Guilds hustings proved to be a useful method of gauging the candidates, with a variety of experienced hands asking the questions. Attendance was poor due to a lack of advertising, however the candidates got a suitable grilling and Live! was, as ever, on hand to make note of any important points. Originally in the dump which used to be dBs, hustings moved outside to take in the sunshine.
Vinno Bala, standing for Honorary Secretary, spoke about his plans for next year, including increased sponsorship for the Freshers' Ball. He praised Nick Simpson's work this year, but was later asked if he would criticise Simpson for anything - to which he replied "he can get a bit grumpy". The other candidate, Nuri Purswani Ramchandani, did not attend.
Failed DPEW candidate Aditya Narayanan was also left to speak by himself, as Sam Piper had to give his apologies and attend a meeting. Narayanan noted that he lacked experience in CGCU, but that he would like to focus on issues such as dyslexia and those with learning difficulties, highlighting to lecturers the need for additional support. He also praised the buddies scheme this year, indicating that it had been useful to him - buddies schemes were organised at a departmental level this year, rather than by the (mostly absent) welfare officer. Narayanan refused to commit to how much time he would spend in the office, preferring to vary it based on what needed to be done.
Alex Grisman and Leong (Kevin) Lo went head to head in the AAO (Taught) hustings, both showing their relevant experience within their departmental societies. Both have been involved with CGCU for two years, with Grisman now Aero Chair and Lo as CivSoc departmental representative.
Edward Judge was the only candidate for VPA to speak, Salma Begum being absent for the proceedings as she was attending a Staff Student Committee meeting in her department. He spoke about better advertising for events, building on the successful ones this year and adding more. He stated that if there was a body of support for a particular event then he would be happy to run it, but that support was key. More involvement with RAG was a priority, with a return of the Barbershop Quartet and Hit Squad.
Vice President (Finance and Societies) also sees the return of failed 'slate' candidate for DPFS, Andrew Holland. Current BioEng President Michael Chan was standing against him. The slate appear to have done less research for Guilds than in the ICU elections, with Holland estimating an annual turnover of nearly £1m for CGCU. The actual figure is closer to £100,000, with around 10% coming from ICU. Chan was closer, estimating around the right figure. Both committed time in the office, with Holland indicating he intended to be there most lunchtimes and also some hours in the evenings. Chan said he would not commit to a set number of hours, as one hour of intensive work is preferable to two hours working inefficently, but indicated that he would make himself available as needed.
Joseph Jezic von Gesseneck returned for a second shot at Guilds President, having lost to RON last year, on a platform of change. Current Guildsheet Editor Tristan Sherliker is opposing him, acknowledging the problems Guilds has had this year but pledging to continue the traditions.
Jezic von Gesseneck spoke eloquently, giving a far more convincing performance than last year when his speech resembled something at the United Nations. He far exceeded his allotted time delivering six points over several minutes. He called for more students to be brought in, to focus on being a great faculty union rather than protecting the historical activities. As part of reforms he believed Guildsheet should be reduced to an events diary and published more often than monthly, so students had events "in their pockets". On the finance side he was seeking a 20% reduction in expenditure, targetting the Lord Mayor's Show due to its high cost.
Sherliker opened by stating that he understood the problems Guilds had faced this year, with a number of officers not pulling their weight. He looked forward to having a real team next year and mentioned his conversion of Guildsheet from a newsletter to a magazine, in an attempt to change its image. His aim was to continue the traditional events by ensuring his team were working together over the summer, hoping to restore previous successful years.
In questioning Jezic von Gesseneck again re-iterated his desire to stop entering the Lord Mayor's Show on the basis of cost, however current Lord Mayor's Show Co-ordinator Ashley Brown responded to Live!:
"I find it disappointing that this candidate did not discuss his views on the Lord Mayor's Show with me before hand. The LMS generally produces a profit, which has previously paid for office refurbishments and this year is expected to fund new computers. It may cost a lot to enter, but generates thousands of pounds of profit for the union which is invested in new equipment. I have concerns about how he would intend to shut down the activities of an active and profitable Union club."
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