Web Exclusives Comment YUSU Elections 2018

York Sport candidates must shelve the rhetoric

Some would say that sport at York is wounded. They will not tolerate a sticking-plaster solution.

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With sales of Blu-Tack experiencing their inexplicable annual boom, each glazed surface a kaleidoscope of colour and promises, and a formidable list of Facebook group invitations rendering even the most successful campus recluse temporarily popular, YUSU election time, that changing of the guard circus, is upon us once more. With the starting gun already fired, five candidates will slug it out in the coming days for that poisoned chalice of York Sport President, three from within York Sport and two pretenders from elsewhere.

Emily Scott, Michael 'Stash' Leahy, Gemma Johnson, Michael Sneddon, Kath Mildon. These five people are tasked with persuading arguably the most cynical and demanding cross-section of campus society - our sportsmen and women - they are worthy of that fateful drag of the mouse on Election Day. The ladies and gentlemen in our sports clubs are not gullible; they must be convinced and they must have the best deal.

The thorny issue of York Sport membership looms above the campaigning like a darkening cirrocumulus. In the good old days, a President's legacy rested on which colour ribbon was attached to the Carter-James Trophy, not things are much more complex. Will this year's candidates pander to the popular vote and scrap the existing £40 fee? It would be the obvious election-winner, but would be easily negated by the discovery of a gaping chasm in finances on the first day in YUSU towers. The proposal of keeping it must be accompanied by concrete pledges for improvement and development that are innovative, not reactionary.

Current incumbent Alex Lacy pledged the resurfacing of the tennis courts and a pool/snooker room in the Sports Centre, so changes simply cannot appear immediately but they must be more than pipedreams. A convenient, but effective, middle ground might be to subsidise those clubs who don't require the indoor facilities on campus.

Like politics itself, participation looks set to be another key issue. It's a wonderfully generic term, but the abandoned underbelly of the student populace - the unloved base of the York Sport pyramid - are rubbing the sleep from their eyes and finding their voices. To the extent that any candidate that pragmatically caters for the majority not good enough to participate in college or university standard sport might well have the winning ticket. While sports policy-making is pretty staid and predictable, this offers unprecedented opportunities for creativity and innovation.

Another challenge is reuniting university sport with its little brother, college sport. Increasingly competitive and increasingly accessible, college competition is enjoying a much-needed renaissance, though this owes more to the perseverance of sports reps and a handful of enthusiastic college champions. It is time for York Sport to nurture the sprouts of revival and allow them to bloom next year. Furthermore, it aligns nicely with the need to encourage participation above. The candidate alchemist who can experiment and bring these two together instantly becomes a favourite.

This is not to mention the plethora of smaller, but no less obtrusive, issues which have afflicted sport at York at some time or another: equipment, officials, timetables, bookings, communication, transport. It's an alphabet soup of a headache, a thicket to be hacked through, but what will become the routine for our next President. They've been warned.

So brace yourselves, the race has begun. Who will prevail amid the madness of hustings, postering and self-publicising in the most hotly-contested York Sport presidential election in years? Some would say that sport at York is wounded. They will not tolerate a sticking-plaster solution.

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3 Comment

Alex Lacy Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

"Current incumbent Alex Lacy pledged the resurfacing of the tennis courts and a pool/snooker room in the Sports Centre, so changes simply cannot appear immediately but they must be more than pipedreams."

Adam, from someone I meet with twice a week to ensure the work of committee and clubs gets better coverage than in previous years, I'm very disappointed. The tennis courts are being resurfaced over Easter or shortly afterwards, and will be ready for next year. We have been given the green light for a snooker room in the sports centre, but this would take up what is currently storage space- already at a premium. I also pledged to improve storage- helping to conduct a clean-up as incoming president. You make it sound like I've done nothing. Frankly, do one.

Wounded? We've never been so strong, so many, or so focused: just look at our BUCS results and membership numbers. Don't talk of poisoned chalices when you're the one tipping in the vitriol.

This is not difficult information to find out- your reporting is consistently amazing but as someone I think I work closely with this is just lazy and inflammatory.

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Harry Collins Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

"Like politics itself, participation looks set to be another key issue. It's a wonderfully generic term, but the abandoned underbelly of the student populace - the unloved base of the York Sport pyramid - are rubbing the sleep from their eyes and finding their voices. To the extent that any candidate that pragmatically caters for the majority not good enough to participate in college or university standard sport might well have the winning ticket. While sports policy-making is pretty staid and predictable, this offers unprecedented opportunities for creativity and innovation."

Coming to a campus near you soon: "Try Something New..."

A programme jointly run by York Sport and the Sports Centre in an attempt to cater for those not currently participating in sport at York. Basic fitness, new classes and the emphasis all on inclusivity. Expect to see publicity and taster sessions come Summer term...

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Jason Rose Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

I think when you look at everything that York Sport (Athletic Union as it was known before Lacy, I might add) has done in the last year, you'll be impressed and to say anything short of that isn't doing it justice.

Granted, many things are ongoing issues and that's why I have joined in with several sports campaigns as policies but that's an issue with every candidate. I don't think we'll get 24-hour libraries before the end of Leyland's first term but it is most definitely happening. We haven't got our bridges sorted yet, but it's going to happen. We HAVE got a bar (!) but it wasn't done in MJB's first term. Etc. etc. etc.

All candidates will make ambitious policies if they want to beat very good opponents... when candidates make ambitious policies when they're uncontested then I think it's a sign that they are planning on going through with them all!


Even still, I think that the candidates this time around have made very sensible suggestions - a few have even said, specifically, that their policies won't be finished by the end of their term but that they'll make them a reality. Very honest, very open, very workable. Make your mind up which is most likely to follow through and which the best policies are, though!

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