Welfare Officer candidate condemned for undermining position

Andrew McIlwraith, a Welfare Officer candidate in this year’s YUSU elections, has been condemned by students and opponents for his undermining of the Welfare position.

McIlwraith, who failed to attend both the candidates’ briefing on Monday and last night’s hustings, told Nouse that he “isn’t taking the process very seriously”, and that the position is “more of a fall back if the job I really want doesn’t come through.”

He continued to say that the role wasn’t very important, commenting: “It’s only student welfare.”

McIlwraith’s opponent, Peter Warner-Medley, has criticised McIlwraith’s mockery of the Welfare role, saying: “Student welfare does matter… The job involves important decisions, too important for someone to just be using as a fall-back.”

McIlwraith replied: “I’m in my third year on the Hockey team… that’s really important to me.”

He argued that being in third year “with course commitments” prevented him from going to the candidates’ briefing and hustings.

He continued: “For example, I have a presentation this week.” However, he admitted: “These are just excuses really.”

McIlwraith’s actions have angered a number of students. Rachel Stafford, a Langwith College first-year student, said: “How can someone who openly admits that he is only using the position as a fall-back and can’t even be bothered to turn up to meetings expect to be elected by his peers? It seems ridiculous to enter yourself for a supposedly ‘caring’ role, and then behave in a manner which could be detrimental to student welfare.”

Candidates who miss the candidates’ briefing are not allowed to campaign until they have been briefed by the returning officer. As Lewis Bretts, YUSU Democracy and Services Officer, is currently ill, the National Student’s Union (NUS) has sent in a replacement Officer. This Officer is not based in York, she is just “overseeing” the elections.

Last night, hustings had to be postponed for up to half an hour as the NUS Officer was travelling from Manchester.

If McIlwraith intends to campaign for the position, the returning Officer will be forced to come back to York for the purpose of briefing him. In response to this information, McIlwraith stated: “Oh right… I didn’t know that. I must contact her.”

Questions have been raised over whether Mcllawaith merely entered as a joke candidate, however, he claims: “I entered myself.”

This potential joke candidacy comes after controversy at last night’s hustings.

Peter Saul and Mark Pickard, two candidates running jointly for Women’s Officer, sparked disgust from the audience after promising to introduce policies such as “banning fat women on campus” and making comments such as “women find it hard to succeed in the career market, so we plan to open up more opportunities as housewives.”

Warner-Medley said: “This is a wholly repugnant campaign… I find this extraordinarily offensive even though I am not a woman. As someone who attends women’s committee every week, the issues raised are very serious and it’s unacceptable to diminish them in this way.”

After receiving heckles from the crowd, Saul and Pickard responded by saying that the audience were far too “uptight and left-wing”.

Janey Stephenson, one of Saul and Pickard’s opponents, commented that, if the boys were to be elected, they “should not be on such a high position of responsibility on campus.”

A joke candidacy was also introduced this year by David Hansen in the role of President. He said in his hustings speech that he was “the Dave from your nightmares” and that he was brought up by “a wild pack of wolves in the Irish rainforest”. He left half-way through the questions round.

McIlwraith’s failure to turn up to last night’s hustings has led many to disregard his candidacy. A second-year student who asked to remain anonymous, said: “He’s hardly going to be elected if he can’t even be bothered to turn up to hustings. This is more serious than any joke candidate; if his ‘real job’ offer doesn’t pull through there’s a danger he might actually try and campaign to win this position. We, as students, may be left with an apathetic Welfare Officer who would rather be in a ‘real job’ for the rest of the year.”

Warner-Medley added: “If he didn’t attend the meeting that’s a concern. You can only really go for [the welfare role] if you really want it. I thought about it for a very long time before I made the decision to run.”

25 comments

  1. 3 Mar ’10 at 12:34 pm

    Oh,but I am being fair and balanced

    How dare these toerags demean the SERIOUSNESS of our totally serious sesame street themed self-congratulation party? If people don’t start taking this seriously enough I’m going to have to have my freind Peter Warner-Medley say nasty things about them >:X

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  2. “Andrew McIlwraith, a Welfare Officer candidate in this year’s YUSU elections, has been condemned by students and opponents for his undermining of the Welfare position.”

    Unlike, say, certain Women’s Officers candidates who are treating the position (and women in general) with the utmost respect.

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  3. Andrew McIlwraith is the perfect candidate. He is simply acting laidback to protect his “LAD” image

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  4. What a disgrace of a story – how is his not turning up more of an offence than how the male Women’s Officer candidates behaved? The story should be about them, not Andrew McIlwraith. At least he isn’t trying to persuade people to vote for him, unlike they are. Of course his is a joke candidacy, you wrote yourselves that he was running on the premise of offering a welfare presence in Ziggy’s. I suppose it would have been shown him to be more concerned for students’ welfare if he had turned up and promised upon election to rain down condoms on them, explaining ‘These are for all your debauched sex’?

