News Student Elections 2016

Elections 2016 Live Blog: Tuesday

19:30 – Interview with Charlotte Hayre

Gair Rhydd caught up with VP Societies candidate Charlotte Hayre to talk about running for the position.

When asked about why she should be elected for the position, Hayre stated that “I think I have some really good ideas: not just for people currently in societies, but for recruiting people to societies,” continuing that, “Most of the people I have spoken to over the last couple few days are not a part of a society.” Hayre believed that this was because “it can be quite confusing to find the right information” when looking to join a society for the first time.

One of the policies that distinguishes Hayre from others going for VP Societies is her proposal of a “Societies Quiz”. She explained it as “the kind of thing you get on Buzzfeed” – a simple quiz that will take information put in by participants and give them information about what sort of society they may be interested in and how to get involved. “It’s such a simple thing that could make a massive difference”, she added.

Hayre rejected the ‘Platinum Tier’ policy put forward by other candidates, stating that “every society is at a different level – some are quite small and they’re happy to be a small society and a niche group while other societies are always going to be big as they’re massive interests”. She continued, “Societies shouldn’t be a competition at all.”

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

16:15 – Interview with Lakota Hardwick

At the beginning of day two, Gair Rhydd caught up with Lakota Hardwick running for VP Education.

Like other candidates, although Lakota has adopted love hearts as her theme, she has decided not adopt a full costume. Perhaps in response to this it seems that students have also adopted a more serious attitudes towards candidates, with many reportedly stopping to talk, “genuinely up for a chat”. Despite initial nerves, the candidate stated that she was enjoying lecture shout-outs and stopping strangers.

When asked why she should be elected for VP Educations, Lakota described herself as “very passionate about standards of education”. She also cited her extensive experience for the position as one of nine members of education executive team, a role which involves representing the current Education officer at meetings. As a result being involved in the education exec, the candidate also explained that she has a good idea of what is achievable.

To stand out from the others competing, Lakota focused on her position as a first year student. As a result of this she explained that her manifesto might appeal to those new to the university system. Although new to Cardiff, Lakota has gained substantial experience elsewhere. This includes working for three years in a head office, an opportunity which has trained her to engage and communicate with management staff about issues which are considered uncomfortable and sensitive by others.

When asked about her main policy point, Lakota explained that she wants to ensure “good standards of education and value for money, with the possibility for students to reach full potential.” This includes finding the “best feedback for teaching methods” and the “best style of delivery and teaching” across all schools.

Like current VP Education Sophie Timbers, if elected Lakota would work to include course costs within tuition fees, including the price of printing. To improve student participation within the SU, the candidate would increase the institution’s presence on campus including in the Trevithick Building. This would include maintaining interactive desk service with links to the SU and the creation of more social spaces.

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

15:45 – Interview with Sam Murray

Yesterday VP Postgrad candidate Sam Murray spoke to us about his plans for the role.

While he has shown no sign of a costume or ‘gimmick’ to lure in voters, Murray has been consistent in donning a fetching green flat cap when campaigning, perhaps an identifier in the cut-throat world of student elections.

Murray told us that he was a “different” candidate, highlighting his experiences as an undergrad, postgrad-taught and postgrad-research student. He nominated himself for the role late on after conversations with friends about problems facing postgrads, after which he decided “enough is enough – we need someone to speak out about this.” He, is that someone.

When pressed on his main priority if he were elected, Murray insisted that we would seek to “have an open conversation with everybody about what the VP postgrad can do for them.” He cited funding issues as putting undergraduates off applying for Masters courses, saying “you can get a funding for a BA, funding for a PhD but not for a Masters – you need the Masters to do the PhD!”

Finally, after news this weekend that London Mayor Boris Johnson would campaign for Britain to leave the EU, Murray emphasised his manifesto pledge to campaign the opposite way. He describe the potential additional fees that “non-British EU citizens” would have pay if Britain was to split as “not acceptable”, saying: “We should be welcoming international students in to contribute to our community.”

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

15:30 – Holy Guacamole Batman!

How’s the manifesto reading going everyone?

You may be thinking, “There’s soooooooo much to read! I can’t keep up with all this.”

Well, just count your blessings that you’re not participating in the elections at Kent University. Here’s a manifesto from candidate for Kent’s Students’ Union President You You Xue, which is a staggering 22 pages long (!!!!!).


You You Xue: are you crazy?! Are you out of your mind?!

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

15:00 – Interview with Luke Brett

Gair Rhydd recently caught up with a Luke Brett, candidate for VP Societies.

Despite being up until 4am putting the finishing touches on his campaign, Brett remained optimistic about his first day on the campaign trail, explaining that students seemed positive and friendly towards the election and willing to talk. He said that his tactics include a “few lecture shout-outs but mostly just putting myself out there”. The candidate acknowledged that not all lectures were enthusiastic about the interruption but noted that “it is a Monday after all”.

He also noted that the elections seem more “low key” than in previous years, with many taking to social media to reach out to the electorate. For Brett this is a better approach, stating that he “doesn’t want to bother people” by interrupting them at work in areas such as The Lounge. Instead the candidate has plans to create his own “ping-pong stall” to engage students in a different way.

In a more controversial move, he also suggested that perhaps campaign time be reduced to three days. When asked to talk about one of his policies, Brett introduced his idea of implementing a “society-swap day” in the style of “wife-swap” to allow students to “swap and change” activities. A perhaps more light-hearted approach than other candidates, this, like the Give It a Go sessions, would encourage students to try different activities but as a group instead and to meet new people.

