QMU General Election Hustings 2020: Liveblog

Hi, we’re Eleanor and Carrie, and we’ll be covering the Queen Margaret Union’s General Elections Hustings in 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.

 

18:29 First up we have First Year Current Student Representative A. There is one seat and one candidate – Cailean Campbell.

CC: Attracted to inclusivity of QMU. Focus on gender-neutral bathrooms, accessibility for disabled members, diverse acts performing.

Q: What is your favourite thing about the QMU?

CC: Diversity. The members and haw different they are.

Q: What snacks would you buy as a lefty from the snacks budget every week?

CC: Oreos, coke and sandwiches

Q: How do we make sure the first-year members are heard?

CC: Have lots of first-year students

Q: Why do you want to be a CSR?

CC: Love the QMU. Wants to be involved in politics.

Q: How will you execute your goal to increase engagement in small events?

CC: Cooperation with all the representatives will develop a good plan.

18:37 Now we have First Year Current Student Representative B. There is two seats and two candidates – Christopher MacNally and Fatima Saeed.

CMN: I am already a class rep for Geography. Got involved through the quizzes, inviting atmosphere. Attend social and C&C.

FS: Studying history and economics. Involved through Elephant in the room, welcoming committee. Motivated to become more involved on the board and the union. Help introduce a program to prevent date rape drugs circulating the university.

Q: What snacks do you buy?

FS: Muffins, biscuits, fingers.

CMN: vegan-friendly chocolate to be inclusive, pringles.

Q: What qualities do you have that would make you a good CSR?

CMN: Great listener. Patient.

FS: Work in a team, hear what everyone has to say. Enthusiastic, friendly, obsessed with cats.

Q: Night or morning shower?

CMN: Morning wakes you up for the day.

FS: Depends on the timetable, if you have a morning lecture I’m not going to get up at 7am to wash my hair.

Q: How would you promote the committees?

FS: Talk to everyone and encourage engagement. Ask friends and peers to take part.

CMN: I had no idea how to get involved at the start. Promoting committees. Hey, nip in!

Q: How would you help with the welfare of students.

CMN: Not that much power as CSR. Welfare is crucial. I am here to listen at the end of the day. Knowing that its there is all the help you can ask for.

FS: Introduction of rape drug detection kit. Increase engagement as people feel safer.

Now we move onto Current Student Representative A. There are three seats and four candidates – Tom Burnip, Miles Grant, He Ng, and Ishanki Mukherjee.

HN: Malaysian. Independent. I want to help everyone, including myself. Enjoy helping others.

TB: Electronic and software engineering. Already on tech team. Spend a lot of time in the union. Want to help expand the live music engagement. Provide more PR.

MG: A lot of activism at the uni.  QMU is in a great position to help activists. Place for people to meet and organize safely without feeling under threat.

IM: Love the QMU is so enthusiastic, makes me really excited. Voices are just sounds until they reach the right ears, you can really find your place when you find people like you. I enjoy social events, have them on a larger scale.

Q: What snacks would you by for the committee? IM: Taco kit. Pringles, diet coke. HN: Not a big snack fan, keep myself healthy. I wouldn’t focus much on the snacks part, will focus on more important things.

MG: local Glasgow bakers. Independent shops.

TB: Scones, jam and cream.

Q: Which committee would you choose to be the Lefty.

TB: My plan is to infiltrate the CSRs to be lefty for Tech to stop Alex.

MG: Proud tech team member! To effect change, events or social. C&C would be a great place to absorb activism.

IM: Social.

HN: Events is an easy choice for me.

Q: What can you do to help support activism in the university?

IM: Stop using toilet paper, go paperless in board meetings. Raise money for planting trees.

HN: Raise money for a charity. I have big plans, the money should be an issue but we’ll see. Raise money for charity within C&C.

MG: Offer space and a voice for activists. Stage film screenings. Space for Arms Divestment.

TB: Complicated issue. Eliminate disposable cups to make huge environmental change.

Q: Is a jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit?

TB: Cake. It goes hard to soft, not soft to hard.

MG: I visited the jaffa cake factory and they wouldn’t let me inside. It’s whatever jaffa cake says it’s not. It’s a fruit

HN: Jaffa CAKE. I’m not English, I’m not going to debate.

IM: It’s a cake. It’s got an orange inside.

Q:

IM: I’ve volunteered with the SRC as a tour guide. I adapt well and make quick friends. It teaches you a lot about communication.

HN: I am a class rep and board member of the gymnastics club and creating weekly meetings for committees are important. Meetings should be kept short with not a lot of chit chat.

MG: worked with the SRC- the talk a lot with the university. Good relations between the uni and the SRC, and this would be a good thing to mimic. With regards to encouraging activism, this would be much more effective if we had good communication with the uni itself.

