[LIVE BLOG] 2017 AUCSA Election Debate: As It Happens

Sophia Hengelbrok and Nina Klaff

Dear readers, welcome to our live coverage of the AUCSA Election Debate on Wednesday May 3.  Below you will find continuously updated and time-stamped coverage of the Debate.

  • 18:03-The Election Commission opens the debate and introduce themselves and their role in the election process. There are snacks in the back.
  • 18:05- It is announced that Resident Assistant Jan Willem will lead the debate
  • 18:05- Jan Willem welcomes the audience and explains the structure of the debate. There will be opening statements (1 minute per candidate), followed by three rounds (Questions by the Election Commission, Debate and Audience Questions) and then Closing Statements. There are time limits imposed on each section.
  • 18:07- The three candidates for chair are introduced: Ishvar Lalbahadoersing, Anette Maletjaerv and Thanos Theofanakis.
  • 18:09- Ishvar (candidate for Chair) presents his opening statement. He states, “connection is the key” and says the AUCSA connects AUC and ensures it sticks together. He says we need to improve connections within AUC.
  • 18:10- Anette (candidate for Chair) presents her opening statement. She says she has noticed that we need to foster collaboration between committees and groups, as people are more likely to join larger collaborative events. She also finds communication and cooperation between UCs important.
  • 18:12- Thanos (candidate for Chair) presents his opening statement. He acknowledges that many students are not present at the debate-and states there is room for improvement . He finds it important to improve communication, opportunities for feedback, and collaboration between non-AUCSA boards.
  • 18:13- Louise ten Bosch (candidate for Secretary)- wants to improve communication with the outside community, improve Feb Starters experiences and keep AUCSA as the representative body.
  • 18:14- Rosalie Dielesen, candidate for Secretary, states she wants to improve transparency and become more approachable.
  • 18:16- Elizabeth Schippers, candidate for secretary, states she wants to make GAs shorter and more to the point.
  • 18:17- Amber te Winkel, candidate for treasurer, states she wants to increase collaboration with the audit commission and external parties such as EXTENSUS.
  • 18:18- Charlotte Kroese, candidate for treasurer, states she wants to improve transparency, implement new programs and will be communicative and open.
  • 18:19- Twan Stegeman, candidate for treasurer, says he wants to make the treasurer position more transparent.
  • 18:21- Madelief van Dongen, candidate for CAO, states she wants to continue to improve the representativeness and approachability of the AUCSA.
  • 18:22- There is a concert happening on the ground floor that is distracting some of the audience and speakers themselves. Lovely music though.
  • 18:22- Berend Jansen, candidate for CAO, wants to help smaller committees reach a broader audience
  • 18:23- Gerold Sewcharan, candidate for CAO, states he wants to connect people and the community, and will facilitate communication within the AUC community.
  • 18:24- Evi Sifaki, candidate for CAO, states she wants to improve the relationship between the AUCSA and committees, and take an active role as CAO.
  • 18:25- Noa Smits, candidate for CAO, wants to engage students and improve event planning and GA structure, as well as improving Intro Week.
  • 18:27- The second round (questions from the Elections Commission) starts.
  • 18:28- The Question, “what do you see as the AUCSA’s greatest challenge in the coming years and how would you address that as a chair?” is posed to the candidates for Chair.
  • 18:28- Anette says the greatest challenge is keeping committees healthy throughout the academic year, and keeping momentum.
  • 18:29- Thanos responds that as the organization grows more professional it might get hard for students to remain engaged. He hopes to ask for more feedback from students outside the GA.
  • 18:30- The speakers are still competing with the concert downstairs. The microphone volume is increased.
  • 18:31-Ishvar says the AUCSA needs to maintain what it already has, enlarge the engaged audience through more committees and create more events.
  • 18:33- The question, “How do you feel about the informal style of communication between AUCSA and the students? What image would you want to get across as a Secretary?” is posed to the candidates for secretary.
  • 18:35- Rosalie says involvement is key and the informal style of communication is important. The message is not weakened by the informal tone.
  • 18:36- Elizabeth responds that she enjoys the informal tone and will continue it. She wants to make the AUCSA more approachable and personal. Information should still be clear.
  • 18:37-Louise says she appreciates the informality, but a central form of communication is key. The formal style of email should be combined with informal content. The AUCSA should be approachable.
  • 18:37-“Heroes” by David Bowie is playing
  • 18:37- The question, “How will you make the budget more understandable and transparent for the students?”
