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Bushby forced to abandon 'no salary' pledge

The presidential candidate has been forced to drop a promise to not accept a salary if elected following a ruling that the policy would be "social bribery".

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YUSU presidential candidate Charles Bushby has been forced to abandon a promise to not accept a salary if elected following a ruling that the policy would be a form of "social bribery".

Bushby initially pledged he would refuse the £15,000 sabbatical salary and redistribute the money to campus societies but dropped the policy after being threatened with disqualification by current President Tom Scott, who is acting as Returning Officer for the election.

Bushby defended the policy saying, "This isn't to benefit me materially, this is to benefit my fellow students of the campus and hopefully to improve the University. I want to redistribute the money to more needy societies."

Scott said the pledge would violate election rules and give Bushby an unfair advantage. He said: "[the policy] amounts to a form of social bribery - 'vote for me and I'll give you money'" and that "candidates who can afford to turn down salary would be at a significant advantage; there'd be nothing to stop someone with significant financial reserves saying 'I'll work for free'".

"We cannot allow candidates to campaign by getting into a 'price war'", he added. Scott ordered Bushby to drop the policy by 4pm on Friday or face disqualification.

Bushby confirmed that he would be financed by his parents for the duration of his presidency, saying "I've been fortunate throughout my university experience to be supported by my parents and that would continue during my term." Bushby's father is a successful California-based businessman in the software industry.

"I've had a lot of internships in the media industry and these have all been unpaid internships lasting 12 weeks, so I'm used to working for no money. It's something I'm not fussed about at all," he added.

Bushby denied that the policy would give him an unfair advantage over other presidential candidates whose personal finances would not allow them to make a similar pledge. He said: "I think when it comes down it, this isn't about buying people's votes, this isn't about social bribery, this is about benefiting the University... I think we're all on a level playing field."

Two other presidential candidates, YUSU Policy and Campaigns Officer Tom Langrish and Fusion President Tim Ngwena, were divided in their reactions.

Langrish said: "In my opinion the ability to donate £15,000 to the union is not what makes a good YUSU President. However I don't see why Charles shouldn't be able to make this promise, regardless of its relevance/irrelevance to the campaign. I am sure all candidates are wanting a campaign based on the issues that impact on students and not one based on cheap gimmicks."

Ngwena said: "If you can support yourself then fair enough but I don't think it should be something that you should put as a policy because it doesn't look at the underlying problems in the Union. We all come from different backgrounds and other candidates can't offer that sort of pledge. I personally couldn't offer that sort of pledge. I need to live also."

While saying he accepted the ruling, Bushby has promised to revisit the issue if elected.

"If elected I would strive not to take the money. I don't want it. I don't want to benefit materially from this, I want to work to make the students' union better and hopefully, ultimately, the University."

George Papadofragakis, a candidate for Democracy and Services Officer, confirmed to Nouse that he had also approached Scott with a similar proposal to donate 50% of his salary to the Union, but had been similarly cautioned.

Papadofragakis, who was informed by Scott that the YUSU salary amounted to "roughly the minimum wage", claimed that even without external financial assistance he could survive on half the salary.

"It'd be difficult but it's certainly possible. The message that I wanted to get across is that this sum would still keep me above the poverty line, while 13 million people in the UK live below it," he said.

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56 Comments

Anon Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

It's very easy to make these promises if you have a rich family to support you.

I'd only accept that if there was no such support available - in any other case it is simply an attempt to buy the elections.

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A-Non Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

As someone who has had to work to support myself the whole way through university, I find this sort of "charity" offer by a rich kid to be frankly just insulting.

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Ben McCluskey Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

"The two other presidential candidates, YUSU Policy and Campaigns Officer Tom Langrish and Fusion President Tim Ngwena, were divided in their reactions."

Don't forget Grant Bradley...

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Chris Northwood Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

At the time the article was written (before the candidates list was released) we didn't know Bradley was running - hence no quotes and the unfortunate error above that's now been corrected.

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Grant Bradley Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I'm a little slow to respond to this one, so I think we can spare Nouse any criticism.

Whilst I think it is incredibly admirable that Charles wants to donate the salary if elected, his ability to do so has somewhat complicated matters. I can understand why A-Non is disgruntled about Bushby's offer, every weekend, I travel to Manchester and back to work to support myself financially. But it's all a matter of interpretation, where others may see it as vulgar and extravagant I see Bushby's offer to be extremely generous.