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  5. I’m voting McIlwraith…

    HAVE FAITH IN THE ‘WRAITH

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  6. I completely agree with Peter, I also thought long and hard before I decided to run. It makes me furious that Andrew is behaving like this.

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  7. If the article is accurate, it’s a worthwhile piece. The Welfare Officer is responsible for supporting a variety of students in the utmost need of help and support and taking it seriously is integral – the two ‘ladies’ and “Dave” are actually joke candidates but Andrew is apparently a serious contender… I hope it’s not true and he was just busy and misquoted :-\

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  8. I can’t hep but feel that Andrew would be perfect for this position. He is the caring and dedicated type that this position requires. His position in the Hockey club only goes to show that he is as dedicated athletically as he is to the welfare of his fellow students.

    He would be a true asset to YUSU, and the students of this university.

    Vote Mac.

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  9. you know one of his policies is to introduce “condom roulette” which involves the putting of holes into some condoms in the Nightline office- think this preety much confirms the ‘joke candidacy’ part of this article!

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  10. 3 Mar ’10 at 4:49 pm

    Dasher Mule Soul

    Peter Saul and Mark Pickard are absolute *****. It’ll be a dark day for the university if they get even one vote.

    Edited by the moderator (probably).

    Moderator: Yeah, sorry

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  11. Mr Andrew McIlwraith is using the Anti-campaign method. He is obviously taking into account the welfare of trees, what a diverse candidate he is. I don’t think people should put him down or slate him.

    Just remember, we did elect a pirate as president two years ago. I think Mr McIlwraith should be given an equal opportunity to campaign, even if he didn’t turn up to hustings…because he is a busy man indeed.

    And lets be honest, campaigning spoils campus (noise pollution from people with megaphones and posters that will just end up as clutter). Mr McIlwraith has it spot on.

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  12. Darkie you’re an idiot, and evidently have far too much time on your hands…

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  13. 3 Mar ’10 at 6:31 pm

    In a few years time...

    Saul and Pickard will probably be regretting the fact that if any future employer searches their name on Google, this will be one of the top results!

    A comforting fact.

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  14. Mac dosent need this position, he’s been bringing Welfare to Ziggys for years

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  15. 3 Mar ’10 at 7:18 pm

    SOmeone who is neither Mark or Pete

    Why are people so cut up about Mark and Peter’s performance at the hustings? Sure it was a little obnoxious, but they make a good point. Women’s officer IS a joke, and should be incorporated into the current welfare system, to single out women to have special treatment is sexist and demeans women by suggesting they need extra help.

    To be honest, after all of the personal threats made against Mark and Peter I’m a little concerned for their personal safety. I am much more disgusted by the behaviour on the comments section here than was displayed there.

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  16. 3 Mar ’10 at 8:14 pm

    Mrs McIlwraith

    Im voting McIlwraith.

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  17. “Jenny Coyle says:
    March 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm
    I completely agree with Peter, I also thought long and hard before I decided to run. It makes me furious that Andrew is behaving like this.”

    Same here. I’ve seen people put so much effort into improving student welfare in York. It makes me really upset to see people treating York students with such disdain.

    He should do the honourable thing and withdraw his candidacy.

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  18. @Someone who is neither Mark nor Pete

    I agree with you about the role of Women’s comittee as demeaning and sexist. However, with some thought they* could have made a proper speech which was snide, clever and (heaven-forbid) humourous to emphasis this and gain our support. Last night’s performance was nothing of the sort, it was insulting, arrogant and angering, and only served to prove why a women’s comittee is needed to stamp out this nonsense.

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  19. 3 Mar ’10 at 8:42 pm

    Mase & Status

    I know Andrew personally and have done for years. It’s disgusting how he is being depicted in in the media. There is no question if Mac is taking this seriously, yes, he did miss hustings but I will put my hands up and take the hit for that as Andy was busy helping me in a time of need. Today Mac captained the first hockey team to a second victory over Durham thirds in one week to avoid relegation. Now every member of York university can stand proud safe in the knowledge that our first hockey team still remain in BUCS 2a thanks to Andy. Andy is a superb captain giving compulsory one to one sessions with each of his team members to discuss issues both on and off the pitch. Word has it that before a game Andy gives each if his players one slice of wholemeal bread, buttered by himself, a pro plus tablet and 1 Red haribo bear to ensure the team is on the best possible form, both physically and mentally. Please, vote McIlwraith.