  • 18:38- Charlotte says she wants to implement an online platform for the budget.
  • 18:38- Twan says he wants to keep the budget concise and easily understandable. He wants people to understand what the position of Treasurer entails.
  • 18:40- Amber states transparency is important and wants to post explanations of the budget online, as well as make sure major decisions are explained to the student body.
  • 18:41- Question for the CAOs: “”Why are committees not cooperating enough yet? What to do to change this?
  • 18.42- Berend gives examples as to how committees do cooperate.
  • 18.43- Gerold states that this is mainly a communication issue. Believes the CAOs are in a position to facilitate connections.
  • 18:44- Noa disputes the way the question is formulated. Believes there needs to be more planning in committee events: proposed a more comprehensive event calendar and improving committee feed.
  • 18.46- Madelief proposes two meetings per semester with committee members to facilitate communication and provide insight into events.
  • 18.47- The host forgot to call Evi to the stage.
  • 18:47- Evi wants the committees to directly communicate. Proposes an event in which committees can communicate. Promises to keep an open mind as CAO and meet with CAO.
  • 18.48- Host invites audience to ask any questions.
  • 18:49- Anouk, much to the host’s surprise, has a different question for each CAO candidate. She asks Amber how she would improve the audit commission and committees.
  • 18:50- Amber promises to take their opinion into account and give more contact time.
  • 18:51- Anouk asks Twan how he would get more people interested in the budget
  • 18:51- Twan assures Anouk does not smell and she is welcome to stand closer to him. He says he wants to lower the threshold.
  • 18:52- Anouk says that increasing online presence has already been requested and that the budget is often online but not always updated. She asks how she would rectify this.
  • 18:53- Charlotte says that she would encourage the Audit to publish the budget 4 times a year so that people can know that it is online and in an updated view.
  • 18:54- Jesse asks if when we overbudget, this comes at the expense of smaller, more ‘niche’ committees?
  • 18:55- Charlotte answers that committees’ budget depends on how much money they make and spend. She emphasises that the budget GA is not definitive and that she will ensure to speak to committees should they need any more funding.
  • 18:56- Amber also wants to answer. The crowd goes “oooh.”
  • 18:57- Twan says you can ask for more money whenever you want and that there is a part of the treasury devoted to unforeseen changes in the budget.
  • 18:58- Round 2 starts: Debate. Host refers to microphone as ‘talking stick.” 30 seconds per candidate followed by open discussion.
  • 18:58- The candidates are asked how they will keep everyone motivated.
  • 18:59- Thanos promises to keep people motivated as chair. He wants to get to know every AUCSA Board member personally and ask them why they decided to run.
  • 19:00- Anette says that she is hopeful for a good team as this will motivate her board.
  • 19:00- Ishvan emphasises the importance of motivation. He wants to set goals and ascertain how his team will work best.
  • 19:02- Thanos switches it up and instead of responding, asks his opponents what they will do to improve.
  • 19:02- Ishvar states that motivation will come as a result of it being fun.
  • 19:03- Thanos says that people tend to bond as a result of spending periods of time together. He wants to observe personal developments and focus on personal goals.
  • 19:04- Ishvar says that personal conversations are most important, and refers to previous Chair Lance’s initial conversations as inspiration.
  • 19:04- Anette says that the motivation will come from having a really good team.
  • 19:05- The candidates are asked what they would do in times of conflict.
  • 19:05- Ishvar says that he will search for the trigger point in case of conflict. He states that analysation is the most important skill for chair.
  • 19:06- Anette says that she would have personal conversation with someone if they are not doing their job properly due to personal reasons, or just conflict within the board.
  • 19:07- Thanos says that everyone has had trouble when working in group but that taking responsibility is important.
  • 19:07- Round 2 continues : The Secretary Debate. Candidates are asked how they would create a centralised platform to promote committee events.
  • 19:08- Elizabeth states that updating the committee calendar will be a priority.
  • 19:09- Louise says that PR is a very important role.
  • 19:09- Rosalie states the benefits of the Committee Feed but also says that the AUCSA should be more involved in giving smaller committees a voice.
  • 19:10- Elizabeth says that it is the committees’ role to promote their own events.
  • 19:11- Louise responds by saying that committees should also be allowed to grow without too much interference from the AUCSA.
  • 19:12- Rosalie says that she will promote smaller boards.
  • 19:12- Louise says that she thinks it is important that board members lead by example by attending events.
