The candidates for speakers officer: from left, Sal Widdecombe, Izzy Porter and Philip Al-TaieeSal Widdicombe, Izzy Porter, Philip Al-Taiee

In an almost empty chamber with a series of rushed speeches, Union candidates launched their bids for Lent term at the hustings on Wednesday (15/6).

Three out of the five roles, including the presidency are uncontested this term. This is a break from last term’s elections where three candidates ran for the position.

Member turn out to watch the hustings was also much lower than in previous terms. One candidate joked that he was speaking to a room of “about twenty people” in the debating chamber that can seat over four hundred.

Christopher George, the candidate for president, told the chamber that he never planned to be president when he joined the society. His speech centered on solving the “simple” but not “sexy” things like modernising the website, and opening the building further to members, saying he wanted to create a union “that was yours”.

The race for speakers officer is the most contested with three candidates running: Philip Al-Taiee, Izzy Porter and Sal Widdicombe. Al-Taiee and Widdicombe both argued the Union should reach out to more international speakers in order to offer a more diverse line up.

Porter said she would make Union termcards more transparent by clarifying the likelihood of the speakers listed actually attending. She also advocated the reintroduction of some balloting for big events so students wouldn’t have to spend hours queuing before listening to popular speakers.

Max Ghose, the candidate for debates officer, discussed the impact Union debates can have, citing the Union’s debate on the Russian invasion, and that he was sure the results of the vote condemning the invasion went back to president Zelensky when the ambassador to Ukraine was told about it following his event last month.

Harrison Moore running for social events joked he was the “most qualified candidate” in the race of one. His flagship policies include holding a “re-freshers’ festival” in January and introducing speed dating for Valentine’s day.

Only one of the candidates for equalities officer was able to attend the hustings. Shibhangi Ghose’s speech centred on her plans to make the Union “more safe and accessible” including introducing protective measures against spiking.


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Attendees only asked questions to the candidates for speakers and president.

When asked what he thought about running unopposed, Christopher George said that this showed that “the people I work with must trust me”.

Another question pressed the speakers candidates on what they thought about hosting guest speakers via zoom. Al-Taiee and Porter said they would rule out holding events over zoom with few exceptions, while Widdicombe said he disagreed with the idea that every speaker’s event had to be in person.

While Porter said that the low attendance at the recent live-streamed address by President Zelensky reflected how members preferred in person events, Widdecombe said using zoom meant the society could get more important speakers.

Voting started on Wednesday night (15/6) and will end at 6pm on Friday (17/6)