meetings, working as a volunteer putting everything I have into this union at all hours of the day.
MD: I’ve worked incredibly hard making sure I do my job to the best of my ability, but there is so much more I can offer in terms of expressing my ideas and being there for students, our members, and some of that is just having the time. It’s the dedication I have that I want to provide to the union.
MW: People might take the attitude that I’ll just do it, but I’ll still have the authority to make sure that other people do their roles. I don’t want to have unknown members of the Executive, I want to be a President who has a face to their own name because I don’t think that exists right now.
20:13: Time management is an important part of being president can you do this?
MW: I am a student and part of the QMU at the same time. I am good at regulating working hours and QMU work. I wont be a student at the time so it will be easier.
MD: I have juggled being a 4th year and VP which is very hard if you are bad at time management. I have needed to split my time between union work and uni work very well. This year has allowed me to practice this.
What have you done with your time on board this year?
MW: helping committees with events and general union functioning. Have been volunteering for committees and hosting quizzes. I have a limit to the hours I’m allowed to be on the condom booth because I have been there so often. I have been active and i want this to be reflected in my presidency.
MD: Looking at the way we do elections, candidate behaviour needs to be considered. With training,, I have constantly been checking with what others don’t know, constantly reviewing the material I’ve been using to make sure it’s the best.
20:17: What role did you have in the change brought about following your manifestos?
MW: Got on board, realised my changes were already halfway done, so my role was limited. Dedicated my time as CSR to other things not on my manifesto, volunteering for other committees and doing things that need done- simply space management, rearranging rooms and decorations, the simple things that often go overlooked.
MD: After the by-election, I left the tech training to the tech team leaders because it felt pointless for me to organise it and find out when they are free rather than them organise it themselves. Training days had problems with low attendance, had points where we’ve been on the verge of having other elections and further tech training, but without those elections here’s been no point in further training.
20:37: Break over. Questions resumed.
20:37: Out of all the board members, you’ll be working with the staff the most for obvious reasons. You want the staff’s voices to be heard, would you be doing this or board members?
MW: Both, even small things such as saying ‘Hi’ to the porter as you come into the building, and just taking 5 minutes outside your day to do that has been important for me. I would like to develop relations with them, and encourage the rest of the Exec.
Md: I would be working with the staff so feedback is reported back directly to and from me. Also encourage other board members to introduce themselves, because often all the staff are worried about is knowing board members, making sure they’re visible around the union and able to comment on certain things I would say most the concerns and feedback would come directly to me.
20:40: Follow up for both of you. You want the board to do this. This is already in their training how would you make them do this?
MW: Best way to do this is to talk about staff members during the meetings and see if the board know what is going on in the building.
MD: Make sure duty board actually go around the bars and catering, interacting with staff. It is easy to stay in the board flat or offices during duty. All board members should know who the staff rep is and should talk to them to make sure they have some sort of relationship with this rep. the staff rep needs to know they can discuss any issues they would like to.
20:41: To Mitchell, you’ve mentioned what staff members think at the board meeting. How would you make sure board members interact with staff?
MW: Approach board members privately, tell them introducing themselves to staff is something they should do, particularly more often. At the end of the day it’s not something I want to be authoritative about but it is something I want to see people do. I would actively encourage them, and if they do not do this, they have to be warned to speak to staff to make sure they know what’s happening regularly in the building.
20:43: Do you think the QM can be saved/salvaged in a year and will your presidential term ensure the foundations of that?
MD: We can’t completely solve everything in a yea but can definitely make a good start with making sure that we focus on our strengths and making sure we do our best to increase our income, paving the way for the year after that and so on. I don’t think in a year’s time we can say ‘Yeah, I saved the union’ but we can see ourselves in a better place, financially, than a year ago. Seeing this improvement, and we can continue it in following years.
MW: No way to save a union in a year, which is why I don’t plan on leaving. After President’s term, I plan on running for another board position, and continuing involvement once I’m no longer a student, ensuring viable changes. Not stepping on the toes of those who proceed me, but to stop thinking in short-term steps.
20:47: Considering the dire engagement levels we have seen across campus this year – across the board there have been many uncontested positions – how can we encourage new students to get involved in student politics?
MW: [Student engagement in elections] is an issue across campus. We need to find out what we are doing wrong across campus and we need to find out what will make new students get involved in politics. One union will not solve this problem.
FOR MW: If cross campus do not think engagement is an issue would you just do this alone or wait for their support?
