Voting closes in

Forge Debates : Night 2 Live Blog

Forge Press March 2, 20176:17 pm

We will be live blogging tonight’s event straight from Fusion! Watch this space to stay updated…

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About 5 minutes until debates start. Your live bloggers for tonight are Rachael and Luke

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The room here at Fusion is filling up, the atmosphere is buzzing

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We are about to start with a brief opening statement from the candidates for the Activities Officer position

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Tom has said that he has adequate experience for the role of Activities officer.

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Niall wants to have increased participation and awareness. He says that he has lots of experience that makes him a good fit for the position

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Fred: “I want to make it easier for students to get involved in societies and reward those who do”

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Daniela says that she has a lot of experience in activities and volunteering within the University

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Opening question from Alex: “What confectionery would you be and why?”

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Tom says that he would be a Dairy Milk Oreo… and Daniella would be a McFlurry.

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First serious question: What is your most important policy?

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Fred has stated the importance of making all societies feel valued

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Niall wants to increase participation and awareness of funding to start a society.

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Niall says that he likes Tom’s policy of helping homeless people in the community.

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Emma highlights the links between taking part in societies and mental health, and the importance of making it easier for those with health problems to get involved.

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One of Tom’s biggest focuses is helping the homeless in Sheffield, feeling that students spending between 3 and 7 years in the city should be giving back to local communities.

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Daniela believes that there are lots of opportunities in volunteering, but people don’t know how to get involved. Furthermore, when people have to have part-time jobs in order to pay for rent they will find it very difficult to take part in volunteering opportunities. She aims to engage more people in volunteering opportunities and give them support to do so.

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Fred’s retort is that we, as a Union, should make efforts to help a wider range of charities and encourage volunteering in general. However, Tom believes that the homeless remain one of the most underrepresented in terms of current volunteering.

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Daniela has said that she will use the TV in the Students’ Union to list all of the activities that are happening that week, whilst Niall says that we should have more fairs in order to enable people to have more access to societies and to know what events there are.

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Fred highlights the shortcomings of the Refreshers Fair and how it can be improved.

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Emma wants to make Activities more accessible to first years. Whilst there are fairs in the Octagon, this could be daunting for the first year students. Emma aims to tackle this problem by providing freshers fairs that are for freshers only.

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Daniela brings up that too much attention is given to freshers, and not enough for post-grads and international students. Emma agrees, suggesting that committees have post-grad positions or even have there own liaison role within the Union.

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Fred takes the broader approach of making societies more accessible for everyone, commenting on the poor quality of the societies section of the Union website and how it should be improved so more people know exactly how to get involved.

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There is discussion concerning including postgraduates in societies by providing fairs for them also. All candidates seem to agree that they want to include postgraduates and make societies engage with these students.

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Daniela believes that improving the publicity of short courses, such as Photoshop tutorials, is also vital.

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Tom says that we need to collaborate societies and create an event which can bring everyone together. This will allow for larger events and for the University to be more collaborative.

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Niall argues that a society varsity would be good. However the other candidates highlight that there currently is a society varsity, but it isn’t as popular as Niall may think.

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Daniela argues that it is hard to collaborate with other societies because they sometimes don’t check their email. In order to tackle this issue, Daniela suggests that there should be Facebook groups with all of the Presidents of societies. This will allow for easier collaboration between societies.

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Final statements coming up. Tom starts: compulsory mental health training for committees and more society inclusions.

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Emma promises to address a number of issues. This includes mental health awareness within societies, she also wants to include postgraduates and freshers into these societies.

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Dani wants to societies to grow and for them to be more collaborative and accessible for students.

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Fred wants it to be easier to take part in societies, as well as streamline the room booking system and make sure all societies are given the respect they deserves

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Up next: International!

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You can also follow our twitter here: https://twitter.com/ForgePress

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Live stream available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdYUJTiJEpk

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Check out ForgeTV’s stream for some expert punditry on the first debate of the night.

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Alex asks which Sheffield location would the candidates be… and why?

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Cheesy says he’s the Diamond because as an engineer, he spends half his life there

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Daniel would say that he would be West Street because it is busy and there are lots of shops there.

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Alex: “why did you choose Sheffield to study?” Cheesy says the prestige interested him to start, and was won over by the amazing views.

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Santhana says that she chose to study at Sheffield because their international community is “excellent” and the mental health awareness at Sheffield is great.

