Amidst all the ‘disruption of the student experience’ caused by the strike, the LUSU sabbatical elections rolled around last week, and six new people have been elected to replace the outgoing officers. The results were as follows:
- President: Rhiannon Llystyn Jones
- Vice-President (Union Development): Matty Robinson
- Vice-President (Activities): Toby Wilkinson
- Vice-President (Welfare & Community): Emily Delaney
- Vice-President (Education): Ian Meeks
- Vice-President (Campaigns & Communications): Islay Grant
We note that Rhiannon Jones is the first woman to serve two terms as LUSU President, and the first person to serve two non-consecutive terms in any sabbatical LUSU post for nearly 40 years. She comfortably defeated sitting President Josh Woolf.
Many of the contests offered a standout candidate who had done their homework, were deeply experienced, and had a lot to offer.
The contest for the role of Vice-President (Union Development) was not one of them. The ‘ding-dong’ between the three candidates at hustings was so devoid of content that SCAN’s live-bloggers saw no point in fact-checking their answers because ‘they said nothing of substance’.
The contest for the role of Vice-President (Campaigns & Communications) had a standout candidate. That the student body instead opted to elect a candidate who ran on a whim; has no campaigns experience; believes experience isn’t important; wants to give student media ‘directions on what needs to change’ (we’re sure SCAN editors will be only too pleased to take direction from someone who doesn’t read it); and demonstrated zero enthusiasm or knowledge of any major on-campus issues, was therefore baffling.
The Vice-President (Education) race, in the midst of intense industrial action with staff working conditions at the forefront of everyone’s mind, was won by a candidate who thinks that a four day turnaround on feedback can work in all departments because it does in Physics.
Oh dear. Resentment is growing among students – the strike action, the current political discourse, the on-campus refurbishments, the lack of transparency from their union, the rises in rents and fees, and the cuts to services are just some of the causes. LUSU’s utter failure to weaponise this is bizarre. It’s raining soup, and LUSU is out in the yard with a fork. The golden goose is heavily pregnant, and they’re plucking it ready for Christmas dinner.
Readers might have thought that the atmosphere on campus would have lead to more candidates standing on an invigorating platform, and a couple of them maybe even winning. The students deserve better than the hollow, tepid, no-effort cacophony of ‘listening to students’ and ‘having an open-door policy’ and ‘bringing people together’ that it got.
So why they voted for it is anyone’s guess. We invite the candidates-elect to prove us wrong.
HUST NOT LEST YE BE HUSTED
Contributed by Craig Jones
This year’s LUSU FTO hustings saw a handful of candidates that (in my opinion) promised to truly change the Union and may well have seen it become a political entity once more, rather than nothing more than a front desk for management. However, the results have now been announced and only one of these four promising candidates has made it through.
Hustings were held in Barker House Farm on an evening of bar sports, resulting in the husting speeches being drowned out at times by cheers and shouting from the teams.
For the position of VP Union Development, candidates were asked what they understood the word ‘union’ to mean, to which none of them responded particularly well. A personal favourite was the answer that opened with ‘The student union is a collection of students…’. Something new every day!
The candidates for president were asked what their opinion on the UCU strikes and why they held these opinions. All candidates said they supported the strikes and when asked if they would come and show support at the picket line, all said they would ‘try and make it down’. Only two presidential candidates visited the picket line at all – one simply to hust to the students in attendance, and the other (Rhiannon Jones) to show support to the staff.
With the results in, it doesn’t look like the SU will see any massive changes any time soon… or maybe I’m too pessimistic…