The Queen Margaret Union (QMU) held their Autumn hustings on the night of 10 October for students to pose questions to the candidates for each role. Overall, eight candidates stood for the six positions, with the role of Former Student Member being unopposed. Originally there were nine positions open to candidates, however, no one applied for the three representative positions only open to first year students.
With a relatively small turnout, estimated to be less than 40 people, similar questions were posed for each of the positions.
Candidate for Current Student Representative (CSR) A, Polly Alice Russell quickly admitted that, despite being the only candidate to have experience in the QMU outside of being a fresher’s helper, her manifesto was the exact same as it had been when she ran to become a board member previously. During her time on the board, she admitted that she had been unable to implement anything, despite being on the board for six months, and so was hoping to return as a CSR in order to try again.
All CSR A candidates were asked how they would secure funds for their policies. Chloe Alarcon responded that she would need to talk to the social convenor, while Masa Senožetnik claimed that her policy of a musical bingo night would fund itself. Russell claimed that she would improve PR and Anoushka Kapoor said that she would introduce a one-off membership fee to achieve her policy pledge of a weekly TV show night.
When asked about their opinion on the biggest problem in the QMU, all candidates mentioned PR and the image of the union. Russell responded that the QMU has an "image problem", and she would resolve this through her own enthusiasm. Kapoor claimed that finance was the biggest problem, and she would resolve this by "tapping into the positive image" of the QMU through events such as Spectrum. Senožetnik agreed with the previous candidates, claiming the QMU has bad communication with the students, but she admitted that she did not know how to resolve this. Finally, Alarcon, being the last person with the microphone, simply agreed on PR. The issue of PR was prominent throughout the Q&A.
It was not long before another audience member asked about the solution and how they would win freshers over to the QMU. Alarcon’s suggestion of ensuring that more posters were displayed at Murano halls of residence was interrupted by a member of the crowd who said: “they are already up there”.
Next, questions were posed to individual candidates.
The first question posed was to Alarcon: did she mock trigger warnings in her online PR campaigns? She initially attempted to deny that she had, saying that her statement about trigger warnings was entirely serious, however quickly decided that she didn’t know and that she refused to answer. Alarcon was also asked about her policy of replacing the new club nights of Spectrum and Flux; she believes a different target audience should be reached. She responded that she just did not like either night, finding Spectrum to be homogenous and Flux to be niche and that there should be other options.
When questioned on her walking home scheme, Kapoor reiterated that part of her manifesto, explaining her idea. However, she seemed to then admit that she did not think it was a feasible idea, despite it being a major part of her manifesto.
Russell, when asked about why she didn’t utilize her six weeks as a board member, corrected her previous statement, claiming that she’d only had a single day on the board.
The candidates for Current Student Representative B were given questions such as, “what superpower would you have and why” and a two parter: “what Hogwarts house would you be in [part one] and what dinosaur would you be?[part 2]”.
The single candidate running for Former Student Member, Jonathan Telford, was asked how many pints he had that night. He responded four.
The results of the Queen Margaret Union by-elections will be released tonight at around 6pm. Voting closes at 5pm.