However, if I were in Tom Scott's position, I would have to take the same stance. However you position this level of generosity, it can always be interpreted as social bribery and to maintain a level starting point, I think the right decision has been made.

For the time being, we should all be focusing on what the candidates can offer in terms of skills, abilities and policies each candidate can offer and if Charles is successful in his campaign, let him decide what he does with his salary.

Grant

Grant Bradley Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I just re-read that last paragraph... oops!

Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Just about to say the same thing, Ben. "The two other presidential candidates" isn't exactly fair journalism. And I think George Papadofragakis was the person who tried to make a similar pledge; difference being that his parents aren't wealthy businessmen and he was going to give his wage to charity, I think. Not promising that though!

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A. Catsambas Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

George clearly stated he would receive no external funding.
Even if this was not the case though, I think it is completely undemocratic that these candidates were not allowed to run their campaigns in the way they saw fit. Even if such an act was social bribery, the Union would still benefit from it.
After all, everyone uses all their assets to win these elections, and benefit the student body: fame, past experience, even gender (when running for ISA welfare, George and I were asked how we would cope with a position, for which women are generally better!).
Best,
A.

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A. Democrat Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Is there anything in the constitution about what a candidate spends their salary on?

I very much doubt it. Therefore, what gives the president the authority to disqualify somebody who has not broken any rules? A personal dislike of somebody's campaigning strategy should not be sufficient grounds to disqualify a candidate or force him or her to change it.

If this kind of campaigning is banned, then surely wacky promised such as those Mr. Scott himself was elected on (with no intention of fulfilling) should be banned as well? 'Social Bribery' could be attributed to so many different policies - "Vote for me otherwise you won't get a bar", or "vote for me otherwise you won't get a pharmacy" etc... Its called politics.

Mr Catsambas hits the nail on the head. Its up to the candidate to decide what is in their campaign, and nobody else, as long as it is within union rules.

Anyone here an expert on YUSU rules that could clear up whether this 'violation' is in the constitution?

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

The Returning Officer of an election is in charge of the election rules. Since the people aren't allowed to campaign yet, he is able to put in place any election rules. I wrote another two paragraphs but they were a waste of space so there we go :P

Tom Scott has the right to make it a rule but that doesn't mean it's a good rule. Still, it's his job to make the rules.

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George Papadofragakis Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I confirm that I have already made a very similar proposal before this happened.

In truth, I planned to return half my salary, not all of it.

I would not be in a position to receive any external help, so I would need the other half for accommodation and food.

The point that I wanted to get across is that even such a minuscule salary would still keep me above the poverty line, currently at PS5800 for a single adult. Thirteen million British citizens live below that line.

I would be donating 50% of my salary to charities, or return it to the student union to assist in the creation of student hardship grants, and I would be publishing a termly report listing every such action. This would not be a policy in itself of course, but merely a symbolic move.

Sadly, I was not allowed to go along with it.

However, I accept Tom Scott's judgment and I do understand that wealthier candidates could be easily making such promises in order to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents.

I may not consider myself as one of them, but Scott's argument is quite clearly valid.

[1] http://www.poverty.org.uk/01/index.shtml

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Alex Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Bit rich for Tom 'I'm going to be a pirate president!' Scott to tell people not to make campaign promises that undermine the process.

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Charles Bushby Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

My policy of redistributing my salary within the union's clubs and societies, it is neither aimed to bribe anyone into voting for me, nor has it got anything to do with the financial situation of my parents. It is a measure I feel appropriate at tackling the short term problems some of the clubs have experienced due to a cut in their YUSU budget, while the real issue needs to be addressed. From my experience with the Boat club, who's budget got cut to the extent that they can no longer afford to insure neither their boat house, nor the boats themselves, I know how a tight budget can be rather crippling and, while an increase in YUSU's budget allocated for clubs and societies is needed. I had hoped re-distributing my salary will provide them with at least some sort of acceptable financial grounding.
Finally, it is far from my intention to run a "vote for me and I'll give you money" campaign as Scott unfairly suggested. Had I been allowed to continue with this policy, the clubs and societies would have been allocated some of my salary regardless of whether they voted for me or not. The policy is designed to improve the situation of any member of a club or society and I do not understand why it provoked so much debate."