  • 19:13- Elizabeth says that committees like the Herring should also help in promoting events. Is this an attempt to sway media coverage in her favour? She says it is committees responsibility to promote.
  • 19:15- Louise says she wants to encourage people into the office by putting what is going on on the whiteboard.
  • 19:15- Debate: Treasurers. They are asked how they would ensure the budgeet represents the interest of the community.
  • 19:16- Charlotte wants to set up a live stream of the GA and an online voting system to allow for remote voting.
  • 19:17- Twan wants to look at smallest committes so they can capitalise on growth.
  • 19:18- Amber says that she wants to invite committees to revise decisions. She asks Charlotte how she will stream the GAs.
  • 19:19- Charlotte says that there is not enough attendance at the budget GAs and that online voting systems will increase interest and activity in budget decisions.
  • 19:20- Twan says that AUCSA should not be too powerful.
  • 19:21- Amber responds that she would like to support smaller committees.
  • 19:22- The host brought up the Lustrum. Anxiety among the crowd. A reported 9,000 euros was spent on the event. They are asked how they would have dealt with this.
  • 19:23- Charlotte says that this would have been approved in the GA, so again emphasises the importance of participation in the budget.
  • 19:24- Twan says that publicising the GA would have prevented this from happening
  • 19:24- Elizabeth says it needs to be made clear what budgets entail, through Facebook
  • 19:25- The CAO’s enter debate
  • 19:26- “Committee events that sell too few tickets should be canceled because they are too expensive”is the statement proposed to the CAO’s for debate.
  • 19:26- Evi does not agree or disagree with this statement-it depends on the event and should be the last choice.
  • 19:27- Berend agrees with Evi, and should be discussed within the AUCSA and board members. But it may be better in some cases to cancel the event.
  • 19:27- Noa states this questions exposes the deeper problem of lack of participation-why aren’t people buying tickets in the first place? And states she does not agree with this statement.
  • 19:28- Madelief agrees with the statement, but does not agree that small numbers of attendees should mean the event gets canceled because new initiatives should get the chance to start up.
  • 19:28- Gerold does not think ticket sales should be a prerequisite for an event to happen and smaller events should happen to fulfill smaller niches.
  • 19:29- Madelief responds to Evi and asks for clarification on her ideas about committee collaboration
  • 19:30- Berend asks Madelief how she would manage creating less events but still represent every group
  • 19:31- Madelief says we should look at how we can solve structural issues with attendance, and take into account new initiatives.
  • 19:31- Gerold states different committees should form their own identities and it should not be expected that committees have to collaborate in order to have popular events.
  • 19:32- Evi says quality is better than quantity and that small groups should be represented, collaborations are just an option.
  • 19:33- Noa says engagement could be solved through Intro Week by having committee hold events during the week.
  • 19:34- Berend states that he hears people talking about the homogenous crowds at events, and it is important to have a variety of events. Collaborations are important.
  • 19:35- Madelief argues that we shouldn’t just hold events to hold events.
  • 19:36- Gerold agrees with Noa, saying Intro Week should have more events to clarify what each committee does. Facebook should also be improved.
  • 19:37-Noa argues that Facebook confuses people, and a calendar should be implemented and focused on.
  • 19:37-Berend argues that the Facebook events are easy to find.
  • 19:37- Madelief says that the amount of events are overwhelming and often overlap.
  • 19:38-Gerold likes the calendar idea, and states planning is key.
  • 19:38- Madelief responds, saying she would implement chair meetings where boards can meet and plan events and prevent clashing events.
  • 19:39- Gerold states he thinks the online platforms can be used to improve planning.
  • 19:40-The host opens up for questions to CAO’s from the audience.
  • 19:40-An audience member asks how we should promote the calendar and Facebook at the same time
  • 19:41- Gerold argues for the improvement of Facebook use along with the increased promotion of the calendar.
  • 19:41 Berend states the boards need to send their events to CAO’s in order to improve the calendar-communication needs to also improve.
  • 19:42-Madelief says the calendar should connect to Facebook.
  • 19:41-Evi states the calendar is part of the secretary
  • 19:43- Petra asks how they would sort out clashes between committees and prevent them having events at the same time.
  • 19:44-Berend states that committees should discuss amongst themselves and solve the issues peacefully.
  • 19:45- Noa argues again that the calendar is important
  • 19:46- Madelief says it depends on the committee and the situation.
  • 19:45- Gerold argues two committees can have events on the same day-it depends on context.
  • 19:46-Evi says the CAO is key and committees need to work together, but every situation is different.
