Question Time Roundup: LGBT+ Officer, Union Chair and Welsh Language Officer candidates

TODAY marked the start of canvassing for the Students’ Union 2014 Spring Elections, and with that the live Question Time events began.

Aber Student Media was present, and will be, at all the events.  As well as bringing you full live coverage from the events for full time officer roles, starting tonight, we will bring you a round up report from part-time officer events, all of which will be available in the ‘Elections 2014‘ category in the drop-down News tab on our website.

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Today featured Question Time events with the part-time candidates running for LGBT+ Officer, Union Chair, and Welsh Language Officer, and the reports for these are as follows:

LGBT+ Officer Question Time Event with running candidate Charlie Cruickshank:

Charlie’s Profile:

Because no student deserves to suffer in silence.

In the past 21 years of my life I have found that Aberystwyth University is the most inclusive place I have been and I hope that by standing for the role of LGBT+ Officer I can add to its tolerance and acceptance. If I am elected for the role of LGBT+ Officer I intend to increase awareness of
LGBT+ issues, increasing the support available for students with special needs and adding to the feeling of pride which has made our university what it is today.

QUESTION TIME:

Charlie’s opening speech: I want to help but have not had the opportunity. I would like to take part in the Union to make it more accessible, as well as helping people with disabilities and special needs circumstances.

I’d like to raise more awareness of Trans* issues in Aber, and I’d like to run campaigns throughout the year and become more active in the community, throughout Uni and the Students’ Union.

If people have issues, I’d like them solved as soon as possible, and would like people to find me approachable.

Q: Are there any specific national groups or campaign days that you think are important to your role?
A: Definitely working with Stonewall, as Hannah Stokes (incumbent) has done a great job. I’d like to work with various groups within the University, hopefully working with religious, political, and feminist groups to raise awareness. Campaign day wise, I am not too up to date on them but definitely want to look into it. I want to reduce intolerance.

Q: If elected, what campaigns would you want to focus on?
A: Definitely work with religious societies. Campaign to raise awareness to LGBT+ special needs issues they are ostracized on two fronts. Trans* awareness is also important, there is not much of that within Aber at the moment. I also want to work with women’s groups in Aber.

Q: What experience do you have of LGBT+ campaigning?
A: No experience as of yet. However, I have voted in the last elections. I identify as trans* lesbian, and have been trying to help raise awareness generally.

Q: How would you be inclusive of everyone in the LGBT+ umbrella, particularly those in the minority of that group?
A: I would be supportive of everyone running campaigns for all the groups whenever possible. Also, I would talk to people without breaking confidentiality agreements.

Q: If elected, how would you see your relationship with Aber pride society?
A: I would be speaking to pride whenever there’s an issue, liaising with them on any campaigns. If they want to do something its good because they’re the primary society, and they can offer advice and opinions on my campaigns.

Q: Do you think biphobia and transphobia are an issue in Aber?
A: In a sense yes, crude comments are particularly prevalent in regards to sexualisation. Bi and Transphobia are an issue, although I’ve only experienced few isolated incidents.

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Union Chair Question Time with running candidates Craig Price and Gareth Edwards

Craig’s Profile:

Why should I be Union Chair? Well, I cannot outright change the democratic process that the Union Assembly is but I can bring my own energy to the role. I am very efficient, organized and passionate about OUR Union! I can’t promise transparency but I can promise if you ask I will tell and explain how the Assembly works. I can’t promise a mass turnout but I can promise I will get out there meet people actually talking and explaining instead of assuming people know about the Assembly, as very few people do.

At this time, there is no manifesto available for Gareth Edwards.

QUESTION TIME:

Gareth Edwards was the only candidate present at QT, so following is the report:

Edward’s opening speech: I think I’d be good at the job of Union Chair because, looking around the room now, there are two people here, one of which has to be here and one who is running for an Officer position. It is the job of the Union Chair to advertise the Union, which I am already trying to do via Facebook in telling people this question time event is happening. As Union Chair I want to be able to take Union elections wider to the people and make them think it is important to turn up and vote.

I have had experience chairing meetings. I have chaired 3 meetings, one being the Royal Naval Association, I also chair the staff meetings of the Sea Cadet Corps where I am the Training Officer. I have a lot of management and leadership experience, and have had Officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College.

Q: Why do you want Union Chair?
A: I want to take an active role in running the Union and in the creation of Union policy, and make sure it is done in a fair and democratic way and supported by the population. I want to make sure it is advertised properly and that the GMs are chaired fairly, and that more people attend things like this, so that people can feel they’ve had their say.

Q: How many student assemblies have you been to this year?
A: None, because I did not know that any of them were happening, due to poor advertising. I know there is one on shortly after the elections, but feel they have been poorly advertised.

Q: Do you agree with Ioan’s ‘Bring back democracy’ motion at the last meeting?
A: Not being aware of what that policy is, I cannot comment on it.

Policy was explained by a member of the audience. The question was then repeated.

A: I do agree with the motion as it gives a wider range of people the chance to vote in meetings, compared to the limited number currently. This will reduce corruption at meetings, when there were limited people who could be influenced.

Q:What do you think is the best way to get students involved in democracy?
A: I don’t think there is a best way, but there are several ways of doing it. Bringing people round to thinking that getting involved can affect them as students and if they turn up and put their opinions forward that they can get more out of it than just moan about decisions made.

Q: Why do you feel there is a lack of students engaged in the students’ union?
A: Primarily I think the SU doesn’t do enough to advertise what it does for the students. There are lots of posters showing who the sabs are, but if you asked people what they did very few would be able to tell you. I think if the union took a more active role in showing what the union actually does then people would be more active and actively interested, and how it links to the student body.

Q: Is the Union democratic?
A: I like to think it is yes, especially with the move to GMs when students can see how things occur and affect them. Due to poor advertising the current system means the Officers essentially run it all.

Q: How would you look to reach students on other campuses?
A: The easiest way to approach them would be to actually go down to the campuses in person and making a visual appearance on that campus and not just at the Union. The Union should have a presence wherever the students are, and it’d be nice to have a building/café on these campuses, though this isn’t my department.

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The Welsh Language Officer Role running candidate, Rhun Dafydd was unable to attend the Question Time Event, and at this time no manifesto is currently available.

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Tomorrow (28th) hustings will take place for the full time position of Welfare Officer, which we will be providing live coverage for from 12pm; as well as Question Time events for the part-time roles Deputy Welfare and Campaigns Officer, Societies Officer, and Sports Officer.

Manifestos and more information will be updated in reports should they become available.

Manifestos currently available can be found in full here.