When today's electoral council finally convened at 12.40pm, there were no objections to a procedural motion that election of ordinary members should take place by secret ballot. This enables the voting to take place by a college-wide electronic vote, whereas in the past it has taken place at the meeting. It is hoped that this will increase turnout, and make the voting body more representative of Imperial's multi-campus student body rather than whichever groups could turn out in force to that meeting.
Vacant posts were opened to the floor: two candidates for ULU Council stood but other vacanices remain.
The hotly-contested Ordinary Member of Council candidates were up first. 28 candidates are competing for a total of 16 places with some quotas. They each spoke for thirty seconds, then once they had all spoken three questions were taken from the audience.
The questions were:
1) What difference can the Union make to issues outside of the college?
2) Have they been to council before, and in light of either answer to that why are they standing?
3) What is the importance of BUSA to the Union?
Students spoke in alphabetical order first, then answered questions in the reverse order. What they said is summarised here:
Omar Abarra, an engineering student, spoke of "A voice for students" and "Power to the People." He left the meeting before his turn to answer questions.
Lucy Abbott, a 5th year Medic, spoke of her involvement in clubs and societies, and said electing a clinical medic would make the Union more representative. She said the Union's apolitical stance was a good thing, making it open to anyone. She was an ordinary member of Council last year, and wanted to build upon that experience. She was not a sporty person and as such had no experience of BUSA but saw the importantce of a national-level league.
Kevin Bez, a first year medic, spoke of the multicultural nature of Imperial, saying that he wishes to "Further international communication" and increase activities for overseas students. On the first question, he mentionned tuition fees, but also the ongoing Visa Charge campaign. As a Fresher, he had not attended Union Council before, but had been active on his School Council. He said that BUSA gave a greater incentive by providing visions and goals beyond the Union.
Wai "Henry" Chan, a first year engineer, said that he was not familiar with the workings of the Union but would do his best to learn and represent students. He said the fees campaign was a good example of wider impact of the Union, but also pointed out that overseas students' fees are far higher, which he sees as unfair. As a first year, he has no experience, but is standing to serve students. He is as yet unfamiliar with BUSA.
Aaisha Latif and James Devine, two engineering students, could not attend but John Collins spoke for them, mentionning their experience within CGCU as well as involvement in clubs and societies. He declined to answer questions on their behalf.
Ingrid Ku, another engineer, also mentionned involvement in clubs and societies, and promised to listen to students' views and make sure they are heard. She said that the Union should be concerned with issues such as tuition fees and current problems with student loans, but not other issues such as the war. She also mentionned the Volunteer Centre as impacting upon the wider community.
She had not attended council before but wanted to make sure that all voices would be heard. She said that BUSA was important as a sports league, and a way for Imperial to improve it's name and win trophies.
Christopher McIver, another engineer, mentionned involvement in Union activities including Dramsoc, "Live!" and RAG, and pointed out that he had actually turned up for Hustings. He disagreed with some candidates, saying that the Union should only look at outside issues if they are relevant to students. He had only been to council a couple of times but was involved in other committees such as RAG. He also disagreed with most other candidates regarding BUSA, saying it was often better to keep sport within the Union.
Andre Daniel Morais, a first year life sciences student, said he would not make any promises he couldn't keep but would instead take up whatever views and opinions students passed onto him. Regarding wider issues, he said it was important for Imperial to look good to other colleges. He had never been to Council as he is a first year, but had friends who had been. He said BUSA was important for sport, culture and fun.
Henri Ozarovski, a Postgraduate engineer, said that there were two types: the first, like himself, were outgoing and enthusiatic; the second type, such as Mustafa, knew about the procedures; and both types were needed in the Union. He left before answering questions.
Simon Pascoe, a physical scientist, said that he does loads of things for the Union, usually too much. Again he mentionned clubs and societies, but especially arts which he felt were often under-represented. He cited tuition fees, RAG and CAG as wider issues, but still relevant to students. He went to Council when top-up fees were announced and for 2003 budget appeals. He said BUSA was important for Imperial's reputation in the Good University Guide, and for participation.
Sebastian Pearce cited his role as Boat Club Captain and involvement in ACC, then advertised the boat club's session that afternoon. He said clubs and societies were the main issue for him. He went to council for 2003 budget appeals, which he said was messy and he would like to move things to a vote more quickly. He said BUSA was important as it is being included in the Good Universities Guide.
Sid Singh, an engineer, emphasised his role as Guildsheet editor and founder of the Guildsheet "Sh*tSquad." He said the Union should concentrate on student issues, not world issues. He had not been to central Union meetings before but was involved in CGCU.
Tom Tibbits, a Postgraduate physical scientist, said that he has worked outstandingly hard for the Union in previous years, mentionning bicycle racks and fairtrade products as important issues.
He disagreed with Council's decision last year to reject an Anti-War motion for not affecting "students as students."
Sumrit Bola, Daniel Carrivick, Amanda Clarke, Samah Elsayed, Jason Zhe Shan Ho, Sebastian Juneman, Kian Sing Low, Morten olesen, Hamish Pearce-Danker, Marcus Rafla, Ashkan Salamat, Narmadha Thayalasekaran and Tim Weinert-Aplin and New Election are also standing.
Two candidates for Ordinary Memebrs of Trading and Retail Committee were present. Daniel O'Connell said he had been bar staff for two years and so saw most of what went on and the various problems; he would like to see the bars redesigned, as a big long-term job, with tall tables, more subdivision and less indescriminate use of the television.
Thomas Tibbits said falling turnover was a great concern as trading helped fund other activities. He suggested a loyalty scheme for clubs who use Union bars. He said he would like to see the walls repainted a lighter colour and furniture removed from in front of windows to make the bar lighter, and only use the television for big sports events.
Wai Chan, Edmund Hunt, Dan Lehman and New election are also standing, making a total of 5 candidates (plus RON) for 4 positions.
Pranati Joshi is the only candidate other than RON for the Student Development Committee. She said that students are here to learn, including skills that may not be covered within their degree course, and promised to listen to student feedback on training provided by the Union.
For House Committtee, three candidates were present.
Martin Chong said he would not hide his involvement in Dramsoc, as it means he knows the Union Building and what problems users experience, highlighting lack of storage space. Samuel Richards said he was involved not only in Dramsoc but as IC Radio Technical Manager, so knows the building well. Duncan Richmond said his involvement in Dramsoc meant he practically lived in the Union building, so knew about pros and cons and in particular safety issues, but appreciated that other clubs have problems too. Dan Lehman was not present but asked John Collins to speak on his behalf, saying he was no longer involved in DramSoc and so was the only non-Dramsoc candidate. Anthony Brown had sent apologies due to a football match, and Steven King sent apolgies as he was rigging for a party. Altaf Daya and New Election are also standing, making 7 candidates and RON for 4 places.
Voting will take place online from tomorrow (Thursday) until Sunday. Manifestos will also be available online.