QMU General Election Hustings 2019: Liveblog

Hi we’re Rose and Liam, and we’ll be covering the Queen Margaret Union’s General Elections Hustings in Jim’s Bar. This evening we’ll be hearing from all candidates, except those running for the Vice President and President positions. They will all have a chance to put forward their manifestos and to answer audience questions. Check out the QMU instagram to submit questions!

18:17 Mata Durkin, current President of the union and Assistant Returning Officer welcomes everyone to hustings.

18:20 CSR A – one candidate Zara Gatt

ZG: Got involved as a fresher helper and has been involved with the Campaigns and Charities Committee ever since. QMU has always been a safe and welcoming place for her, and she wants this for everyone. Get Home Safe posters are great but she wants to take them a step further and introduce a Ask Angela scheme. This is to look after people so they can stay safe. Wants to further promote the free condom stall through social media.

Question from the floor: how would you promote condom booth? Do your ideas clash with the other CSR who mentions condom booth?

ZG: Friends are unaware of condom booth, posts on social media would remind people that its on.

18:23: CSR B candidate. Robbie Greenshields is a second year student who has been involved with Campaigns and Charities. Wants to improve condom booth – sets it as a strength of the union, wants to improve the image and how we present condoms and sanitary products. Professional and clear information. Increase awareness of sanitary product provision – a lot of people have previously not known this.

Q: Notes previous issues of having condoms in more toilets. Do you want to get rid of condom booth as a portal for condoms?

RG: No, it’s a good resource, but around the building would stop being people as embarrassed using the service if they don’t want to approach someone.

Q: Where would you move condoms or condom booth to in the building?

RG: Ground floor bathrooms as more footfall.

18:28 Campaigns and Charities Convenor – one candidate – Heather Valentine

Wants to increase attendance at C & C committee, it helps people to gain skills for CV and to have rewarding experience of charity fundraising. Have another charity fair during freshers week. Introduce goody bags to show what committee is about with glowsticks and free info leaflets. Wall mounted dispensers for sanitary products. Investigate selling discounted mooncups and perhaps a make your own reusable sanitary pads event.

Q: How would you keep committee attendance beyond Freshers Week?

HV: Partner with student journalism on campus. Plan events in attendance, and do events outside of the union to have greater visibility on campus.

Q: What kind of biscuit would you be and why?

HV: Mini cheddar? Does that count as a biscuit?

Q: How would you encourage people to join C & C as opposed to a charity society?

HV: She joined as had the chance to fund raise for a different charity each month and help select them. Promote it as having a greater scope, and being able to get involve and interact with different charities which opens your eyes.

Q: Who is best dressed on board?

HV: Me.

18:34 Events Convenor

Ruaraidh Campbell has been Events Convenor officially for the last year and unofficially for some months prior to that. We have improved quality of events and pride in events and now we are starting to see successes – numbers, engagement. Wants to continue what he’s learned this year, continue with music in union.

Question from floor: Is scrambled egg eaten at breakfast or lunch?

RC: It may be seen as a brunch item but may also be breakfast.

Q: A serious and less serious question. Last QMU Live drop in attendance – what went wrong in your opinion?

RC: We have changed the system for how it works and this was the first time in that change. A week before the event our headliner pulled out and we didn’t have the time to replace that headliner. There were various factors – we may have to go back to drawing board re financing event, but this event was mainly due to band dropping out.

Q: You’ve been Events Convenor for a while and have seen events that didn’t work as well as events that don’t. How will you encourage consistency in success?

RC: Student roles are usually for a short period of time and once you’ve learned the ropes your time is up. We’ve tried out things that didn’t work – I’ve learned things this year that didn’t work. I said last year I wouldn’t host a club night but our club night this weekend was our most successful event for a long time. I also work with the Events Staff to continue this.

Q: How will you raise profile of committee?

RC: Promoting the committee through our events. We can show our team having fun as an advertisement. We can attract people through a larger profile, a lot of people don’t know Events Committee is there, PR will help this.

Q: Would a closed committee structure work for Events or not?

RC: It limits the amount of people who can come along but it also could be valuable in ensuring people with experience and interest can come along. Overall, I would say a negative thing right now due to already lack of numbers. More could be done to try and work with people who come to the event. I wouldn’t be in favour of a fully closed committee but we could have a degree of people declaring interests and experience.

18:45 We will take a short comfort break – we’ll be back at 7!

19:00 Publications Convenor – two candidates – Eleanor Fletcher and Katie McPeake

EF: As current online editor worked to improve magazine. As editor would work to help writers realise full potential by increasing workshops and creating how to guides. Make editorial team more visible to contributors, building on work as inline editor. Will work with societies for greater visibility. Will fight for magazine funds and fund raise through collaborations.

