Comment YUSU Elections 2018

Changes needed as YUSU Sabbs replicate their team

With the YUSU elections round the corner, let's hope for some outsider candidates to breathe some fresh air into our increasingly stale Student Union (Thumbnail credit Cartoon: Helen Tezapsidis)

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So the YUSU election season will soon be upon us once again; that time of year when it is impossible to walk across campus without being accosted by enthusiastic campaigners. The University becomes a giant colouring book for all potential candidates and Facebook becomes nothing more than a platform for manifesto propaganda and eager electioneering. But, in the same way that the voting systems stays the same, so do the candidates.

A quick line up of previous candidates will reveal shockingly similar CVs. Of the 22 Sabbatical candidates last year, 15 had previously worked for YUSU (either directly or as College reps). Of that 15, five had been College Presidents or Vice-Chairs, the rest of them LGBT Officers, Volunteering Officers, Campaigns Officers or Union Chair. Outside of the 15 YUSU committee candidates, three worked for RAG, and both York Sport candidates were sport team presidents. The winning six had been College Chairs or were already on the YUSU team.

Call me cynical or liberal but that level of 'cliquishness' cannot make for a good team. Nor is it fair. YUSU should represent the entire student body, not just those who are already involved in YUSU. Instead, we need to be voting for personable candidates who will be able to engage the student population over the course of the year. Last year Matthew Freckleton was the only Presidential candidate without any YUSU committee or college credentials (aside from David Hansen whose policies included such gems as "establishing a transparent paradigm matrix to promote synthesis"); he received the least votes.

We have no control over who decides to stand up and announce that they have the ability to take on and represent the concerns of a 13,000 large student body. But we do control who, after weeks of campaigning, sits in the Student Centre. Let's be honest, after being coerced into voting we flick through the faces, scan the manifestos and think "I saw him in a YUSU hoodie once, they must be good...'VOTE'". And then we sit here grumbling about YUSU being too 'cliquey' when it was us that voted them in.

We cling to familiarity instead of trying to instigate real change. Perhaps an outsider candidate would have been a disaster. But they also could have represented the breath of fresh air our Union so desperately needs to push things forward, like their current Democratic Review. It's a boring topic but when looked at in-depth, will change a lot about YUSU. And Sabbaticals, as individuals, can help make it engaging.

It is up to us to prevent the YUSU Sabbatical team being dominated by those already knee-deep in YUSU affairs, but we need candidates who have an outside perspective, and can push YUSU out of its current stalemate. Our Union will get nowhere if the only candidates are those groomed by last years Sabbs, thinking within the same narrow mindset.

Obviously the importance of experience should not be ignored it but student involvement across all areas of campus life, be it in cheerleading or FragSoc, can be just as valuable. So when nominations are in, let's hope for unfamiliar faces. Even if results are predictable, it will make the election process that little bit more interesting.

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5 Comment

Never let facts get in the way of a bad rant Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

"Of the 22 Sabbatical candidates last year, 15 had previously worked for YUSU (either directly or as College reps)."

Okay - there's NO such thing as a YUSU College Rep. If you're referring to the College Chairs - they are elected within the College and their involvement with YUSU was limited and directed by the interests of their college rather than YUSU.

Also where is this figure of 15 from. Lets see, Ngwena, Humphrys, Daniels, Rose, Etheridge, Hesselwood, Warner-Medley, Vince and Levene makes 9.

"Of that 15, five had been College Presidents or Vice-Chairs, the rest of them LGBT Officers, Volunteering Officers, Campaigns Officers or Union Chair." Still doesn't make 15 dear, add Asfahani, Bo, Walker, Powell and Hutchings and you still only make 14...

"The winning six had been College Chairs or were already on the YUSU team."

That's simply not true.

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Chris Etheridge Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

Never rule out another campaign...

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Matt Bailey Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

Just saying... I had basically no YUSU experience at all when running for Academic Officer last year. I was a board of studies rep, but that happened before YUSU decided to get involved with the whole process.

You don't have to be in the YUSU inner circle to run, as long as you have a vague idea of campus life and politics, give it a go!

Hustings is a scary experience, but the rest of the two weeks will be some of your best time at York.

So get involved, and believe you can make a difference :)

Matt Bailey
YUSU Academic Officer Candidate 2010

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Marathon Mist Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

I fail to see why it doesn't make sense that those who have run for similar positions in the past are more likely to win sabbatical positions when they run for them. They've already established themselves amongst the students who actually care about this sort of thing.

What precisely do you want? A team of unknowns to wreak havoc with the system and book Dr. Dre? I don't understand why students who have proven they care about the student population by running for YUSU positions in the past should be denigrated. Strange.

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YUSU brain drain Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

There is one thing that is worth noting about this years elections...
YUSU is going to suffer a serious brain drain next year, why well its Clegg and Camerons fault really. One flaw of the governments argument that no student will pay whooping great fees up front is that it is simply not true. As any third year will tell you taking a year out is impossible for those intellectually ambitious and seeking masters places because the fees will rise astronomically if they were to say spend a year as a sabb. Whereas if they took their course up next year they would pay substantially less. With masters courses there is little or no state support and therefore truly eye watering figures such as PS20,000 UP FRONT are being talked about. A lot of the more intellectual and therefore a lot of the candidates who would otherwise consider running for yusu in general will no doubt be discouraged by this fact.

PS1,000s is the cost of political power in yusu for many next year and that will be a price many just don't see as one worth paying

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