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Daniel admits that as a sponsored student, Sheffield was chosen for him. But he loves Sheffield for it’s societies and activities which he calls “top-class”

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The debates turn to how the candidates will support international students in light of Brexit…

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Santhana says that she chose to study at Sheffield because their international community is “excellent” and the mental health services at Sheffield are great.

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Cheesy says he doesn’t have a precise plan but he wants to work with the Advice Centre to provide the best services for those who need help.

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Santhana says that when Brexit happens, the Erasmus scheme will be affected. She aims to lobby the Government to be a key player in the negotiations by collaborating with the University of Sheffield and the NUS.

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From L-R, Chibuike, Santhana and Daniel

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Alex asks why the government would listen to the SU when they don’t even listen to the House of Lords. But Santhana argues that it’s not just Sheffield SU who are protesting Brexit.

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Daniel says that the University should have a clear policy and communicate with the students honestly about how they may be affected by Brexit.

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Alex: “What sort of rights are you looking to improve or enhance?”

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Santhana wants to increase the rights of international students who want to do a year’s worth of work placement as part of their degree. International students find it very difficult compared to home students to access these work placements because they are facing higher fees.

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There is tension in the room now…

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Santhana is challenging Chibuike’s view that printing should be free for students. She says that “Free printing is never going to happen.”

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Chibuike thinks that International Students pay a lot of money and don’t get value for that money. He suggests free printing and recorded lectures, to which Santhana argues that although recorded lectures is feasible, free printing will never happen

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Daniel wants to increase the rights of international students by increasing their chances of work after their degree but he doesn’t mention how he will achieve this goal.

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Santhana interjects again, this time backed by Chibuike. Chibuike wants to know exactly what Daniel will do differently to what has been done in the past.

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Alex gets straight to the point: “are any of your policies actually feasible?”, to which the audience gasps.

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There is laughter in the room now in response to the tension between Chibuike and Santhana

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In response to Santhana shooting down his comment, Chibuike replies: “fair enough”.

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Daniel brings up the lack of racial diversity in the elections, “how many white people are in here”, to which Santhana says he shouldn’t label people. The crowd are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Chibuike believes that the current demographics shouldn’t be used as a benchmark for the involvement of International Students

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Daniel disagrees with Santhana’s claim that he is discriminating against people who don’t speak English.

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Chibuike aims to strengthen the voices of the international communities through events and societies.

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Daniel wants to encourage integration and lobby the Union to provide more financial support for international students

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That was a very heated debate between the International Student’s Officer candidates… the audience are laughing and talking amongst themselves

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Soon to come: Sports Officer, where we’ll no doubt be told about funding, Wednesday afternoons and the promise of yet another Varsity win over Sheffield University’s noisy neighbours.

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All of the candidates running for the Sports Officer position are all sporting their Varsity tops… pun intended.

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A shot from the previous debate. It proved pretty feisty, Sport up next!

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Jake believes sport should be accessible to everyone, whilst Millie discusses her shy beginnings and how sport can help people develop.

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Flo wants to encourage others to be included in sports teams whereas Yasmin says that she wants to include anyone in sports teams, especially when they have minimal funds or little time.

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Classic sports question of what VK flavour they’d be, obviously followed by cheers from the audience.

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L-R: Yasmin, Flo, Millie, Jake, Katie

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Jake wants Forge to help edit videos of sports fixtures that are filmed by the sports team. Alex presses him about whether he has asked Forge about whether they are willing to do this… which leads to laughter from the audience.

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Millie and Jake discussing the logistics of booking out camera equipment through the University and how some kit is only available for student projects and not sport.

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Alex wants to know why the candidates stand out when their manifestos are so similar. Yasmin states that they want to listen to different clubs and societies about how they would change Sport Sheffield. She would do this by making it clear to Freshers and Post-Graduates that the Sports Officers are there to listen to them.

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Flo wants more campaigning to address disability, particularly mental health problems, in sport. She believes that this is something which is not addressed in the other candidates manifestos.

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Millie wants sports students to go out into the community and involve others in sports activities.

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Jake wants to pass all his ideas by Sport Sheffield and wants to form a social sport committee to help get students involved and get them aware of the opportunities available.

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Katie says that she wants to push students to be able to free on Wednesdays so that they are able to attend sports fixtures.

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Alex addresses hazing involved in University sport teams, using examples of freshers being forced to swim in park ponds and drink their own vomit, Flo wants greater communication with social secs within committees

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Millie wants to provide accountability for those who partake in activities such as jumping into ponds naked and eating their own vomit. She says that “A lot of people are doing hazing because they think they can get away with it, and we need to stamp that out”.