MW: If they deny this they are being blind and would need to be told properly that this is an issue. I have not thought about this much as it is a new issue but I feel that we would probably have to go it alone as it would be better to do something than to do nothing.
20:50: There’s nothing revolutionary in either manifestos to set you apart orm opponent, what is something you would say that isn’t in your manifesto that sets you apart?
MW: Going against question and going for something that is in manifesto: personality. I’m incredibly open to people convincing me, but I am rational so I will take other people’s arguments. Having a manifesto doesn’t mean having a set list of tasks to do, if others come to me with other ideas I will adapt and change.
MD: For me, one thing I didn’t put in my manifesto is how I would specifically address finance. Making sure our costs are as low as they can be without sacrificing quality of events and services we provide is something I would work towards. Instead of focussing on ‘we need to open this much, and make this much income’ we should focus on how many people we can get in, and then how much we can spend. Looking back at previous years, that’s how we should judge what we should do.
BOTH: Do you have plans for engaging with the university and their wider committees? We as a union are not involved with any apart from the Student Experience committee which has not started yet.
MD: I would move to improve communications with the uni. I wold make sure that I was firm with the university on what they do and how it affects us. I would have regular meetings with the Vice Principals to make sure that they know that we are concerned not only with our building and but the wider effect it has on us.
MW: if there are things we are being left out of committee-wise then we should be teaming up with other student bodies to push to get us involved with these discussions. We should be engaging with the rector and having informal chats about the position of the union on campus.
20:54: QMU history of activism, but recently haven’t taken a strong stance on controversial topics. Should the QM regain it’s activist reputation?
MW: Only engage in activism where there is genuine emphasis on board of management from members to do so. When it comes to issues of student activism, most people don’t have a strong opinion which is why we haven’t taken a stance. I don’t want to politicise the union, unless it’s something the entire board can agree on.
MD: I would say that it depends on what we’re talking about. There are definitely issues we should be vocal about, when our members directly are concerned. I personally have been to anti-Trump rallies on behalf of the union, and the anti-anti-abortion rally, and I think that there are issues happening how we can get involved with, for example American school shootings, we have a lot of American students and if they want us to get involved we should, to show solidarity.
20:56: Related, on the topic of the UCU Strikes, would you have handled it differently as President? Should the QMU take a stance?
Md: At the time it was brought to board, I knew little about it so it was difficult to make a decision, and that was the general view of the board. Now, knowing that, because I believe the membership is quite divided on this I believe it’s important to make sure members are aware of what’s going on, and why, and if they want to help what they can do. I think that’s the route we should go down.
MW: We should be more actively involved in this but not in a political sense. We should not take one side but instead we should be advocating for the student experience. The strikes are not good for the student experience and we should be making it known that we would like this to be changed.
MD mentioned that it is important to get 1st years involved. They are not involved in freshers helping so it is hard to engage them. What should we do?
MW: There is not a chance at this stage for first years to become involved as it is too late on. Seats are likely to remain unfilled by the by-election too. We should start fresh in Freshers week and make sure freshers know what is going on within the union.
MD: When I first contacted accommodation services in October to talk about organising hall drives, they gave an option of advertising on their website in the same way the SRC does. Making sure we advertise it in a way that seems like it’s more than ‘some board members are coming to sit in the common room’, try and have some incentives to bring people in. Whether it’s something outrageous like a lucky draw for vouchers, we need to make sure that there is an incentive for people to get involved.
21:02: Have you written a budget for the QM?
MD: No, but I understand how budgets work and I ‘m confident in my ability to write it.
MW: No, but I have financial experience, for example the pub quizzes, weighing up the risks and if we can pay off pour prizes with the people in attendance, whether it’s worth running the event, or cancelling it. I’ve never budgeted for an event, but I believe I have the skills to do so.
In the current economic environment can the QMU survive a new economic dip if its only priority is to make small profits over a long period of time?
MW It is the only way forward. I don’t think a large-scale profit is feasible at this time. I know that this is not very optimistic, but it is the only way forward.
MD: I think that small profits are what we start with. I don’t think we should have any huge risk. If we think any specific event will give us a huge return often it is too good to be true. If our profits are being affected by the university or other outside influences we must stand up and fight for compensation for this.
21:07: Final question for all, do you think it’s possible that you could be the President who closes the QMU?
MD: I think that with the ideas and experience I have, and what I want to do in the next year, I think that we can definitely stay open for at least another year. That’s not very optimistic, I know, but that’s better than saying we might be closing in a month or two. I would do everything in my power to ensure that we don’t close.