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I don't think Scott suggested that you would run that particular campaign. He was just giving the reason that he has blocked this policy, namely that it is a form of bribery... since most societies and all colleges receive YUSU money then in effect redistributing your salary would give them all money. I don't think he's being biased against your campaign but would do the same to all other candidates and has done to George, at least, and I don't think that you're blocked from doing it, constitutionally at least, if you get President.

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Nonny Mouse Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Charles, how can you say "nor has it got anything to do with the financial situation of my parents" if that situation is how you could afford to do this?

It would also be a short-term patch that would leave clubs facing a cut in their "charity funding" next year!

George, there's obviously nothing stopping you donating half your salary to charity, though most people who do such things do not seek publicity on the back of it.

As with Charles' proposal, making "student hardship grants" for a single year doesn't seem much of a long-term strategy - even if it wasn't judged to be ultra vires.

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anon Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

In the US the candidate with the largest financial backing usually wins, obviously this is a different scenario but PS15,000 would benefit university societites greatly and any reinvestment should be encouraged. It's clearly a case of jealousy with our current joke of a president, who is (rather selfishly) abusing his power. Tom, you are not a pirate and it's not funny. If this was gossip girl you would be "so last year". A good president does all he can to help the university and Charles is displaying great credentials to do so.

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Charles Bushby Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I would also be prepared to take on a part time job, just like I worked at what used to be Toffs and is now Tru, to support myself as I am not completely financially dependent on my parents. Of course, this is only under the assumption that it would not conflict with my main task of heading the SU.

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Adam D Abbs Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I can see the hesitancy to give Bushby an "unfair advantage", but how do you define "unfair"?

Candidate A: looks good, well educated, well brought up (and therefore eloquent and confident), good at sports (so has lots of friends), has an "easy" degree (so has lots of time to spend campaigning and socialising).

Candidate B: is not fortunate to have any of the above, but is willing to not receive a salary because he can afford it.

Who would win? A or B? Who has an unfair advantage?

I think, at the very least, Bushby should be applauded for this gesture.

NB - Candidate B is not Bushby! Just a theoretical person to demonstrate the argument.

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Adam makes a good point. If my position was contested and I was running against a pair that was identical except that I am studying astrophysics and they are studying something with 2 hours per week of lectures, it's likely that they'd have more time to campaign.

Likewise the third-year students will have a tougher time than second-years or first-years. Even still, this is a pledge that other candidates can't make; not because they don't want to but because they can't. In other circumstances this is an unlikely circumstance - anyone could afford to live on PS7,000 per year since most of us are doing it already and travel expenses are paid for by the university. Living on nothing, however, sounds to me implausible unless your parents are happy to cover the entirity of your living expenses, which most (including many rich) parents aren't willing to do. So the reasoning makes sense, even if it seems harsh.

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George Papadofragakis Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

'Nonny Mouse' let me explain myself. In my comment I have only confirmed what Jason and Aris already said, i.e. that this was indeed my original intention.

The reason why I wanted to make this proposal in the first place is, as I said, for symbolic reasons. The point would not be the money itself, it would be the fact that I'd be putting myself in a considerably less favourable position to make that possible. The message that I wanted to get across is simple and it is that we should try to be the change we want to see in all levels of administration.

I accept the fact that my proposal was rejected and I can see the reasons why. I have not tried to create a fuss out of it and I would not even have mentioned it if this story hadn't come up.

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A. Catsambas Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Minor point: one theory states that the relationship Anon mentions is actually reverse: it is not the candidate with the greatest backing who wins, rather, the one who is most likely to win, is more likely to receive strong backing.

Secondly, Adam has a point, like I mentioned earlier: people have many unfair advantages. I do not see why financial status is the only one that should be blocked. After all, it is completely unconstitutional not to permit a campaigner for running the campaign the way they want to.
A.

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Chris Northwood Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Elections already have rules dealing with financial status - campaigning budgets are limited to PS50. The rules already try to set a level playing field for candidates who may not have as deep pockets as others so it's not all that difficult to see where Scott is coming from with regards to this decision.

