LUSU Elections 2022 Hustings: What went on? Part three

Part three of our LUSU Hustings coverage

This article is a further continuation of our earlier coverage of this year’s LUSU Hustings which can be found here. 

On Tuesday night, LUSU held a Hustings for students to find out more information on this year’s candidates.

The candidates were able to introduce themselves, their policies, and answer questions from the audience.

The vote for this year’s SU Elections opened on Wednesday at 10 am, and will close today at 3 pm.

More information on all the candidates can be found here and here.

VP Union Development

Three candidates are running for VP UD, Callum Slater (he/him), Henry Blackburn (he/him), and Ciara Sowerby (she/her). Henry opened by explaining how he already works with SU Living so has pre-existing ties with the union. He believes the SU should be student focused, stating “elections aren’t fair” as we don’t all have access to the same information. Henry said “no wonder people hate the SU” and acknowledged the accessibility issues that students with disabilities face. Henry also says that he doesn’t think that elections should be the only times we see the officers.

In Ciara’s opening she highlighted how if elected she would place focus on climate change, and would set “climate” targets for the SU to reach. Callum’s opening covered that fact that since he’s been on County JCR for two years and claimed “I have built the SU that still exists today”. He explained that he’s on the LUSU trustee board, and puts students and the heart of what he does. His manifesto is built on solutions, with decarbonisation measures, a strategic plan, and would give students the opportunity to choose where the SU uses their finances.

When the candidates were asked about budgets, Henry responded that he would give students more of a say in where the money goes and make sure all services are accounted for. Ciara responded, “I know how to designate funds according to needs”, and would prioritise certain services, and Callum’s response included creating budget grants through participation procedures.

The candidates were also asked how they would handle Graduate Students moving to undergraduate colleges. Ciara said that she was against the idea of this as she believes that grad students only want to be a member of these colleges for the sports teams. However, this would take places away from undergrad students as most of these teams are oversubscribed already. Callum said he would make it the students’ choice and have conversations with the grad students about what they want, which is similar to Henry’s response in which he said he would commit to exploring it.

On the topic of college fees increasing, all three candidates seemed against this happening and suggested that if it were they would try to solve it. To conclude, Callum said “you can’t spell Lancaster without “Slater can”, Henry said he would ensure every election in the SU is accessible and that he “had a great real experience” and wants the student body to have a great experience too. Ciara closed with “I love JCR’s and the climate”.

VP Welfare

Vic Phillips (she/her), Will Owens (he/him), Molly O’Reilly-Kime (they/them) and Puru Sharma (he/him) are all running for his role, making it the position with the most competition. Vic opened and closed her hust by stating that if elected, she would act to tackle safety issues, create a network of mental health first aiders, introduce mandatory consent training, target the root of problems, make “Ask Angela” a standard in all bars across the city, ensure people are doing what they should be behind the scenes, and make use of the Sugarhouse for the three days a week it isn’t open as a club.

Will introduced himself as someone who has been a team leader at Sugar for three years, as well as being Welfare Officer on County JCR for a year, and improve welfare on nights out across town; including introducing an SU venue accreditation scheme, bringing spiking kits to campus, introducing a procedure in case of discrimination or welfare issues, and he wants to reestablish the Sugar welfare tent.

Molly’s opening and close included the fact that they have been a part of the Cartmel JCR, and is currently the only Welfare candidate working with the forums – which is apparently “50 per cent of the job”. Molly stated that 50 per cent of students have been subject to illegal practice by their landlords. Molly wants to ensure that people aren’t kicked out of nightclubs when they’ve been spiked and highlighted that minority groups the opportunity to talk about discrimination within the university. Molly also wants to hold transphobic lecturers accountable without the threat of being sued.

Puru opened and closed saying that he is the Amnesty International President, and knows how incompetent the SU is. He believes there are micro-aggressions against minorities, and wants to give societies the opportunity to raise money for the forums.

One of the big questions asked was how the candidates intend to handle the toxic environment that is associated with Students’ Union. Puru said that he disagrees with the premise of the question, but he accepts people’s opinions. Molly responded that they would look for practical solutions and that they believe that the toxicity is down to the rift between the student body and the FTO’s, but said that we’re all adults now, and whilst education is important it isn’t enough and we need to be doing more. Will encourages an open dialogue, saying that he would establish a forum in which we can discuss the exact societal issues. In her response, Vic said that she would aim to tell students what the SU values are, create a tighter bond between forums and JCR’s, and ensure that students from forums know they won’t be marginalised.

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