Hustings for James College’s JCRC elections took place last night in The Lounge and the event was not short of drama.
Beginning with speeches from the two prospective treasurers, fresher Daniel Herr and second year Robert Bartlett, the night proved to be one of highs, lows and hilarity for those present.
Eleven positions were uncontested with only one candidate; Ents, Press and Publicity, Access, Sports Rep, International Rep, N Block Rep, Services Vice Chair, Welfare Vice Chair and most surprising of all, Chair.
Moreover, no candidates were nominated for 13 of the positions which some are worried belies sense of apathy when it comes to certain areas of the JCRC.
There were some concerns raised about turnout including for the position of chair. When asked if she was disappointed with the turnout Laura Watson, the current James College Chair replied “Honestly, yes. I was disappointed with the turnout”, and named “poor publicity” as the cause.
Dexter Clarke, the sole candidate for the role of chair, also admitted that the hustings could have done with “better publicity” but went on to suggest that the structure of the event may have attributed to the poor turnout.
Clarke commented: “Structure of this evening hasn’t helped” and in future should be changed to make it “more inclusive”.
Welfare Rep proved to be the most competitive position with six candidates standing. Many of the candidates cited previous experience of similar roles in their speeches. Kirara Sato’s “free hugs” campaign was imaginatively apt – complete with a T-Shirt advertising the fact that she will “give a free hug to anyone”.
Daniel Herr also ran for Welfare in conjunction with his campaign for Treasurer. All six candidates were asked “If you were a contraceptive, what would you be and why?”
Sato’s reply was, “I’d be a condom because they hardly ever snap”.
International Rep candidate Alexis De Boeck was asked to speak in an Irish accent and simply responded, “the Irish? Do they still have potatoes?”
N Block Rep candidate Charlie Kingsbury acknowledged the need for improvement whilst defending the infamous accommodation by saying “N block has a nice personality- it’s what you would say about an ugly girl really”.
The challenges completed by candidates also proved memorable. Dan Ashcroft, running for Services Vice Chair, broke into a rendition of “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts”- but this did not detract from his key ideas such as creating a James equivalent to Dewent’s ‘Big D’.
Student Development Vice Chair candidate Rory Mercer had to initiate a conga line in the crowd. However not all challenges were successfully completed; those running for Ents and Annual Events Co-ordinator had to attempt an election rap, triggering much cringing from the audience.
Amidst the comic moments, it was hard to ignore the poor turnout. Although home to 600 Fresher’s only a handful attended the speeches.
James Sykes, a fresher, said “I didn’t go because I had work to do”. Perhaps more worrying was the small number willing to stand for a position. Out of the five positions relating to James College quads and blocks, only N Block had a candidate standing for the role of representative, meaning the vast majority of the residences in James accommodation will remain without a voice.
To tackle the turnout issues Christina Sztolin and Liz Blum, who are running together for the role of publicity, have pledged that if elected they would hope to increase publicity by “channelling all social media” into one place to avoid excess notifications as well as setting up an online James photo gallery.
Despite being disappointed with the quantity of candidates however, Clarke did note how impressed he was with the “high quality “of the speeches that were given. Watson too remained positive about the JCRC, and strongly encouraged more people to become involved, stating that it’s a “great opportunity for people to get together and gain a lot of experience, plus it looks especially good on a CV”.
Online voting will open on Wednesday at midday and close on Friday and the election results will be announced on the 2nd December at the James College Christmas Ball.