The other examples you point out as being unfair are more difficult to fix, if not impossible. How do you ensure candidates have the same amount of time to campaign for example - sorting out disparity of workload hours between different courses isn't really something a returning officer can address.

imo, making things fair is not an all or nothing situation - just because other things can not be changed to make a level playing field does not necessarily mean that this issue should not be either.

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Campaigning budgets are limited to PS30, mon cher. And it was PS25 last year. http://www.yusu.org/democracy/elections/rulesandregs.html


And, personally, I would say that the only place candidates can advertise for themselves is on specific boards and have a maximum size on those boards. All posters would also be uploaded to a website for the cause and the elections as a whole would have a lot of extra postering but each candidate would have the same quantity. Everyone from the same position could only campaign publicly under specific circumstances though each could approach societies or committees if they would like to. Having a boat would be way out of the question.

It would make things fair but it would obviously kick up less of a fuss about elections. Having daily sections in which candidates are allowed to answer questions, i.e. question time in each college, specific positions in different colleges. It would also force candidates to head out to Halifax, etc, which would be good.



I thought last year that things were awkwardly organised and after seeing how tired some candidates looked at the end of the time, it seemed like a harsh system. Even still, people don't complain so I assume that the majority of students are fine.

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Kit Dixon Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I agree with Christ Northwood's point that this new regulation is in line with other regulations about campaign spending, but there is a more general point about how campaign politics should be conducted as well.

Each candidate has the ability to propose a range of policies, on any issue, Tom was elected on a policy to teach fencing to all sabs as I remember, but ANY candidate COULD have porposed that. Policies which rely on resources outside the reach of ordinary candidates should be treated with caution.

Here of course is where the argument about resources begins; contacts and experience are form of resources, and yet they are seen as perfectly legitimate, so why is money so taboo? The answer is where the resources come from. Contacts and experience are largely things which the candidate has built up for themselves (I conceed that parents can have influence on these too, however the most relevant contacts and experience for these roles, are gained at university); money is often a result of circumstances outside of the candidates control (this applies to both wealth and poverty). Thus by removing money from the equation you should have a contest which more fairly assesses the qualities of all candidates.

It has to be asked why the candidates would want to campaign on these policies; they could have just announced their intentions in their victory speeches on results night. I take George's point that it can be symbolic, and act as an example to others, but find Charles rational a bit harder to follow. His point seems to be that he wanted to use his access to these resources to show his committment to the union, this seems a bit of a cheap trick. Equally his intention of getting a part-time job is frankly insulting, YUSU Sabs command a full-time wage because it's a full-time job.

What worries me most is that finance is the least of YUSUs problems. (Even though I agree with Charles that the boat club is desperately under-funded)

College events are in crisis.
The YUSU constitution has been changed so often nobody (but Langrish) knows it...
...and yet YUSU structures still seem to be cobbled together compromises which please no one.
Halifax College is more segregated than ever.
Alcuin JCRCs bar campaign has been deserted by YUSU. (despite policy to the opposite)
The collegiate system is under threat.
YUSU seems to have become bar and profit orientated.

and amid all this a whole new half a university's being built. Many of these problems have been going on for years. No wonder after 5 years I've finally decided to graduate and get a job.

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Anonymouse Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

"Of course, this is only under the assumption that it would not conflict with my main task of heading the SU."

Knowing a few of the current Sabs and the ludicrous hours they often work, that probably wouldn't be possible...

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A. Catsambas Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Chris, the other factors that may cause an election to be unfair could be easily fixed. For example, campaigning could be limited to a single day. This way, having excess free time would cease being an unfair advantage.
I agree, however, that this is not a good solution. My point is, that since some unfair advantages are allowed, all of them should. Kit, your question is, "where do the resources come from". In the case of George, as he stated, he would not be donating his entire salary, and would not depend on external assistance.
Unfortunately, my friend's calculations show that it would be impossible to get by with half the salary. A candidate, however, could donate about 4.000 pounds of his salary, and still make a very decent living. Surely, this should be allowed, as it is by no means an unfair advantage, anyone could do it, regardless of his/her wealth.
Best,
A.

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George Papadofragakis Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

"Unfortunately, my friend's calculations show that it would be impossible to get by with half the salary."

Let me reiterate: 22% of the British population gets by with even less than that. As I said, it'd be difficult but it's certainly possible. And frankly, that's the whole point.

