With the pivotal role of Students’ Union President up for grabs, Questions2Candidates drew a huge audience to 4W. With many spectators eager to see which candidate would best attempt to fill the infamous Jordan Kenny’s shoes.
Starting straight off with the candidates’ presentations it appeared that Lucy Woodcock, current Education Officer, provided a crisp understanding to the inner bureaucracy of the SU and the University. Meanwhile James Wilder provided his cookie cutter response of inclusivity and the provision of student experience with an impact. Roman Xia placed emphasis on international students and affordability for students, a running theme by him throughout the session. Mitchell Bate placed emphasis on freedom of speech and outlined the need for redirection for SU president policies.
Beginning with buses, candidates stressed the need for alternative routes with both Lucy and Roman referring to a much needed spread of student housing across the city and the subsequent need for transportation links to places such as Odd Down to facilitate this spread of living areas.
Wilder claimed to have already achieved one of his key manifesto points through the recent passing of policy: the purchasing of Score tickets online. Lucy – warily – replied that we are yet to see the success of this policy during peak times sales.
Lad culture was a topic of tremendous controversy, arguably one of the most heated that we have seen thus far. Mitchell Bate took the cake, arguing that Lad Culture is not a real problem and that campus is one of the safest places to be as a student. However, Lucy pointed out that it may be the safest place – to commit such crimes.
While Bate may be true with his claim to safety, his dismissive manner of such a prevalent issue that affects the fundamental security of students across campus is poor to say the least. This apathy was further personified with the question posed by a student who stated that she had been catcalled, groped and felt scared on campus, how can he choose to justify this position. Indeed, again this was met with a dismissive manner and the adamant refusal of lad culture being a prevalent issue to be called out on.
All candidates felt the need to further support students especially with more training and recognition schemes. Here Wilder took the lead by providing a potential solution as a Student Leaders Workshop to further train and inspire people who work tirelessly within the SU.
Inevitably the topic of space on campus came up, in light of the recent fight to freeze undergraduate numbers. Here again it was evident that it was Wilder and Lucy had the clearest ideas: demanding the complete freezing of numbers especially for post-grads and highlighted the importance of effectively utilising the space we currently have and the provision of information about free rooms available to students. Here Lucy showed her muscles, mentioning the Manvers Street development and her willingness to fight the university and the VC on the finances and its potential to further develop our university experience.
All in all, there was a strong turn out with some clear cut responses to topics that face students on an everyday basis. There were some controversial stances made by some candidates, however this would appear to be a cheap drag at attempting to stand out, for lack of any other qualities. While there some old tired statements that were continuously made throughout by some candidates, it was clear to those watching who the winners were.