In the candidates Question Time last Tuesday, attention was brought to the need to encourage the 20,000 students not currently involved to take part in a society. According to the candidate, the current system for publicising events is “not very clear”, especially “if you miss sign ups or first events”. To tackle the issue Brett proposed that a Facebook forum be established to clearly identify upcoming activities. During the interview, talk also turned to the campaigns that are run by societies throughout the year. In his manifesto, Brett states that need to oversee all campaigns and provide support.

When asked if this is reaction to the Welsh Language referendum last year, in which sabbatical officers were alleged to have taken the side of the ‘No campaign’, the candidate disagreed yet stressed the need for “fair and transparent” behaviour.

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

14:15 – Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Put that Magic Wrap down and check out the new batch of campaign videos circulating the internet for your visual pleasure.

VP Welfare candidate Hollie Cooke, also known as the ‘Cookie Monster’, takes us on a nostalgic road trip down to Sesame Street in her campaign video, complete with political discussion from Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus.

VP Societies candidate Milly Dyer dances around in a cookie costume to the Sugarhill Gang, complete with (what seems like now) obligatory rap.

To finish, VP Societies candidate Luke Brett has put out an insane video that mashes together many well-fitting parts. X Factor voice? Check. Robotic Bieber with South Park Canadian heads? Check. Stormzy? Uh, check. Here’s the link to his video on Facebook. Come on Luke, don’t be that guy. Put it on Youtube.

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

13:40 – Where are the candidates?

It’s been noted by a few students that this year there are less colourful costumes on the streets than previous elections, especially on the cross-roads by the ASSL and on the road to the Students’ Unions.

In a bid to discover why, Gair Rhydd spoke to VP Societies Candidate Luke Brett and VP President Candidate MC Hannah or Hannah Sterritt.

Apparently those running have been encouraged by the SU to move their campaigns away from the streets, allegedly due to ongoing assessments in the Law building. Others have stated that the campaign trail has moved online, with many candidates investing time in creating events and pages on social media. Either way it proves a nice surprise for students who have previously complained of being ambushed by sweets and flyers on the way to lectures.

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

13:30 – Interview with Claire Brosnan

Gair Rhydd caught up with VP Welfare candidate Claire Brosnan to ask how her campaign is going so far.

Brosnan’s main policy is to concentrate on networking and integrating different services available at the university and off it, such as from the Advice Centre, personal tutors and local authorities. She also wants to expand the Welfare Executive from 12 to 120 people, stating that, “Every student should know someone that has direct access to the Welfare Officer and different signposting opportunities.”

When asked about her experience for the position, Brosnan stated that she “deals with welfare issues every day” in her roles as academic rep, student mentor and a pastoral care position at a local church.

Keeping on the religious thought path, she said, “I am looking at giving Cardiff University a reputation that is national, that says ‘We are accepting, welcoming and a diverse university”. Particular emphasis was put on international student as Brosnan stated that, “I’ve spoken to a lot of students that say disengagement is a problem for them.”

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

11:40 – Democracy is so overrated

Y Plas, the place where you spend every Wednesday and Saturday night (you monster), has joined in the Student Elections festivities with some well wishes.

Oh, ok. Anyone feel like this is a “don’t mess up, yo” sort of sentiment? At least Y Plas didn’t go full University of South Wales on us.

Yikes, you can’t come back from that. At least Frank Underwood is quite cool. That monologue at the start of Season 2? *shudder*, so good!

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

11:15 – Interview with Matthew Procter

Gair Rhydd caught up with VP Welfare candidate Matthew ‘Doctor’ Procter about his focus for the campaign week.

When asked what his main policies are, Procter exclaimed, “Housing, healthcare and university management will be my three main priorities over the year,”. He continued, “the current management of the university is not prioritising student needs, it’s prioritising, basically, it’s bank balance over the need of students.”

Procter also alluded to “10 other smaller policies” that he has, which includes tax free tampons, a bicycle exchange and providing a large amount of vegan options. “If the SU is serious about being an eco-friendly institution, one that safeguards the planet for our future, the best thing anyone can do is to adopt a vegan-based diet”, he said.

An interesting stance Procter had on the student participation debate, is that he feels it’s not very important at all. “I won’t be wasting my time trying to get students engaged”, he said, “whether it means wasting days on end filling in post cards about what your ideas are for a new union, that’s just a waste of time and resources and could be better spent actually dealing with the issues that I know affects students.”

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

10:45 – Interview with Usman Mahmood Bukhari

Gair Rhydd recently chatted with VP Societies candidate and current President of the Debating society Usman Mahmood Bukhari.

Bukhari talked a lot about changing the current classifications of societies, and especially helping out bronze and silver tier societies. He said, “I think it’s completely unfair when other societies don’t see any means of getting to gold.” Bukhari also alluded to fellow candidates Maisie Hillier and Milly Dyer’s ‘platinum tier’ policy, calling for an end to the “unhealthy competition” between societies.

There were also proposals for an “inter-societal quiz”, along with providing t-shirts (like a football or rugby shirt) that will be unique for each society, “It’s the idea that you create unity. It would be good if you could recognise people as part of a group. It creates a kind of pride: what you wear is what you are.” 

Get involved on social media by tweeting us @gairrhydd, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU to have your say on this week’s events!

10:00 – Welcome back – it’s day 2!

Good morning and welcome to the second day of campaign coverage of this year’s Cardiff Students’ Union courtesy of us lovely people at Gair Rhydd.

As candidates up the ante as we approach Friday’s deadline to vote, we’ll be hearing from those people hoping to persuade you to back them. We’ll also be continuing our detailed analysis of the candidates’ videos – there have been some real crackers so far!

If you want to look back at all of yesterday’s events, have a look at our Monday live blog, and also check out our Storify of the day’s Twitter highlights.

Voting takes no time at all, and can be done from any electronic device. Just follow this link to cast your vote.