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  20. 3 Mar ’10 at 10:07 pm

    Ohmyhowstupidcanmasebe

    Wow. With campaigners like that, who needs enemies.

    Captaining a hockey team bears no resemblance to successfully leading campaigns and providing the support that a welfare officer needs to do. One in four students will have mental health issues during their time here. Unsafe sex is a serious issue and sentiments such as “Anal is ok because then I won’t get pregnant. STD’s? Wha?” abound.

    York needs another dedicated and hard working officer, like Ben. Someone who has answers. Like Peter.

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  21. ‘Ohmygodhowstupidcanmasebe’, know this:

    As a personal friend of McIlwraith, and key member of his campaign team I can tell you that the Unsafe Sex issue is actually the ‘Wraith’s key campaign issue.

    Unsafe sex is on the ‘Wraith’s mind. All the time.

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  22. Does anyone else think that these supposed “joke” candidates are running to highlight the sheer pointlessness of YUSU campaigning? Every year it gets all this hype, and then after April you never hear these people’s names again, except for in Nouse where they are treated like some celebrity.

    Truth is, no one really cares about the elections aside from those running and maybe their house-mates. I bet the authors of this article don’t really care who gets the positions mentioned in the article, thus making them part of the massive majority of students. Most people just vote from people they know or people who their friends are friends with anyway. How many people actually sit down to read the manifestos of all the candidates? I wouldn’t be surprised if that number of people is in single figures.

    Thank god for Andy Mac and the two idiots running for the woman’s one because it gives Nouse something moderately interesting to report on from these frightfully dull elections.

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  23. ‘CONDEMED, CONDEMED’ INDEED! As my tutor Alex Goodall Said nouse seem to use language regarding a change of oppening hours to a student canteen is on the same level of some national MPs expenses scandel. Get some perspective Nouse. The person probably filled out a candidacy form, decided not run and forgot to inform YUSU, this person is not CONDEMED! he has not convicted some major fellon!!

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  24. 6 Mar ’10 at 3:08 pm

    Right to forget

    You know, I think there is a pretty serious issue with the sensationalisation (if that is a word) of stories like this.

    Andy Mac has been involved in the uni hockey club for nearly three years now, which has included a stint as captain. Despite this however, a simple google search returns this Nouse story before any other story pertaining to this particular Andy Mac.

    Presumably as a third year he will be seeking employment and the notion that there is any possibility that prospective employers could happen upon this website – of an award-winning student newspaper – and take this story at face-value, is rather worrying.

    Of course, uni should not provide an impenetrable cloak of anonymity, but let’s remember that in the grand scheme of things, YUSU elections are not life-and-death matters. It is understandable that Nouse choose to report in a way that adds significance to the stories and indeed, within the university bubble they may well be worthy of such hyperbole. However, when a student finds themselves tied to an article that suggests they are in essence undermining student welfare and that article is able to escape the university bubble, the addedd significance placed upon the issue by Nouse actually becomes potentially dangerous.

    Chances are that no employer would perform a search or even pay such a story heed, but what if they did? What if Andy (or Mark or Peter for that matter) applied for a graduate scheme in the middle of a rather hostile and competitive job market and there was pretty much nothing to seperate them from the other leading candidate? However implausible it may seem, this article could make a difference and that is a responsibility that I believe Nouse should take seriously. Is it really necessary for articles that refer to students in this way to be searchable by anybody? Should they at least not be archived and made searchable within the Nouse website?

    You may argue that people who get involved in uni politics know and accept the risks, but within reason, we should also accept that univrsity is an opportunity for young people to experiment, find out about themselves, and even make mistakes. It seems unfair that such mistakes, even serious errors in judgement like those displayed by Mark and Peter last week, could potentially dog a person beyond their life at university.

    With regards Andy Mac, he probably had little involvement in his nomination and even if he was aware, he has not actually hurt or even offended anyone whatsoever and this article, especially given the fact that it doesn’t remain internal to the university, seems a little disproportianate.

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  25. Who cares about how serious someone is? We voted in a pirate as a president! All uni politics is a lie so that narcissistic know-it-alls can pretend that they are important.

    What do students with ‘positions of power’ actually do? They attend the occasional meeting, organise occasional events and pretend to be relentlessly active so that when they leave uni they can pretend that they did something other than working and drinking.

    There is no reason that Andy Mac is any less capable than the other candidates seeking to exploit his campaign for their own benefit. Who is actually qualified to be in any position of power on campus? No one! Everyone at York is a student without any real experience or qualifications to fill roles, and hence the roles they fill are ultimately meaningless and uneventful.

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