KMP: Been involved for three years and current lifestyle editor. Will bring knowledge and experience of how student publications work. Would publicise meetings betters through physical PR outside of the union, and boost social media through measures such as gig ticket competitions. Would change how the website looks, updating it over summer. Has experience fundraising and would apply it to this role, as well as looking into sponsorship.

Questions for all candidates

Q: How do you feel about the Top of the Plops article?

KMP: I was the editor in charge of this story. Found it funny and different, it made people laugh.

EF: Josh who wrote the article should run for Publications Convenor. Demonstrates what makes qmunicate special, shows the variety of what we do.

Q: How would you promote articles like this which have the potential to reach a wider audience?

KMP: Supports more irreverent articles, people can write what they want so long as its not too offensive. People should bring their own ideas.

EF: Important that we have online to give that platform outside of the NSFW article. The contributors are the core of qmunicate and its important they bring us ideas like that.

Q: How did you do as editors and how would that inform your time as editor in chief?

EF: Been actively working to improve the magazine as online editor, taking inspiration from other magazines on campus.

KMP: Started as lifestyle editor, creating own pitches and stepped in briefly as music editor. Started as contributor and knows what that feels like. Would like to promote friendly vibes. Wants to do ‘a day in the life of’ various editors.

Q: What happens if your budget keeps getting rejected by finance committee? Clarification: what happens if the magazine is longer funded?

KMP: Introduce a clubnight and makers market, as well as a zine workshop with the zines being sold for profit. Would use music industry connections for gig tickets.

EF: Would fight hard for the budget, highlighting the important role the magazine has. Make the bake sales more frequent, work with other committees such as social to have fundraising quizs, and introduce fundraising jar at magazine meetings.

Follow up question: Is it fair to keep asking the same people for money/

EF: A lot of people involved feel very passionate and want to contribute but also to reach out to other people such as through pub quizs.

KMP: Would look into on and off campus connections.

Q: What is the best way to get more contributors involved?

KMP: Have more of a presence during Freshers Week such as on library hill and through having more events. Go beyond targeting English Lit students, speak at the start of various lectures. Put up posters, go beyond online.

EF: Often the issue is not getting people in, but rather getting them to stay. Would help new people feel at home and comfortable within the team.

Q: How would you implement helping contributors, and how would you improve online?

EF: Emphasis editors are people too, extend on ‘meet the team’ that is already being done. Spread the team around the table to feel like more of a community.

KMP: Understands how to make a website look better and has spoken to computer science friends who are willing to help. Anyone can use wordpress, we need to stand out.

Q: What can you do to make sure that the magazine ‘deserves funding’?

Clarification from current publications convenor: the magazine already advertises and reviews union events extensively.

KMP: We already do a lot to promote QMU events, but we could do a monthly review of what is going on.

EF: Work with committees to do previews and highlight upcoming events.

Q: Do you have a direction that you want to take content in?

EF: We already have such a variety and I want to keep this diversity. I would get arts and culture editors to put more emphasis on books. We want to be artsy without copying GUM or any other campus publication.

KMP: Rebrand creative writing editorship. Important to have science and techonology section.

EF: I came to qmunicate as an editor, Amy Shimmin has been nurturing and welcoming as editor in chief. Looking after your editors is so important.

KMP: Has loved how current publications convenor introduced deputy editor position, has helped with team welfare.

Q: Who is your favourite dinosaur who lives outside of Glasgow?

EF: Big Mike from Newcastle who is a T-Rex and friends with Dippy.

KMP: Dinosaurs are old and we need something new to bring to qmunicate. Doesn’t know much about dinosaurs.

Question for Katie: do you feel that low attendance is a qmunicate issue or a general student journalism issue?

KMP: Don’t have meetings during reading weeks. Other publications have higher attendance, need to get and keep people.

Question for Eleanor: how to reconcile publishing online with the physical publication?

EF: Physical copy gets people who might not see articles online. Another way to be visible on campus.

Question for Katie: do you have a vision for how you want online to look? How would this engage students?

KMP: Current logo online is our old one, need to update this. Had a ‘meet the team’ feature in a previous Freshers Week, helps to put a face to a person. Visibility online would make it easier for people in person.

Question to Katie: what kind of events would you want to hold with other societies?

KMP: Clubnights. Knows DJs and people who knows venues, would use this to qmunicate advantage. Do events outside the union to have a separate identity outside of QMU.

Question to Eleanor: What role do you see the magazine in the union as a whole?