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

"College events are in crisis.
The YUSU constitution has been changed so often nobody (but Langrish) knows it...
...and yet YUSU structures still seem to be cobbled together compromises which please no one.
Halifax College is more segregated than ever.
Alcuin JCRCs bar campaign has been deserted by YUSU. (despite policy to the opposite)
The collegiate system is under threat.
YUSU seems to have become bar and profit orientated"

I know the new constitution fairly well, it's viewable and easy to learn. It hasn't been fully implemented yet so it's understandable that not everyone knows it but as of this academic year it will be finalised.

College events aren't really in crisis. There's bad planning at some and others have unfortunate (asbestos-related, perhaps) incidents but as a whole they are, generally, ok.

Alcuin's bar campaign hasn't been deserted by YUSU but, you're right, it does seem to be Courtyard-orientated a little. Likewise the collegiate system is definitely under threat, especially since the University doesn't seem to like giving colleges some of the facilities that students feel are necessary for each college to have. Halifax is still a big problem though I would say that YUSU can't really do anything about that.

And as for YUSU structures being cobbled together, it's fairly simple. There are the elections, which determine all elected members of the Union. The sabbatical positions have specific duties and responsibilities that are covered and are accountable to Council and the Trustee board, the former regarding policy and the latter regarding finances. UGMs have ultimate power, though the trustee board is able to block something as being ultra-vires, and therefore the common student is still able to override Council or the Sabbs by winning a UGM.

The bar, Your:shop etc. is run by the Services and Finance Officer (and will in future be under different leadership since we'll have a bar manager, union manager, experienced trustee board etc.); the welfare sections will be run by the Welfare Officer and are currently Ac&Welf... The rest, generally, is determined by the UGM "resolves" section since I can mandate the President to run a specific campaign instead of the Campaign Officer if I choose to.


I understand that there is confusion among general students and, frankly, YUSU's job is to remove it... but since a lot of students don't care then it's simply a matter of making sure the information is available and that people know what is (and isn't) run by YUSU.


Rory's pledged to meet each society about budget this year and the Courtyard means that more funds will be available (albeit that the bar will be paying itself back for 4-5 years first)... but there are still many financial aspects. Is the YUSU magic bus worth the cost? Should we have two campus newspapers instead of one or three? Why does YSTV cost so much? (answers: yes, probably and because it wins awards)

The finances are a major issue but it's not THE major issue and I'm sure that many other questions will pop up in the run-up to the election

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Jessi Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Aris,
limiting campaigning to one day would not prevent those with less time consuming degrees from spending longer preparing, although it would prevent constant flyering. Also I don't think the percentage of the student body voting is high enough that we could reasonably risk lowering the profile of all campaigns. I may be wrong here, just the impression I get.

George,
is the sabbatical salary tax free, and does it entitle one to exemption from paying council tax, rent, and water charges? If not I suggest you read your own links a little more closely. Second half of the first paragraph http://www.poverty.org.uk/01/index.shtml
Current minimum wage for an 18-21 year old is PS4.77, a 40 hour week at this wage with two weeks unpaid holiday per year would leave an annual salary of PS9540, same calculations for 22 year olds would leave PS11,460. Therefore I suggest that candidates be allowed to donate up to one third of their salary - this shouldn't exclude anyone willing to sacrifice personal comforts.
Jessi.

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Richard Mitchell Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

A few points of information for you all:

1) There is nothing in the constitution or the election rules & regulations that prevents anyone from campaigning on the point of donating a portion of their salary to charity (which the Union is).
2) There is nothing in the constitution or the election rules & regulations that specifically empowers the Returning Officer to disallow policies, only publicity.
3) There is no law that prevents a paid trustee of the Union from donating part, or all of their salary to a charity from which they receive their salary.
4) Any Ordinary Member may make a complaint about the election process which must be heard by the Returning Officer within 2 days of receiving it.
5) The decision of the Returning Officer following any complaint may be overturned by Union Council or UGM.

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Richard Mitchell Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Following up Jessi's question to George:
The salaries for principal officers are not tax-free gifts or stipends, but taxed wages.

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George Papadofragakis Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I am fairly convinced that it would be possible.

