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☻ Heated debate underway, with Jackson repeatedly attacking Khandelwal

☻ Candidates have already been in a war of words

Hustings are over. That proceeded more or less as we anticipated: Pasquina emphasised divestment, which has been the most important issue of his campaign; Khandelwal stressed her experience for the role, though the chair did briefly manage to draw some policy out of her as well; and Jackson attacked Khandelwal for purportedly failing to live up to her manifesto.

There was perhaps more heat than light during parts of that, but it was certainly energetic. Voting opened this morning - on Friday, we shall find out which of these candidates was most impressive.

8:32pm Pasquina says that the Councillor must represent students' voice on divestment. "I believe that the next University Councillor will play a key role in collaborating with the Zero Carbon Society, and that is why I think I should be University Councillor."

8:31pm Khandelwal says that she is confident and proactive. She once again emphasises her experience in the role and urges people to go to her website to find out more about her.

8:31pm Closing statements now. Jackson says that "there is a deficit in student leadership" and he wants to push for divestment, the rights of EU students and action on mental health. "Something has to change. I am very willing to drive forward my agenda and I will not compromise on what I believe."

8:30pm Jackson says that students will not always agree on everything but once again attacks Khandelwal, saying that she has so far failed to represent those who voted against Class Lists.

8:29pm Jackson’s unique oratory style is certainly causing disturbance among some crowd members

8:29pm Pasquina says that it is good to have a plurality of voices to represent the diverse views of the student body.

8:29pm The candidates are asked about the position's independence. Khandelwal says that there are not enough students on Council, and that she thinks it is "beneficial" to have an independent student member on the Council. She says that because she is independent from CUSU, she can represent those who voted against Class Lists.

8:27pm Jackson says that he would "sooner resign than compromise any of my principles." Or stop speaking so loudly, apparently.

8:27pm We’re staying quite hung up on transparency and divestment as key issues, but Khandelwal is attempting to expand the debate in terms of access initiatives.

8:27pm The chair asks the candidates, if they had to drop one policy, which would it be and why. Pasquina says that he will always support divestment. Khandelwal says that her priorities are EU students and the affordability of education. She says that the interests of the University should be the interests of students.

8:25pm Pasquina says that "everyone knows that it is morally right not to invest in catastrophic climate change." He says that it is against the Council's fiduciary duty to invest in fossil fuels because of the financial damage that climate change will cause.

8:24pm Khandelwal is emphasising the importance of keeping pressure on the Uni over divestment.

8:24pm Chad Allen asks if the candidates support divestment at any cost. Jackson says that climate change is the biggest issue of the century and "Cambridge has to be a world leader in this". He says he would commit to it at any cost.

8:23pm The Facebook page, which was created by previous University Councillor, Cornelius Roemer, looks set to be a key cornerstone of the debate. Jackson is continuously attacking Khandelwal on the issue of transparency. Moderator Jon Wall has asked that questions be made to focus on issues.

8:23pm Khandelwal tells Josh to stop "defaming and slandering me." She says that there ought to be a focus on the issues. As expected, this is becoming something of a back-and-forth between these two.

8:22pm Jackson wants a University Councillor Facebook profile. He says that while Khandelwal might have been available for comment, she has made no effort to approach student media on issues. He says that she is failing to be accountable to the student body. The debate is still focusing very much on the issues behind the spat that blew up on Sunday.

8:21pm Pasquina says that "communication is key" and that processes in the University ought to be opened up - he says that he wants students to be able to access minutes from working group.

8:20pm Khandelwal noted that there was very little "uptake or engagement" with the page, and says that confidentiality clauses often prevented her from putting information on it.

8:19pm Varsity's own Louis Ashworth asks Khandelwal why she shut down the Facebook page and what the Councillor can do to communicate with students.

8:18pm Jackson says that he wants to re-open the University Councillor Facebook page so that people can see when he speaks out about divestment. He also wants to mobilise the student body behind divestment.

8:18pm Khandelwal, presumably quite glad for a pause in Jackson's speeches, responds emolliently to Pasquina, saying that the Councillor is a trustee of the University and thus "is not waging war" on it. She says that she wants to bridge the gap between student groups and the University.

8:16pm Pasquina says that he has spoken to students campaigning for divestment across Europe, and has noted that success usually comes from good relationships between students and the executive power within universities. He asks candidates for specifics.

8:15pm Jackson replies that "the pressure needs to be on" and the University Councillor should exert this on behalf of the student body. He says again that students have not heard from her.

8:15pm Khandelwal says that she has always been open to comment requests, and now fires back at Jackson. "How are you going to get divestment through?"

8:14pm Jackson says that Khandelwal has not been telling students what she has been doing. "We have heard nothing from you. How can we have any confidence that if we elect you, you will do this?"

8:14pm Khandelwal replies that she has spoken to Zero Carbon Cambridge, which is pressing for divestment, about how to secure divestment. She has also looked at the working group which has been set up to influence how divestment can take place. "The discussion needs to move away from whether we're divesting or not, and towards how we divest."

8:13pm Pasquina is more peaceable, asking Khandelwal how she uses her influence to press students voices on divestment.

8:12pm Jackson is on the attack again, saying that she has not provided any information at all. He says that students "need to know that they actually have got a voice on the Council."

8:12pm Khandelwal replies that she has built relationships with senior members of the University. "Using these relationships can help you work... not only in Council, but in committees, where everything gets done." She notes that Council meetings often involve confidential meeting, preventing her from releasing information.

8:11pm Audience member asks Khandelwal an aggressive question, calling her claims to experience "platitude" and demanding that she demonstrate what she has done.

8:10pm Jackson is speaking very quickly, re-iterating many of the attack angles from his statement on Sunday. Ends with “Jackson, he has your back son”.

8:10pm Jackson shoots off with his statement, eager to make the most pf his two minutes. He says "we need to be on the right side of climate change" and that we can win this "with a strong Councillor" willing to fight for them. He immediately attacks Khandelwal for failing to meet her manifesto commitments, producing the document with a flourish. He says that there is "a massive lack of transparency and accountability" from her.

8:08pm Khandelwal is next. She stresses her experience, as she has through her campaign. She says that she has "felt the struggles and frustrations of students", however, suggesting that she is aware that her opponents might attack her alleged inactivity in the role. She says that she knows the next Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Toope, from her time at UBC.

8:06pm The live blog team tonight is Louis Ashworth and Sam Harrison. Our glorious Editor Millie Brierley is on the live video, and Monty Fynn and Merlyn Thomas will be reporting.

8:07pm Pasquina begins with his opening statement. He talks about divestment, which is the central pillar of his campaign: he says it is the reason why he put himself forward for the role. He asks the other candidates to commit to securing divestment.

8:05pm Welcome to the Varsity live blog! Tonight, the three candidates for University Councillor square off. We have already seen opening sallies between two of the candidates, Josh Jackson and Umang Khandelwal, so there could be fireworks this evening. As ever, all opinions on the live blog are our own.

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