The QMU Presidential Debate is an opportunity for the potential presidents to give their manifestos first-hand, and ask for you yo ask them questions on their policies. Watch our footage from the event here and see our live blogging from when it happened.
QMU Presidential debate is about to begin. Candidates will soon take to the stage.
Anticipation builds as the candidates will momentarily take to the stage.
Seats are starting to fill up here at Qudos, as the prospective presidents get ready for their debate.
Prospective Presidents have now taken to the stage, the chair of the debate is the former QMU President Colum Fraser.
Opening statements are about to begin, the focus tonight will be on debate, with individual questions for candidates being saved for tomorrow. Candidates will have 2 minutes each to talk about their presidency.
Alice Stearn is up first.
Alice talks about what kind of President the QMU needs, noting her history as serving with 4 Presidents and her former roles in the QMU including Honorary President. She believes that the QMU is under appreciated on campus, and as president she would not let that continue.
Chris wants a Union that gets all of the students at the University to come and celebrate. He doesn’t want a union that tries to change the world but a union that will to cater to it’s members, fearing that the QM will not exist in 10 years if they fail to reach out to new members.
Max Sefton takes to the stage, having not prepared a speech beforehand, he speaks openly about what he feels concerning the QM.
He believes that the QM needs to be unique. He believes that his role as Publications Convenor has taught him how to lead and think critically. He didn’t see himself running for President, but found that he has more to contribute and he can achieve this as President.
Alice Stearn says she believes all the opening speeches were well done, in response to Chris’s comment she says she believes all candidates are honest candidates with nothing to hide
Chris agrees that all the candidates are strong this year, and he admits that he has had less experience than the others, and will celebrate what has happened in the last few years, but he is here to change what will happen in the future
Max Sefton notes how nearly all of the members of the audience were once Freshers’ helpers, but his involvement with QMunicate has involved many new members and he hopes to extend that across the QM
Q: What is the main priority for this year?
Chris: Engaging first years to ensure that the QM survives.
Max: To ensure the survival of the union.
Alice: Presenting a cohesive imagine of what we are, and what we are here to do.
Chris mentions that he will be the only one who will be a student at the end of the year, and he will bring in new ideas
Alice replies that it does not matter what year you are in, but more experience will be useful.
Chris retorts: we need new ideas, and someone who is not afraid to try new things and that is what he supplies as a candidate
Alice believes that her relationship with staff and other members of the board will benefit her as President.
Chris believes that the fact that he will be a student means he can be more engaged.
Alice believes that the role of president benefits from experience and change, clashing with Chris’ belief that a younger candidate with time left after their role gives it a fresh perspective. Chris believes that his youth and new ideas mean an actual change for the union instead of re-hashing old ideas.
A successful weekly club night is something that presidents have attempted to establish over the years. Other universities use outside companies – what do you think?
Max says that the QM put a lot of work and time into a club night that is not regularly attended. He believes closing Qudos on some nights as “busy breeds busy.”
Alice is wary of opening the QM up to national club nights. She points out that the Glasgow School of Art have monthly nights that work well. She says that QM volunteers are bogged down by a club night, but she would be open to it.
Chris seems almost offended; he emphasises the role of uniqueness and how the students’ views are more important than “its cash registers”.
Max, disagreeing with Alice, puts forward that it’s identity that’s important and that they couldn’t take the Art School’s plan and take it into the QM.
Max wants more live music, but the latest debacle with Professor Green cancelling a show amid rumours that this was due to low turn out may indicate that something else needs changing. Can the QM attract people even if the names are quite big, like Professor Green?
Alice says that the QM could possibly bring people into the QM on a Saturday, but fears students may not come.
Chris really pushes that this is a real attitude problem of the QM that services aren’t open on the weekend, referring to the example of the library and gym.
Check out our article on the failings of the QMU! What do you think? https://glasgowguardian.co.uk/2015/03/02/how-the-queen-margaret-union-is-slowly-killing-itself/
How far do you think that the QM can be enclosed in the Learning and Teaching Hub that will be right next to the union and the QM’s involvement in the Western Development?
Chris suggests cooperation to gain trade, to get people to use both services. He continues to emphasise the role of new students.
Max disagrees and believes that the QM can plan ahead, especially as it will be subject to new rivals.
Alice reiterates offering better services. She struggles to be coherent, arguing that the Fraser Building didn’t damage the QM’s food sales.
What is the QM’s biggest hurdle?
Max: Students not being involved. Clearly not doing enough for first years and international students.
Discussion about first years and branching out. The special First Year CSR seats were cut.
