Much Agreement and Few Heated Discussions in the AUCSA Elections Debate

This year’s AUCSA’s candidates. Back row LR: Jerome Mies, Steffan Oberman, David Langerveld. Front row LR: Thomas Litan, Tim Moolhuijsen, Sezgi Iyibilir, Quinta Dijk, Floris Cobben, Stefanie Berendsen.

By Marlies Augustijn

— The time of the year has come: elections for a new AUCSA board. On Wednesday evening, May 13, 2015, the official election debate took place in the Merian Area of AUC. This year, nine candidates are running for a position in the board, and six of them will be elected.

The debate was the candidates’ first appearance for an audience, this night consisting of about forty AUC students. The evening was hosted by the Debating committee, and the debate was led by AUC students Sanna McGregor and Jakub Polansky.

In the running for Chair are Floris Cobben and David Langerveld, both second year students. AUCSA’s Chair has to make sure that the board members represent one vision and that they function properly together.

Cobben and Langerveld agreed that they would want to make life for committees easier. Langerveld said, “AUCSA shouldn’t be there to help you organize your events, but to provide the tools to organize them.” Cobben raised the example of inexperienced treasurers who could benefit from help with using Excel sheets and related programs.

When talking about improvements that the next AUCSA board could make, Langerveld mentioned that he feels General Assemblies (GA’s) are often very long and the topics are unclear. He wants people to know what will be discussed beforehand. Cobben would like to improve the transitioning process between boards because this would enable a new board to start off smoothly.

The calm atmosphere during the debate was only once interrupted by a question from an audience member who confronted Cobben about a night in which Cobben climbed onto the roof of AUCafé after apparently repeatedly being asked not to do so. The audience member said, “How can you call this representative for the AUC community?”

“I don’t want to use this as an excuse, but it was an alcohol-related night,” Cobben responded. “However, everyone makes mistakes, and I regret doing this.” Finally, both Chair candidates were asked why they would be best to guide the board. Langerveld said, “I have the natural inclination to want to know what is going on. I think this is important. Cobben said, “As Chair, your job is oversight. I have the skills for delegation and getting social interaction going.”

Next up were the Secretary candidates: Quinta Dijk and Tim Moolhuijsen, both first year students. The Secretary arranges all the communication and promotion of AUCSA towards and with all AUC students. The candidates both mentioned one change they would make if they were elected Secretary. Moolhuijsen said he would create an outreach acquisition team and Dijk said she would create more transparency towards the AUC community.

When the Chair candidates discussed how they could clearer communicate all the upcoming committee events to AUC students, the Chair candidates both privileged the MyAUC website over Facebook. The Secretary candidates did not agree. Dijk said, “I think that Facebook and the website complement each other.” Moolhuijsen said, “I would change some of the Facebook promotion into hard PR, such as posters.”

The only Treasurer candidate was Stefanie Berendsen, a second year student. The Treasurer oversees all financial matters of AUCSA, including the ones of all AUC committees and teams. Berendsen believes that the allocation of funds towards committees should be more transparent. Right now, to allocate 2500 euros at one time, AUCSA needs to communicate this to its members or let it be approved by the GA. Berendsen said, “If people are always aware of what money is spent for, then 2500 euros is a threshold that is a good one.”

Berendsen says she is already quite experienced with financial matters, which is why she believes she would be a suitable candidate. “I set up a tutoring system in my last year of high school which involved a lot of cash flow and treasuring. The last two years [at AUC] I really missed this,” she said.

The final speakers were the Committee Affairs Officer (CAO) candidates: Jerome Mies, Steffan Oberman, Thomas Litan, and Sezgi Iyibilir. Next year’s AUCSA board will have three CAOs, who are the main link between the AUCSA board and the committees.

The main points of discussion revolved around dealing with non-functioning committees and the arrival of new committees. The candidates discussed what they would do if a committee has internal problems and does not live up to its potential, and whether the rules for setting up a new committee should be stricter since AUC already has 31 committees and teams.

About the non-functioning committees, Mies said, “Currently, there are Committee Assemblies twice a year. I would like to expand on that and have meetings once a month.” According to Mies, this would make it easier to discuss problems. About the new committees, Oberman said he would take a close look at the AUC statues, and be strict in deciding whether new committees can or cannot be established.

Another question from the audience addressed how the CAOs would divide their time between committees with a bigger or smaller outreach. Litan replied, “Every committee has to feel as having equal chances.”

All CAO candidates agreed that committees should collaborate more within the AUC community. The discussion ended with the key question of how the CAOs would realize this. Iyibilir said, “For events, I would make a subdivision in committees, depending on what kind of event they are working on.”

Next Monday, May 18, the 21st General Assembly will take place from 18.00 to 20.00 in the AUC Common Room. For this evening, all AUC students are invited to vote for their favourite AUCSA board candidate.

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