  • 19:47- Gordon asks how the candidates would help committees that are lacking motivation or structure
  • 19:47- Noa responds that she would give them extra attention, and encourage others to join the committee to bring it back to life
  • 19:48- Madelief argues participation is important, and that increased meetings with the committee should be held in those cases.
  • 19:49- Gerold argues the struggling committees would require extra promotion
  • 19:49- Berend says he would work with the committee to discuss why it is not working
  • 19:49- Jesse asks what the candidates’ weaknesses are and what they want to take from the team. He asks that another candidate responds with how they would assist them.
  • 19:52- Louise says her time management and organizational skills are improving
  • 19:53- Twan says he also struggles with planning but is a very energetic person
  • 19:53- Elizabeth says she is a perfectionist and sensitive, and often ends up crying as a result.
  • 19:54- Evi states that her weakness is getting overwhelmed by us, but is very motivated.
  • 19:55- Ishvar says his weakness is he expects too much from teammates but he also works really well in teams.
  • 19:57- Berend states his weakness is he lacks showing emotion, but he
  • 19:58- There is confusion over the question as people have been answering with both strengths and weaknesses, but this is allowed to continue.
  • 19:59- Anette says she can make people cry with her sense of humor and would like to improve on being more friendly and professional. She’s good at motivating the team.
  • 20:00- Noa says she doesn’t think before she speaks, but is very passionate.
  • 20:00- Charlotte says she is organized and likes to make others comfortable, but can be insensitive when working in a team.
  • 20:02- Thanos says he struggles with organization but can listen really well and advise people in a team.
  • 20:03-Madelief says yes to too many things, but is very positive and encouraging.
  • 20:03- Rosalie says she is great at motivating others, but this can be a weakness as she forgets about herself.
  • 20:04-Gerold says he struggles with planning and time management, but is great with people and communicating.
  • 20:06- Amber states she is a procrastinator, but is very honest and communicates well.
  • 20:08- Audience applauds.
  • 20:08- Lance (current Chair) has a question. He asks future chairs how they would deal with a team member who, in private, is very difficult.
  • 20:09- Ishvar says that this question is not easy, but that it is the Chair’s responsibility to keep work as a priority, but maintains he would aim to solve any problems. He wants to show that he is also one of the team: take responsibility, but also remain equal.
  • 20:11- Anette says that this is unlikely because she doesn’t think any of the candidates are the type to hold a grudge.
  • 20:12- Thanos says that people don’t just really hate each other. He promises to find out what the problem is.
  • 20:13- The concert is still fantastic. We have moved on to spanish music. Wonderful.
  • 20:15- live blog was interrupted due to technical difficulties. They are currently discussing what would happen if the board encounters a controversy, such as the Lustrum budget.
  • 20:17- Andy asks what their stances on the level of transparency are.
  • 20:18- The music is making people emotional. The candidates are encouraged to dance. Thanos perseveres.
  • 20:18- He emphasises that the board is collaborative and that students should be asked regularly what they think.
  • 20:19- Ishvar does not think asking the people is constructive. He thinks the authority of the board is to be respected, such as the expertise of a treasurer.
  • 20:20- Louise agrees that transparency is important. She says that consultation is not necessary but that it is important for people to be able to comment if they want to.
  • 20:21- Charlotte says that too much transparency is not desirable. She emphasises giving people the choice about whether to participate or not.
  • 20:22- Amber says that she wants to avoid people protesting against their decisions and that transparency is important.
  • 20:23- Twan says that the democracy concerned is covered by the GA, etc.
  • 20:24-There is another question from the audience asking Charlotte and Twan why they ended up changing their applications from other positions to Treasurer.
  • 20:26-Twan says that he was very excited by both the CAO and Treasurer positions. But he was motivated that he had a better chance to win the Treasurer.
  • 20:27-Charlotte says she was interested in both positions, but she wanted to challenge herself and choose a position that would use different qualities.
  • 20:29- Anouk asks Berend about his idea of the Initiative Commission
  • 20:29-Berend responds that he wanted to give students the opportunities to organize initiatives without a huge investment of time
  • 20:30- Anouk asks about the details of how such a commission would work
  • 20:31-Berend says decisions would be made within the committee.
  • 20:33-The debate is concluded.
  • 20:33-The host asks who will be attending the GA (on the 9th of May), and thanks everyone for attending.
  • 20:34- Ilen thanks everyone for coming, and thanks the candidates for their hard work.

That’s all from us! Thanks for reading.

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