TB: Can we steal the GUU’s building? We get a nice building and the can have a pub down the road.

Q: If you had to describe the union with one song, what would it be?

MG: Billy Brag

HN: Stronger by Kanye West

IM: We didn’t start the fire by Billy Joel.

TB: Stay with me.

Q: Do you feel represented at the university?

TB: Difficult question to answer. Large populus. I feel reasonably well represented but does that mean the majority of people do?

MG: I feel represented by the SRC but I don’t feel activists are. Activism is an area which needs more representation.

HN: As an Asian, I am a minority in Glasgow. I feel at home and welcomed by everyone here.

IM: I think it’s relative. It’s not that I haven’t been represented, I think with this position I can make sure people are heard. Representation begins with you.

Now onto individual questions. Q: What clubnight would you start and why?
HN: Last week I looked at the financial report, one of the issues was that the change of demographic. We should host something with more pop songs or tapping into Asian culture like K Pop, or techno, or hip hop.

Q: What is your favourite thing about tech team?

TB: I’ve been doing tech since before I was at the uni and is one of the more challenging situations. Diverse range of opportunities.

Q: You make mistakes when doing tech for Friday music quiz, can we accept you being a liability?

TB: It’s a difficult job and I am often underprepared, behind schedule, and running four things at once. The reason I am there is for the live music afterwards, rather than for running the quiz.

Q: You want to create events for charity, can you expand?

IM: Bakesales. Having social events is the best way, maybe have bigger events. Quirky events, we would have to ask people what they want.

Q: Are you planning on letting other campaigns have a space or just your own?

MG: Arms divestment had a film screening at the Boyd Orr which is not suitable where the QMU is the perfect space for those sort of situations. Offer space around conventions.

Q: How would you add on to the QMU’s support of mental health groups such as Elephant in the Room?

IN: Let people know there is a space, more sectioned groups within Elephant itself.

TB: One of the major problems with club nights is that they stay strong and peter out. We need to make

Q: You want to start a new clubnight to showcase another type of music, is that enough?

MG: Activist groups like to have club nights, but they don’t know what the QMU offers. The money they bring in is great for the groups and for the union.

TB: We start strong, but peter out. People are unaware we don’t do things weekly or monthly, we need to keep the advertising up so people know it’s going on. Encourage people to like and share events.

IM: Word of mouth. Have members share the word. Collaborating events with other groups.

Q: The year started with a lot of financial backing but that backing has disappeared. Would you be happy to actively engage with PR?

TB: During freshers’ week we have helpers who allow us to flood campus with PR. That’s Publications Committee’s job. qmunicate is meant to show off best of QMU, their launch parties get numbers so we can use them to PR our events. Can do more for student engagement, eg. livestreams for different events.

MG: PR is important but I think the image problem is the main issue. Even if they hear about the events, they might not want to come. I think our best way to fix it will be to make QMU the union of activism.

HN: I can PR quite well. I have the power to bring people together.

IM: There’s no reason people shouldn’t come to the QMU. Always have an option for people to come to.

19:46 Now it’s time for Current Student Representative B. There are two seats and three candidates – Finlay Carruthers, Jahnvi Kadakia, Ritika Pandey.

JK: First year genetics. I’ll be there for you. Be a voice for the voiceless. Encourage people to try new things. Start a book exchange to help with mental health.

RP:  First year neuroscience. Elephant in the Room. Passionate about dance and Bollywood. Focussed on going green and bringing inclusivity and diversity. Collaboration with other societies.

FC: Study English Lit and History of Art. GULGBT Committee. Run open mic night. Help run sustainability events like clothing repair workshops. Make the university a safer place for disabled and trans students.

FC: Hummus. I wanted to make it GULGBTH vegan

RC: Sensation crisps

JK: Thai chilli sensations, smoothies and cookies.

What committee Would you left for?

FC: Events committee, small things we could work out with timetables, for example if there’s a quiet event in Bar it doesn’t make sense to have a loud event in Venue.

RC: Events and Charities. Encourage a bigger crowd.

JK: Charities committee to help with Elephant in the Room.

Q: What would make you a good CSR?

FC: I’m usually the one comforting the crying people in Pop on Wednesday, helpful

RC: Good listener and outgoing person.

JK: Patient listener. Hesitant in first year and would help encourage new students.

Q: Which of the events that you’ve been to at QMU have you enjoyed?

JK: haven’t been to many events but would like to try some.

RC: Also haven’t been to many events.

FC: Quieter social space free from alcohol to allow you to chat.

Q: What appeals to you about the QMU?

RC: Sanskar brought me into this, everyone is so welcoming and I want to take up some responsibilities.