MW: Seeing as how the Exec, nor people in the financial committee have told us that’s the stage we’re at I don’t believe my term will cause us to close in the next year. Realistically, if we are that close to the edge I’m surprised we wouldn’t know.
21:11: Half hour break commences now.
21:40: Break ends. Mata is first for one on one questions and will be including her closing statement in this.
Questions for MD:
PK: Why have you left the QMU in a position where we are not transparent to our members. Why have we got no minutes?
MD: I was very busy with elections and BHM so I had to stop putting minutes up because I have been too busy. I had lots of deadlines at that time and at the end of the day I have a degree to get as well. I have had to prioritise a lot and at the time it was more important for other things in the union and for university to be get done. I know that this has not been ideal but I am working on this currently.
PK: So you didn’t think it was a priority for our membership to have minutes for these meetings?
MD: No, so making sure the election ran smoothly was the most important thing for me to be doing at the time. The minutes are going up soon but this was not a priority at that time.
PK: In your manifesto, you acknowledge the knock on our income from the building works. Why are you confident you would be the one to push the university to recognise this?
MD: The main thing that is different is the active working Rector who is on our side. I’ve already spoken to him (briefly) about the things I wanted to run on, and he agreed with him. In addition, to the fact I’m close to Lauren who is running for SRC President, it’s likely I can get her on my side. Not saying that the past Presidents haven’t done as much as they can, they worked hard to make the university take responsibility, but we need to push further by saying if you don’t support us you don’t care about us and our members.
PK: A lot of your specific ideas run on deals CSRs could put in manifestos, do you have no bigger ideas?
MD: No, those are just smaller ideas that came to mind when writing my manifesto. There are certainly other, bigger things I would do but the main thing was the idea of knowing that when it comes to our bars that we don’t need to be thinking about huge ideas, that all we need to do is make sure music or s ports are playing, and when it comes to catering, again, we don’t need to necessarily come up with big expensive menus, that just having small things will be enough.
PK: What activism is important to you?
MD: Welfare is very important to me. Without making the union too political I would like to see the union becoming more involved in what is going on in the community and in the wider world/ For example with what is going on in Florida. We have a lot of American students and I think it would be good o make sure that the wider membership know what is going on with these situations that we support this. Also we could be increasing the amount we do for BHM and LGBTQ history month.
PK: If, as you admit, a large number of the board fail to attend 2/3 tech trainings why did you feel you need someone to organise/complete the training for you?
MD: If i remember correctly, that was illness due to stress with work, and I believe I left that to you, or someone else. I didn’t know what was going on exactly, it was left in the hands of other people, the only people I heard didn’t attend had good reasons for it. On top of that, I was hoping to sort out another training session soon afterwards, but as I said earlier on the plans I had to have a by-election were then postponed, and scrapped entirely as it were too close to the January, then General election.
PK: Your manifesto boils down to 4 points which have been things that have come up before in your roles. What will you do to make this different?
MD: As CSR I tried to complete my manifesto points, as CCSR I tried to make the CCSR role meant something, by bringing back regular CSR meetings and making the role mean something to people. CCSR role didn’t have a meaning and I wanted to redefine what this role did and what it needed to do.
PK: So you don’t think it had a meaning before?
MD: It did but I wanted it to mean more. I wanted there to be more to fortnightly CSR meetings than simply that we were meeting and I wanted ideas and problems to be brought forward at these meetings.
PK: Do you think people are expecting more from you as opposed to your candidate given you’re already on board, with more experience?
MD: I think I would agree to an extent, that with my experience on the Exec already there have been things I’ve seen and done that seem too obvious to mention. So for me, it’s been what can be to on top of that, that I don’t necessarily see us doing and it’s my belief that at the end of the day we can think of grand new ideas to sort out problems we have, but small solutions may seem disappointing but I genuinely believe that that is all we need.
MD closing statement: Over the past year I have worked incredibly hard to make this union a better place. I have made sure that every problem I thought of that I was able to solve I did my absolute best to. My experience has shown that I am a good candidate for president. I would know what the first steps to take would be to ensure that this union continues not just for the next year, but for many years to follow.
MD has had to leave the hustings due to feeling unwell. A short break will occur before MW speaks.
22:04: Questions for MW.
PK: Mitchell, do you think you have enough experience to be the next President?
MW: Realistically, yes. I’ve been on board as a CSR and a Convenor, which realistically I think is enough.
