The three hour hustings opened with speeches by Sahar Mirahdi and Beth Rowley for Deputy Publications Editor. Sahar emphasizing publicity and the need for an open contribution system and Beth Rowley focusing on quality, specifically grammar and the supportive side of her role. Two very different visions of the Orbital emerged from Jack Radcliffe’s and Jessica Freeman’s speeches, one more focused on societies and sports activities, which looked to be more student based, and the other an Orbital that was more journalistic, reported more news and provoked more debate and controversy. Cath Nelms focused on communication and creating a solid image for the Orbital. Then the Insanity Asst. Station Manager and Station Manager candidates rounded off the media side of the evening. Shadi-Sade Sarreshtehdarzadeh and Chris Fitch spoke on the future of the station and Tim Stephens was asked by President Joff Manning why when forming next year’s budgets why he shouldn’t just cut Insanity. Tim replied that despite low levels of people listening the station provided a wonderful training ground for students at Holloway.
The Sabbatical speeches started with Mary Dunn and Lindsay Topham both laying out their credentials for the position, their various involvements in student activities and personality traits. The two speeches were drastically different, with a passionate, fast paced, emotional speech from Mary, and a measured, slow paced, balanced speech from Lindsay. The focus centered around continuing to increase and improve support for our great array of societies and clubs. Mary spoke of gaining greater recognition for societies and clubs, with things such as Edinburgh, and Lindsay spoke of the importance of Student Development.
Emilie Seager standing uncontested for VP Communications and Services was not given an easy time, with tough questions from the audience. Her lack of design and media experience was pointed out, especially considering this is the main part of her position, she responded saying her father worked in design and she had grown up around it and would learn very fast. Joff Manning asked why the union shouldn’t just remove the position and employ a marketing manager, Emilie replied by emphasizing the need for students to remain in control of their media and services.
Then the most hotly contested position, VP Education and Welfare. All four candidates made passionate, emotive speeches focusing on various aspects of Student Welfare, with specifically Rebbecca Clarke talking about accommodation and the university’s mattress policy and Adam Cadoo talking about Student Safety. A incisive, intelligent, question from current VP Education and Welfare Marcus O’Shea tested all the candidates. It was asked if when in your office if there was a queue of students needing help, one with plagiarism problems, one with accommodation problems and a girl who believed she was pregnant, which order would you seem them in and why. All candidates said, pregnancy, accommodation and the plagiarism, though David Moss commenting on the pregnancy was not well received, he said he would send them to the health centre because girls sometimes just think there pregnant. One student who wishes to remain anonymous commented ‘ I was shocked by the flippancy of the reply, and the lack of sensitivity, not qualities I expect to see in a potential Welfare Officer’
Then finally the Presidential Race, not quite John McCain versus Clinton, but Liz made illusions to Hilary perhaps to encourage female support, and Chris Chapman’s opening to his speech added some American glitz to the proceedings. Chris opened with the M&S advert tune, stating this is not just any president, this is Chapman for President, Chris was balanced, professional, amusing and held the crowd well. He spoke specifically on Commercial Services and Student Safety, he envisioned a union that delivered to its students. He also promised to support those societies greater who raise their own funds through sponsorship and fundraising. Liz, though less composed, this included a trip on the stage, made a good speech which promised a transparent and accessible union, a more professional outfit which students felt more confident in. An interesting start to the election season which will hopefully usher in a team of candidates which can further improve our union.