JK: Café is my favourite place

FC: Place on campus I feel the safest

Q: Focus on ‘Aloud’, how would you aim for more involvement?

FC: More advertisement helpful, would be nice to work with qmunicate.

Q: How do you aim to resolve issues surrounding race in the LGBT society?

FC: Facilitate meetings. I can’t come up with solutions that don’t apply to me.

Q: Do you have any ideas to promote Anonymous Pal?

JK: start of Elephant in the Room and share with friends. Social media too.

Q: How to increase inclusivity at the QMU?

RC: President of Indian society. Bring in members from the society.

20:04 Now onto Campaigns & Charities Convenor. There is one seat and one candidate – Robbie Greenshields.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Our camaigns are going really well. Focus more on mental health and environmentalism. Make it a successful committee.

Q: What’s your favourite thing to bake?

RG: I’m Glasknow famous for my chocolate and orange cookies.

Q: You’ve been involved in C&C for two years, you’ve seen varying levels of success. How can we improve?

RG: It’s about the energy, putting your all into it. In the past, we’ve not promoted events as much as we could be, it’s been a little last minute. I will make sure our event planning is organised.

Q: Any ideas for environmentalism?

RG: Helping arrange a screening from World Health Day with a recycling drive. That’s the sort of thing wants to carry forward into the future. Profiles for international women’s day and want same idea to carry forward for environmentalism.

Q: Being a committee member of Elephant, will this bring a new depth to the role?

RG: I want to work more closely with Elephant, and make sure the two committees are integrated and that Elephant members are represented by C&C.

Q: Would you work with the other committees? RG: the board needs to be a lot more collaborative. Especially during freshers’, running charity alongside events such as Propaganda was really successful. No reason why we can’t continue this and excel.

Q: If you had to introduce new events, what would you do?

RG: More environmental events like screenings etc. Recycling drive. Reduce the union’s carbon footprint.

Q [from Sandy the dog]: what plans do you have to ensure a steady supply of dog treats in the building?

RG: I will give you lots of belly rubs because you’re a good boy. I love you. Treats aren’t really my area, but if the café runs out of treats I will not be happy and will stand up for your rights.

Q: Campaigns or Charity?

RG: That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child. Charity. But also campaigns.