"Current minimum wage for an 18-21 year old is PS4.77, a 40 hour week at this wage with two weeks unpaid holiday per year would leave an annual salary of PS9540"

And the poverty line stands at 60% of that figure => PS9540*0.60 => PS5724.

If my proposal went through, I'd have to live on the cheapest accommodation available on campus. That would take a little less than half my remaining salary (PS7500/2=>PS3750), but would include heating, water etc. etc. To be honest, I am not 100% sure if I would have to pay council tax. Plus, charities are tax deductible.

The other half would naturally have to be spent on food, which is actually more than I currently spend anyway. 'Entertainment' and 'traveling' would of course have to be drastically reduced.

Obviously, I would have to think about the details more carefully if I was allowed to go with the idea, but I was not so I won't spend too much of my time worrying about it.

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

"2) There is nothing in the constitution or the election rules & regulations that specifically empowers the Returning Officer to disallow policies, only publicity"

Incorrect. The Returning Officer can disqualify a candidate from breaching any rules that has been put into place. He can't stop Charles from saying he'll do that but he can block any publicity that says it indeed... but he could also stop Charles from campaigning on specific days, etc., if he breaks rules. We'll have to wait to see what the final election campaigning rules state.



RE: George. "'Entertainment' and 'traveling' would of course have to be drastically reduced." - I believe that YUSU cover most of those expenditures anyway so it would mostly be accomodation, food and any drinking that you'd do, which I know isn't much. Since our loans are only about PS5,000-6,000 per year then I suspect most students could cope on half wage with a low-budget lifestyle. It would be difficult but possible.

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A. Catsambas Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I am sorry Jason, I really appreciate George's idea (and keeping in mind that his move is meant to be taken symbolically, the exact amount he would donate does not matter), but living on half the salary is simply infeasible - it's actually living below poverty line.
Consider: even with a very cheap rent of 50 pounds/week, you would have:
2600 (for rent) + 400 (roughly, for bills) = 3000. Removing half the salary, would leave George with about 7500, if I am not mistaken. Removing 3000 from that, would equal 4500. I do not think this is enough to live for a whole year, and note that all the above calculations assume a best-case scenario (no council tax, very cheap bills and rent etc).
Still, the point remains, the significance of this move is purely symbollic, thus, I believe that if George wanted to have this as a policy, he should be allowed to do so.
A.

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Dan Horsfall Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Firstly, minimum wage is not used to calculate poverty levels.

Relative poverty is defined as living in a household with a household income at or below 60% of the national median income. This raw figure stood at just under 14k in 2007 (and is unlikely to have changed much), though this does not really take into account regional variations. Moreover, the JRF here in York calculated a minimum income threshold that they believed needed to be reached in order for a person to maintain a minimum, socially acceptable quality of life in 2008; the JRF calculated this figure to be PS8216 (PS158pw) for a single, working-age adult.

Furthermore, those living on roughly PS19 per day (just over PS7000pa) are defined as living in extreme poverty.

I doubt that anybody living in uni accommodation (educated to degree level) and holding a sabbatical position with YUSU can really consider themselves particularly marginalised, socially excluded, or even poor - however much of their salary they donate.

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

PS4,500 is perfectly feasible, Aris. That's PS375 per month or PS87 per week. I don't know how much you eat but even I eat and drink less than PS13 of food and drink per day..!!

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Chris Northwood Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

You're forgetting income tax, which is about PS700 on PS7.5k. Plus, it's not like you can really find rent for PS50/wk any more.

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George Papadofragakis Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Clearly some details of this plan would first have to be finalised if the idea was originally approved by the elections team.

But regardless of whether the amount of money necessary would have to be PS7.5k or PS8.5k, the question remains the same - should something like that be allowed in the first place?

To be honest with you, the counterarguments that Tom Scott presented to me were pretty solid, so this is why I accepted the decision as final without complaining.

Unfortunately, it is clear that such proposals can be used to give privileged candidates an unfair advantage over less privileged opponents.

Personally, I did not intend to receive any form of external financial support - but to be fair how could a candidate honestly prove that? Are we only to rely on one's word?

A. Catsambas Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Feasible, in terms of not dying, yes. But, wouldn't one want to go out at all? Travel? And I do not assume YUSU would cover personal travel costs. Overseas students would also, presumably, want to visit their families back home. Do you suppose that they could afford to pay the tickets? British airways tickets are about 200 pounds or more!
Home students would also have to start repaying their loans. In other words,
no, it is not feasible to live with 375 per month. Again, I remind you that in my calculations, I assumed inexistent rents (unless you can find a room for 50p/week), and extremely low bills.
A.

