Poor turnout and uncontested positions at AU Election Hustings

AU election hustings fail once again to attract contenders for the executive posts. The promise of a by-election by Jo Carter has raised hopes that the role of Communications Officer will be filled

Voting for the non-sabbatical positions of the Athletic Union Exec is now open after last Thursday’s hustings in Derwent Bar. Voting will close at 3pm tomorrow afternoon, with the results announced at 7pm that evening in Derwent Bar.

As in previous years, most of the positions are uncontested, with Mike Leahy and Adam Clark looking set to secure the important positions of Treasurer and Vice-President respectively.

The only contested positions are that of Events officer and the College Sport Referee Coordinator. The latter is likely to be an important position in the coming year, after the much-publicised difficulties finding referees this year, particularly in college football.

Most of the questions put to the two coordinator candidates concerned how to find referees and how to pay for them, with Lizzie Hollins proposing to give out a list of fixtures to all sports teams at the start of the year to make sure referees turn up to fixtures.

While Philip Walker argued that the money for referees “must be found from somewhere” because referees are “essential if college sport is to continue”, Hollins was more realistic, stating that unless the AU was given more money, “alternative options need to be looked at”.

They also differed in their opinions over whether referees should be paid if the University has paid for their course., with Hollins in favour of full pay for the referees, while Walker instead proposed paying them a reduced rate.

Mike Leahy, running for the key position of treasurer after being Lacrosse treasurer and AU Tournament secretary, seemed to focus mainly on re-budgeting rather than on schemes to raise more money, completely rejecting ideas such as charging for college sport.

According to one member of the Lacrosse exec, Leahy “rescued the club’s finances from the terrible state they had previously been in”, but he was hesitant to commit himself to policies until the AU’s budget was decided. He sat on the fence over whether to provide more funds to bigger or smaller clubs, claiming “I want to finance the big clubs to get the big results, but there are also BUSA points available in every sport”. He did state that he wanted to “develop non-BUSA sports, pushing them towards a BUSA standard”.

Adam Clark, a Derwent sports rep running uncontested for Vice-President, focused unsurprisingly on promoting inclusivity in college sport, seeing it as a “stepping stone” to University participation. He was also very much in support of further college barbarians matches, considering the success of the College rugby select VI against the Rugby 2nds, and declared that, if the one-day tournament later this term is successful, then he would look to establish Lacrosse as a college sport.

In response to a question about a college rugby league similar to the one in place for Football, Clark was hesitant to make any promises. He explained that the problem was in finding pitches, as the University teams don’t want college rugby matches on their pitches, and that he would be looking into other options.
The turnout for hustings was poor, with four candidates running for uncontested positions not turning up, while no-one is running for Communications Officer.

Speaking afterwards, Jo Carter stated that there would be a by-election for the position in the next few weeks, stating that she knew “a couple of people who may be interested.”