PK: How will you increase the amount of external events we have?
MW: There’s definitely enough space to have more events in QMU. Jims is locked up most days during the week.
PK: Will there be any space left for the union to host things on their own?
MW: Draw the line at our own social events ie quizzes and karaoke. Finding gaps in the calendar – which are there – is very important.
PK: Why have you not talked about the learning and teaching hub?
MW: Word count. We need to establish loyalties to the qmu before the learning and teaching hub goes up.
PK: What about all the ‘loyal’ membership that have not been coming to the union for years?
MW: Admittedly that is an issue.
PK: How will you draw students to this side of campus?
MW: For the years ahead that could be a problem, but we do have buildings close to us which we can take advantage of. There’s a wide base we can draw from. Losing the maths building has been a problem,, but it’s one we can overcome.
PK: You want to use the staff’s experience to make decisions, should we let the board have this much of a say in decision?
MW: Definitely, but having the staff’s decision means it would be more informed, because of the staff’s first-hand experience.
PK: Staff’s input to increase trade, our issue is getting people in to spend money which isn’t their job it’s yours and the board’s job, how will you advertise this as part of your solution?
MW: Advertising is the only good solution, I honestly don’t see any other way to get attention to our services.
PK: Are you 10% satisfied with services, so it’s just a case of advertising?
MW: Minor changes can be made, such as making places a bit well done, more presentable. Small improvements need to make the place look more presentable.
PK: You also say we need to give the impression in Freshers’ Week that we give a better atmosphere, did freshers’ week this year not give that impression, and how would you create this impression?
MW: to en extent, but to improve atmosphere more day-time events are needed to make the building as busy as it could be, even if they are just events held in the bar, it’s important to show what we have.
PK: When asked what you’ve done while done on board everything said could have been done as a regular committee member. What have you done that has been helped by being on board?
MW: I have made no fundamental changes. I have filled gaps that have needed to be filled and done things which have not been being done.
PK: What one real change would you like to make as President?
MW: The real change I’d like to make as President, is getting the freshers’ into the building which is something we didn’t do this year.
PK: You state that the events that the QM put on aren’t helping it stay financially viable, if this is the case would you put an end to internal events altogether?
MW: Absolutely not, this adds to the student experience at university. What I’m saying is that the amount of PR we have doesn’t ever make it out, and this small cost would help improve an event.
PK: president already has lots of responsibilities and you would like more meetings. How will you fit this in?
MW: not as formal meetings. Me going down to staff at the start of the day and asking what has been going on in the day to day running of the building would be helpful. This is not about doing more official meetings but about keeping on top of things which are going on.
PK: 1/3 of your manifesto is about engaging societies and encouraging membership, isn’t this the job of VP?
MQ: Yes, but I see it as critical to one of the flaws of this building, so I thought I should advocate what I’d do to change it.
PK: You speak about societies’ using the building more, how would you seek the societies using the building bringing money into it?
MW: There are ideas from VPs such as affiliation packs about what else goes on in the building, and speaking to them personally about why they’re not using the bars etc to improve that situation.
PK: You’ve spoken about the board reaching out to speak to the species, are you fully aware of what we offer to societies?
MW: Admittedly, no.
PK: What do you know?
MW: When in the job I would find out immediately, and adapt to it.
PK: Do you think your expectation is lower?
MW: The expectation is lower, but one thing I’d say about me is I defy expectations, and this is something I’ve tried to advocate in my campaign.
PK: I would like you to go more in depth on how you truly intend on getting new people into the building?
MW: More day-time events during freshers’ week. Advocating the committees when new students get started, giving more detailed tours to get this image that unions are a massive part of the experience to the student’s heads.
PK: Are we a massive addition to their experience only running quizzes and karaoke?
MW: I would say yes as students help to run the events, and if they feel passionately about them they would want to get involved. Getting involved in student politics is very rewarding in my experience.
PK: How are you going to improve the QM’s identity on campus and do you think we have a strong identity as is
MW: I don’t think we have a strong identity or one that is justified. We need to focus on the freshers as we cannot be a union filled with former student members. We need to imprint our new identity whether it is different than our current identity or whether this is a new identity we would like to project.
MW: Closing statement.
MW: I admit I have not been on the exec and I do not have as much experience but if you genuinely want a president who will stick around for the next 3 years or more then vote for me. Tenacity and determination are what I would bring to this role.
Voting opens tomorrow at 9am and closes on Thursday at 5pm. Results will be announced from 7pm in Jim’s bar.