EF: Separate but still part of the union. Qmunicate as slightly separate so people can come to qmunicate without feeling pressure to be part of QMU.

Follow up question to Katie: About how to get funding from QMU whilst wanting to have competing events outside of the union.

KMP: Outside events wouldn’t cost so much due to people she knows. Would ensure events were not clashing, not looking to be shady. Doing events outside of the union is to attract people in initially.

Question to Katie: The launch night event last week was free to qmunicate, how could you do it cheaper outside of the union?

KMP: I know people at various clubs.

19.40: Josh Hay

Josh studies History and French and is running for social convenor. HE wants to make events better organised with better communication and ensure things are better planned. He also wants to encourage attendance — at the last meeting there were only 4 people attended. HE will find ways to encourage attendance (e.g. Dominoes.) He wants more people than just the few regulars.

Q: You are passionate about social committee. Does your manifesto reflect your commitment?

Jh: I don’t think manifesto should be as serious as say an MP’s, but it does represent how he wants to improve things and keep things going.

Q: What do you actually want to do? What events will you introduce other than a Fifa tournament. If your manifesto is not serious, why would people who do not know you vote for you?

JH: He doesn’t think manifestos should be generic because they make him a bit bored. He wants his to be a bit different, and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t. But I hope it will. In terms of events, he was told that there was no tombola only to find one in the store cupboard. Bring back karaoke and themed quizzes — we were unfortunate this year due to gigs clashing with karaoke.

Q: By not saying what you want exactly, does it mean you cannot fulfill the role in the way you envision the role?

JH: He will take into account other people’s ideas, and see how they work, experiment with them, and just see what works and what doesn’t.

Q: Would you keep your current three hosts — 3 men– or would you change it?

JH: I think this year, the three of us have worked well as a trio, but I am all for looking at different possibilities and scenario. A;so aware f the language barrier of three men from the West Coast of Scotland, especially with questions regarding carbon footprints.

Q: your manifesto shows a sense of humour lacking in others. You are seen as not being a typical QM member. What are your plans to change the membership of the union through events?

JH: Why not run events which are lighthearted as a FIFA tournament. Try and include events that tailor to different tastes. In terms of being GUSA-like, I don’t do many sports. I just go to the gym.

Q: How can we trust you to run events which are controversial if you won’t drop them t the first sign of caution?

JH: I would never run events that go against the morals of the union, I would be responsible in how I run these events, but I want them to not be serious and have an element of fun to them. Events need to be fun or they become a non-starter.

Q: With regards to Friday Union Quiz that you want to re-run, what are your plans for it not to face the same problems as last semester.

JH: The problem with FUQ was that the hosts were graduates who were less involved in the union. I would like to rebrand it so that it is more student-oriented. I don’t want oit to become a burden that it was, and I would lie to reevaluate and work out how ti could make a profit again.

Q: YOu had 2 hosts who were students who were enthusiastic and it still didn’t go ahead. How will you ensure it still goes ahead when you have the people to run it?

JH: With regards to the two hosts, it was never gonna be successful no matter who you put it at the front. No matter how much we PR”d it would never run. WE need to promote it as a different kind of quiz with different ind of strategies and ideas.

Q: How can Social advertise during Fresher’s Week to ensure people come back?

JH: The main platform we had during Fresher’s Week was the quizzes, which were well attended. If you tell people that these are quizzes run by students, you can encourage people to come along. Social is always represented as not as important as other committees, and we need to promote all committees as much as we can, get people to come in and provide them with the possibility to offer up their ideas.

19:56 Tech Convenor – one candidate – Charlie Cumming

Q: How to implement lasertag?

CC: Potentially end of Freshers Week

Q: Logistically how would that work? Would you want it as interboard?

CC: Don’t know and yes.

Q: How to retain committee members? As tech is skilled based with a steep learning curve.

CC: Gives a brief explanation of how tech works and how he would work on this.

Q: How do you plan to sustain interest in participating?

CC: Socials. Maybe with events committee. Hopefully it changes next year.

Q: Do you have plans for health and safety training? Is it a priority?

CC: Yes. Look to events team to get dates sorted, try to get people along to Freshers Week training.

Q: How made you ensure duty board is trained on tech, at least to a basic level? To what level would you want to train them?

CC: Board should be able to run Jims event like karaoke and quizs etc. Next year will look to arrange training around other events. Will look to the tech training book.

Q: Plans to involve board in tech?

CC: Yeah, if they are keen.

20:06 – That’s all for tonight folks! Join us again tomorrow night to hear from the Vice President and President candidates. You can email any questions to president@qmunion.org.uk or submit them in writing at hustings.

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