OUSA Election Forums | Opinion

I wasn’t surprised that the questions raised at the Presidential Forum centred around three main themes: participation, finances and OUSA’s role in campus life.

Jordan seemed to be the odd one out. Someone (I suspect a friend of his) asked him whether OUSA should, like the modern-day state, be charged with overseeing welfare issues. Jordan responded by arguing that while student welfare is important, we must avoid spending excessively in such areas. He was also of the opinion (and was the first of the candidates to make his position on the issue clear) that OUSA should be more politically neutral. Finally, he believed that a new student pub would constitute a financial liability, and therefore did not support OUSA’s investment in one.

Ruby is a fascinating candidate. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and she immediately distinguished herself from her male counterparts. She had clearly thought about her position on the various issues, and her answers added a level of depth to the debate that I wasn’t expecting. This should come as no surprise, though: Ruby has been a member of the Exec throughout 2013 and, in her capacity as Welfare Officer, has worked to deliver free breakfasts to students, secured a $10,000 grant from the Government for something called “healthier relationships,” and promoted queer representation.

Zac seemed ill-prepared, but was definitely the best-dressed. I have some experience when it comes to trying to get away with a lack of preparation, and nothing good has ever come of it. The lesson, of course, is that when you leave things to chance you leave your fate in the hands of others. However, while Zac’s opening speech was short, and while he stumbled over most of his answers, his experience as Administrative Vice-President should serve him well should he be elected President. His ideas regarding participation and outreach also reflected a maturity that should be taken into account.

Strangely, the tension that the Service Level Agreement (SLA – OUSA’s financial lifeline) may cause in the future was not addressed from the podium. I did, however, ask the candidates privately for their thoughts on the issue.

Ruby sounded as though she would do everything she could to keep OUSA ticking over, and supported continuing with the SLA. Zac was a bit nonplussed, but pointed out that he has always been in favour of revenue diversification. Jordan was keen to address the issue, and argued that in a VSM environment, the SLA was crucial. It looks, therefore, as though the SLA is here to stay.

On a final note: it must be remembered that putting yourself forward for something like this, and subjecting yourself to the scrutiny of your peers, is incredibly courageous. Congratulations Zac, Jordan and Ruby – I wish you all the best.
This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2013.
Posted 2:29pm Sunday 29th September 2013 by Guy McCallum.