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Chris Northwood Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Home students wouldn't have to start repaying their loans, the salary is not high enough.

But anyway, I would agree with Aris. I wouldn't want a sabb to have money worries, I'd want them to focus on their job without external concerns. The sabb salary is definitely enough to support someone comfortably, and is about the right amount.

Tom Flynn Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I think it's worth pointing out, that it's not a co-incidence that so many Union Sabbatical Officers end up acting as College Tutors (gaining a free room on campus).

Union Sabbatical Officers work 12-14 hour days, often 7 days per week, and are expected to be at things like college events, debates, society meetings etc in the evening.

In short, even with the full stipend money is tight, and there is absolutely NO WAY it could be combined with a part time job.

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Kit Dixon Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

My point about the YUSU constitution, is that we've never let a constitution stand long enough to truly evaluate it. I was put off running for a Sab position because the YUSU consition wasn't the same one that I'd know as a college vice-president, or later as a college treasurer.

College events are in crisis, and to be honest YUSU should either scrap them altogether, run central events and distribute the profits (a brave policy, but one I'd favour); or use the Courtyard to support college events.

"Alcuin's bar campaign hasn't been deserted by YUSU"; so how would you describe running a pound-a-pint night, in direct competetion with one of their two opening nights; when YUSU were mandated to prove the profitability of Alcuin bar?

When I said YUSU structures were a mess, I wasn't talking about the Sabs responsibilities, which are relatively well defined (the only major new distribution being the splitting of welfare which I fully support). I was talking about the various sub-comittees. Witness the way in which JCRCs pick events that future JCRC committees will run. The bias on YUSU committees to YUSU over colleges. The bizarre fact that Derwent events were advertised on YUSU postering before the Ents committee which decided when events were going to be run.

I agree that finance will always be an important issue, but cannot see how 15k will make any difference in terms of the YUSU budget. The repayments that the Coutryard has to make are in the words of one former YUSU sab "challenging", so whilst it will someday be a source of income we cannot expect extra funds from there for some years. The war that this exec. has opened up with Commercial Services is counter-productive, as no-one wants to see Goodricke or Vanburgh bar close (especially as YUSU simply could not finance a take-over).

Jason, you've raised a key point about funding campus media, at the last socities budget meeting (the much maligned final Burton-Bayley meeting) this was a key issue. I believe that YUSU spends too much money on diverse media, which could be merged, and I hope this will continue to be debated.

As I said in my earlier post, I'm leaving. I've enjoyed my time at York, and in the HCSA. There's alot of cynicism about people involved in college politics, but I hope that I've left the HCSA better equipped than when I joined it. It should be remembered that a serious percentage of the students voting for YUSU positions are like me, students who are leaving, and want to put in place people who'll bring the union forward.

Good luck to the new YUSU Council. Make us future graduates (touch wood) proud.

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Chris Northwood Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I'm not sure if it's possible to reduce media funding by cutting back the number of media societies. YUSU's grant only goes towards the printing costs of the newspapers, so whether it's 18 societies printing once a year, 1 society printing 18 times a year, or 2 societies printing 9 times a year, the cost is going to be the same; unless you're proposing also cutting down the number of times the newspapers print.

Merging together the other diverse societies... Nouse are still going to need their Macs and YSTV their cameras - there's no money saving there. Similarly with URY and YSTV, there's just no savings to be made by simply organisational reshuffles of merging societies together - you would actually have to start cutting back things like output and quality to start making savings.

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I wasn't saying that YUSU spends too much money on diverse media. Nouse, Vision, YSTV and URY annually win awards and the Yorker seems to have joined the crew. We've got fantastic media.

Granted that some of the other campus magazines don't win awards and cost a lot but that's a separate discussion and it's not a significant drain on the budget. It was just an example of the discussions people could have regarding the budget.

Estimated repayment date for the Courtyard: 2014. Not bad at all considering that Vanbrugh college hasn't repaid its initial costings yet (will do in the next couple of years, I believe!) I wouldn't say it's that challenging since the Courtyard can drop prices if necessary and since it's going to be the most active venue for years - especially since we elect Ents Officers to do things like this!