In a half time analysis:
Alice has been solid in her convictions, Max has been wavering occasionally but been solid, whilst Chris has shown how he wants to radically change the QM and how it’s run.
On the opening of the Hive, how will they compete?
Alice says that we should focus on what we provide. This is the problem, people aren’t attracted by what the QM has, this has been acknowledged.
Alice thinks meat free mondays were a good idea, that’s the carnivore vote gone.
Chris thinks home students engage for lunch, does no one makespacked lunches anymore?
“Avoid confrontation” – severe lack of debate then.
Events earlier in the day? Unfortunately the Board of Managment is mainly students, who will be in seminars and lectures. Not able to staff.
Chris’ point about not engaging with home students not wanting to engage may defeat his point about QM not being able to reach out, does it not?
Q: New students accounts for 1/3 of students, home students are difficult to engage, how do you overcome this:
Max: *elusively pushes towards events during the day and less focus on events around alcohol (“Important for our lives as QM regulars”)*
Chris: Not really sure he wants home students, he says home students have less interest in both unions. Engage people who don’t want to be here
Alice: pushes away from events during the day, e.g the quiz being put later. She completely contradicts Max’s answers, but pushes “event that they cant get at home”. Not really a response.
Chris: Home students want food, revamp the food factory, make it our strengths and at least have that for the home students
Alice: Loves her meat free mondays
Alice wants life members to feel they can give something back, the QM has been terrible at this. Anne Anderson University VP has barely been engaged and she was a board member, which gets her free life membership!
Both Unions nearly exclusively for freshers week through the same agency, max speaks about unique events for freshers week, but does not address this problem
alice places emphasis on live and exciting music, then jokes about Colin taps her off the stage
Chris points out that honorary’s should have real world experience not be people who are getting rewarded. That must sting for Stearn, current Honorary President. Its something often said but rarely acted on but is none the less correct.
Alice: We do have a life membership group, but its underused. Dont just give em money
Max points out there’s no benefit to life membership, which is a bit of a bad advertisement for access to the building
Alice is against the GUU model of life membership. She claims the Old Guu’ers are tapped for money on the regular, if you follow most of them in the media, you’ll find they have plenty to be tapped and perhaps they’re happy to give it?
Why not ask former Life Members for a bit of extra cash? There is no harm!! It’s an interesting thought.
Q; Holding on to life members and keeping members after 1st year
Alice: didn’t anything very useful.
Max: focusses on a big life membership drive for postgrads and leavers
Chris: usually a selection of old convenors, pushing for people who have been in the real world for a while to bring their experience into the union. But he still says you shouldn’t focus on life members.
Max: No benefit for life members but reliving old memories. A facegroup and newsletter is the way forward
Chris points out international students don’t drink as much. Tom Kelly says technically I’m an international student and I’ll drink you under the table son.
But he points out QM should engage with them, which it rarely has done since the failed QM international society projext
New students and international students are a minority within the union, how would you counter this?
Chris: We really need to find out what the Freshers want, its a point he drives continuously. Not making decisions on their behalf
Alice: By taking pointers from Cali, organising trips for international students and getting them engaged in the summer
Max: Disagreeing with alice “We arent a tour group organiser!”
Almost certain there are international students who are closely connected to the QM, why not ask them?
The chair asks people to go to tommorow’s hustings, but you can watch our live stream which will be in better quality tommorow as the tech fairies won’t be on strike
Max Sefton says he’s delivered every point in his manifesto this year ,but still has to ask the audience to clap
Alice Stearn wants the union to communicate to a member its vision, get staff involved more in the more clerical aspects of the union, she wants the volunteers to feel more appreciated. She’s certainly targeting the QMU core, who I guess are the only ones who vote anyway.
Chris Steven comes out with a Karl Marx joke, wow. I did not expect that…
Q; Whats your vision for the QM union
Max: Makes valid point about accessibility, but the QM is already very accessible and has an accountable board already. Then he tells the audience to clap.
Alice: talking and listening and a clear image. Alice reinforces her long 5 year experience again, as a very subtle dig to Chris.
Chris: Chris wants respect! Notes how Karl Marx would be spinning in his grave at the QM. Odd.
Steven wants a union that doesn’t cut things and respects members. He’s not brought up his concrete ideas up much tonight. What about the freshers’ club night and moving Magic to Saturday?
The chair’s beard gets appreciation from the Guardian’s own beard-king Ali Begg.
Thanks very much for tuning into our QMU live blog and video stream! Apologies for any technical errors experienced, and we hope you’ll join us tomorrow for the QMU hustings!