20:50 Now onto Publications Convenor, there is one seat and two candidates – Gabriel Rutherford and Susanna Zarli.
GR: Writer for 5 magazines over 5 years. Passion for the union. Love working with committees (C&C). Can’t have qmunicate without union and can’t have union without qmunicate. Pragmatic ideas.
Q: During the time as editor, what achievements are you most proud of?
SZ: Definitely creative writing, I feel like that was successful. Being both online and in charge of creative writing helped, lots of submissions.
GR: Opening up the A&C section to make it more popular to a less highbrow section.
Q: Being a magazine is important to uplift marginalised voices, how will you do this?
GR: Make qmunicate more available to everyone. Publicise it more, have it more accessible to people so marginalised people will come.
SZ: Collaborate with societies like mental health and refugees to open up. Make meetings more accessible to contributors. Boost publications page.
Q: As someone who didn’t know about qmunicate until quite late in, how can you advertise to people who aren’t part of the union.
GR: I would include a new distribution system, get editors to post it on their Instagram. Do it from within, with more people sharing our stuff we can get out of our bubble. Cut editors down, reshape things, it will be more comfortable for contributors.
SZ: enhancement in advertising. Physical advertisements around the West End. Joint events with other societies.
Q: You both have contrasting opinions about the number of editors, can you explain your reasons?
GR: I agree with Susanna, I don’t think Science & Tech isn’t the identity of qmunicate. Too many editors, is too overpowering if there’s only a few contributors.
SZ: At least 1 position would need to be cut (Science and Tech).
Q: Pubs is art centric but there’s a lot of science students on campus. Would you do anything to engage science students?
GR: The distribution plan would increase people in. Don’t need a Science and Tech editor explicitly, someone else can handle that, doesn’t need its own section. We shouldn’t discourage people from coming in.
SZ: Our strong suit is being well rounded. We should encourage this diversity. Science articles could be encompassed in Features and News.
Q: How else would you bring in contributors?
GR: Contributors keep us going and are very important. I would value voices, get our name out. Tweak the website to have a search bar.
SZ: Becoming more recognizable as a magazine. Have more visually striking aesthetic. Work closely with the union to increase readership.
Q: How do you think your experience proves your worth, how did you transform your section?
GR: More diversity in what we pitch in A&C, I’ve started pitching on TV shows. Have transformed a section that was previously difficult to get content for.
SZ: Creative writing has been consistently good. Social media has had a great reception which has brought in a lot of people, with help from Eleanor!
SZ: Didn’t anticipate this question. Friday music quiz gets a lot of interest. Big events like St Paddy’s day would help.
Q: How would you improve relationships between pubs and the rest of the union?
GR: Profiles for the new board members. Coverage of events and give the union the respect it deserves.
SZ: I agree, I think most of the committees we could work amazingly with, there’s a lot of overlap between them all. The key thing with the relationship would be constant communication, hear each other out.
Q: How would you critique the work you’ve done this year?
SZ: Started with no experience. Hard to take initiative and wish I’d done more. I wish I’d done something more memorable but I feel that I am ready to do that.
GR: One thing in first semester I didn’t chase up arts reviews. But I’ve improved upon that. That was partly due to the fact that I was always thinking about the next issue, once I had enough for the print issue I became too relaxed with content.
Q: There are four publications on campus, do you think they need to work together and would you?
GR: There’s room for overlap, there’s things I do that I admire. Go to their meetings and tell people about qmunicate.
SZ: I want to go to other contributors meetings. I think we and GUM have a lot to learn from each other and collaboration is key.
Q: How would you represent the union in qmunicate?
GR: Working with Events and Social. Publicising charity events. Working with board members
Q: Welfare meetings already exist twice a term as an opportunity for editors to chat about any issues they have and is a chance for editors to brainstorm and work on their section with the deputy editor. How is this different to the brainstorming sessions you suggest in your manifesto, and how would you marry the two.
Q: You talk about improving the website, how will you pay for it?
GR: Partly try and do it myself, try and work with online editors.
SZ: Welfare should be more about how we are doing mental health etc. Brainstorming would be more of an intellectual space.
21:26 Now onto Social Convenor, there is one seat and one candidate – Josh Hay.
JH: 3rd year history student. Want to keep doing what I’ve been doing: improving attendance and continuing the events.
Q: Favourite social event and why?
JH: Big fan of the social social. Tech are great too.
Q: Do you feel you’ve succeeded at your job?
JH: Want to keep doing what we’re doing and hoping it works.  Having things planned in advance is good.
Q: MAturity is a big part of the role. How does that apply to you?
JH: A stern face doesn’t get the job done. You need to be able to ave a laugh to know what people want and will enjoy.
Q: What would be your ideal social event?
JH: Movie days, jacuzzis. Mass FIFA tournament
Q: You were social convener last year. What have done that you would have improved on?
JH: Got quizzes going on a Friday. Music themed quiz. Learn to speak slower.
Q [From Sandy]: What will you do to make me endorse you?
JH: I’ll take him on walks at the park. He’s such a good boy.
Q: Which snack would you continue to see at committee meetings?
JH: We have had a love of Tangfastics. I would like to see a return of the Haribo Strawbs.
Q: How would you get teams engaged with social committee?
JH: I think there is good communication. I’ve brought up things with committees that have been improved.
Q: What are you going to do now that one of the best quiz hosts is leaving?
JH: Mitchell will be greatly missed. I’m football mad and when a member of the team leaves, you try to find a good replacement.
AT: Been a part of the Tech team for almost 2 years. Amazing growth to the team. The biggest change that has been brought in is that our team is now getting paid for their hard work. So the next important thing is for our new members to get the appropriate training so that they can get to the level of our older members.
Q: What is your favourite thing about tech?
AT: Freedom to make decisions and work independently to reach goals.
Q: What makes you qualified?
AT: I think my commitment that I have given to the team over the past two years. I have been invested since day one and have worked hard to improve the team. It was me that brought in the live stream that is happening right now.
Q: How would you feel about trying to close the gaps in experience?
AT: Training has been done for lots of members. I want to expand this to the whole team.
Q: Tech are quite introverted, what would you do to change the perceptions?
AT: Expand our reach and try to get more members and increase diversity within the team.
Q: How would you encourage tech team freshers helpers to stay involved?
AT: The problem was that people left after freshers week, we just didn’t have any new helpers.  We want fresh blood. We want to get more integrated into QMU freshers week. We want to set up a night where we set up the equipment and teach them how to use it.
Q: You talk a lot about training, but there has been a slow decrease in the training given to board members. Do you have plans to increase this?
AT: This is one of my priorities for next year. It becomes cumbersome for us to do easy tasks that are able to be done by the board.
Q: What are your plans where junior tech is promoted to senior tech? Should junior tech be paid?
AT: The distinction between junior and senior tech is simple: senior is someone that we know knows the building throughout without any additional knowledge needed, junior is someone that cannot do this stuff by themselves. We would like to be able to pay everyone, but junior gets paid in food vouchers. They can be trained to be senior in only a month and a half.
Thanks for joining us this evening. Join us again tomorrow at 6pm for the Executive Debate.

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