And I'm sure we'll all try our best to make you and any previous graduates proud of what York becomes! :)

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Dan Taylor Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Does no one remember Tom Scott's promise of "free cutlasses for all" in his election campaign?

What's the difference between this and alleged "social bribery"? The truth is that there is absolutely no difference whatsoever. This charitble gesture from Charles is designed to help the most needy societies continue to survive in a climate where funding has been limited.

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Neil B Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I can think of a different angle to this:

Why doesn't Charles give his parents a break by not taking his parents' money for a year if he wins?

I'm sure they'll go, "thank f**k for that, we have an extra PS15k a year of our hard-earned money to spend on ourselves! Whoohoo, Las Vegas here I come!"

There's some altruistic charity work for you, Charles. Meanwhile you'll also learn some proper lessons about independence and budget management.

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A. Catsambas Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Neil B, you are being unnecessarily offensive. Charles' parents pay for him, because they want to. I see nothing wrong with parents paying for their children if they can afford to do so, in fact, it is even better, because these students will graduate without a huge loan to repay.
A.

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

I don't think it's an issue at all if he's been doing a part-time job etc. It shows that he has a level of independence from his parents even if he doesn't need to. Frankly the argument should end - I doubt whether any candidate is doing it for the money so the point isn't significantly strong anyway. We'll see what people do ONCE they're elected! :)

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Grant Bradley Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

IF they're elected....
;-)

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Vote RON for everyone :P

Dirk Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

The task of a president is to allocate finite resources optimally. It follows that presidents and their proposals should be judged by this objective measure; the candidate who best uses what is available wins. It is fair for a president to propose to extend these resources if:
i) The proposal is realistic.
ii) The proposal is for a sustainable strategy of increasing external, and not personal, investment in the union.
I think that for a candidate to pledge to extend these resources by donating just PS1 changes the entire competition. The rational decision of the voter is now to select the candidate who donates the most, the rational strategy of the competing candidate is now to pledge to donate PS2 and this leads inductively to a competion on the basis of the existence of personal funds. This leads to a situation where the richest candidate and not the candidate with the best policies wins. This just has to be wrong.

Furthermore, whether donating the salary is fair or not, what would PS16000 do, anyway? Would it be allocated to specific areas, like the boat-club, or more generally into the YUSU fund.

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Charli Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

For once I actually agree with Dan Taylor...

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Tom Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Have any of you got any idea of how the Union budget is worket out?

The Union has to go to the University to request a block grant each year. This grant will include money for payment of staff (including, but not limited to, sabbatical officers), for societies, for sports teams, etc. etc. It's carefully considered and argued through each year, and the University awards money on the basis of how much it is needed - as it should, if it comes down to a choice between extra stuff for societies and increasing educational provisions. If a society/club can make a good enough case that it NEEDS money for stuff that doesn't violate ultra vires laws, and can put together a decent proposal to finance committee in time, then there is no reason that it shouldn't get it.

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Jason Rose Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

The University doesn't cover society budgets specifically. The Union as a whole is given some money from the university (ok, a lot. Not all of their money though, with the Courtyard, Your:Shop etc.) but it's not "hey, Tanning Soc want some oil. Here's another PS20 on your budget, YUSU" ;)

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Sam Bayley Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

Something I might have noticed if I was returning officer...

"If elected I would strive not to take the money. I don't want it. I don't want to benefit materially from this, I want to work to make the students' union better and hopefully, ultimately, the University."

So does this mean Charles has or has not dropped this policy? Doesn't seem all that clear cut to me...

When I was a sabb I did work full time hours for the Union plus a part time job on Saturdays... it was hard work but not impossible, and more to the point I needed the money! And I would have been very annoyed if an opponent was using their financial backing as a campaign tool - by all means donate the money to the union once you're elected, but for the meantime pipe down about it.

Anyway, best of luck to all this year's candidates (are you SURE you want to do this?) and play fair...

Sam Bayley - YUSU Socs & Comms 07-08

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Ben Edwards Posted on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

This is moronic - did 'vote for me and I will give you all cutlasses' not count as exactly the same thing?

The analogy of kicking the ladder from under ones self comes vividly to mind Mr. Scott...

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