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Jake says that “lad culture” effects everyone at University and that sport’s chairs should be made aware that if caught encouraging such behaviour can result in teams being stripped of their official status.

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Yasmin says that we need to make it clear that this type of behaviour is “not acceptable” and students partaking in these activities should be punished.

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Jake says that the Sports Officer should collaborate with the Women’s Officer to be able to understand each other and work together to tackle the “lad culture” that can characterise ROAR.

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Alex brings up the popular view that ROAR is seen as “Rapey Roar” to which Katie replies “well its definitely a problem”, much to the crowds amusement

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Alex asks how we will tackle discrimination in everyday cases, such as discrimination in the gym and the changing rooms.

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Jake wants to encourage people to report such incidents so staff can act accordingly.

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Millie says that we must “challenge these attitudes” of how some people cannot play certain types of sport. Katie agrees with this and says that we should make people feel more included and able to any sport.

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Millie wants to “unite all sport” because there is too much division between sports teams and societies. She wants to “look after everyone who plays sport.”

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Closing statements now. Katie wants to get people feeling more confident and get everyone active. Similarly Jake says sport should be for everyone and this can be achieved through increased publicity.

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Yasmin wants to “improve mental health in the University through sport” by reducing their levels of stress. She wants to make feel like it is possible for them to do sport.

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We’ve been given a heads up that things might get heated in the debate for Education officer which is up next, so be sure to stay tuned.

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Kaityln: “All students deserve a good education and proper representation”

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Stuart says that he wants to bring a “grassroots approach to the Student’s Union” by making it more democratic.

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Ed says that he has a background in education and wants to give “student’s a voice every step of the way”.

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Bethany with a clear focus on student involvement and wants to encourage participation

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Anna asks which superhero the candidates would be…

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Alex what the Education Officer role involves.

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Stuart tries to think of a dog related superhero and suggestions come flooding in from the crowd. Nerds.

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Bethany says that the most important thing is to “act as a voice to the students”. She says that to provide a bridge between the students and the Student’s Union. Ed and Grace both agree that we need to provide this bridge.

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L-R: Stuart, Kaitlyn, Grace, Bethany, and Ed

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Alex wants to know how the officers want to engage post grads, mature and part time students. Jake cites his experience as a post grad, saying he wants to introduce a toolkit for students. This would allow students to easily contact their academic and course representatives.

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The candidates are nodding along with Ed’s points.

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Bethany says that there should be an international representative on each course.

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Stuart explains casualisation: “effectively it’s zero hour contracts…some teachers only have 15 minutes to mark an essay because of constraints”. He wants to work to improve working conditions.

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In response to Stuart’s point, Ed says that he agrees but we should focus on the wider postgraduate community.

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Stuart says that we must stop the increasing tuition fees. He would take the NSS further and boycott the DLHE. Stuart suggests that we should include Hallam University and other students to make this campaign bigger.

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Alex questions how realistic Stuarts points, particularly the NSS boycott and opposition to TEF, before passing it onto the other candidates.

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Grace thinks that to make the NSS Boycott more accessible for students, the Student’s Union and education representatives must lay out the arguments for and against the Boycott to increase understanding for students.

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Bethany thinks that main problem with the NSS boycott is the counter incentives, such as Amazon vouchers and providing money towards end of year balls, offered by departments to those who fill out the survey. She believes that the best way to combat this is for the Union to offer some form of reward for taking part in the boycott.

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Grace thinks that as a dual-honours student, the NSS does not properly represent or benefit both the departments she is a member of.

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Kaitlyn says that the NSS can be beneficial for universities. She uses her own experiences to support her arguing by stating that she chose to study as an international student at Sheffield because of their NSS university rankings.

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Alex asks what the candidates would do differently if they were elected. Ed wants more online software available to students.

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The audience are either bored or engrossed in this debate surrounding the NSS boycott and TEF. R.B

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Grace wants to encourage accessibility. Same as every other candidate ever L.B.

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Stuart thinks that the best way to improve campaigns is to get people out talking to students and making sure they’re properly informed on what the SU is doing and why

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Kaitlyn says that she wants to help students to “progress through their coursework”.

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Ed leads the closing statements “I want to celebrate the information being created at this institution”

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Grace says that she wants to make education more accessible and to “Get Grace on the case”.

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Stuart brings up his priority of mental health awareness, and how he wants to improve access to extenuating circumstances for those with mental health problems.

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That is it for Night 2 of the Forge Debates! Thanks to you all for tuning in. Hopefully you’re adequately informed for when voting opens on Monday. Good bye from Rachael and Luke!

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