Last night was the hustings for next year's student union president. There are two candidates form the Drama department standing: Adam Barley and Danielle Sykes and both had five minutes to put their case - along with the further four candidates - to the student body.
It was a fascinating evening. Firstly the popular Athletics Union president, Jason, whose always given great support to Drama students and their work, withdrew his candidature in an emotional speech in which he tried to reassure the electorate that he hadn't dissuaded anybody else from standing. Jason cried, his opponents cried, everybody cried. It felt like an American soap. I suspected mafia style dirty tricks somewhere, especially as Jason insinuated that some people had tried to ruin his reputation, but in the absence of direct allegation and baseball bats - it was hard to get a clear picture of what was really going on.
After that the Presidential candidates got to go. It's a better field this year, although all of them seemed keen to 'borrow' from each others manifestos. A couple of fresh ideas - turning the Dolche coffee shop into a wine bar in the evening. A more pro-active approach to searching out student opinion and reporting back to senior management and a genuinely independent student newspaper seemed to be highlights. There were some tired uncosted promises about running discounted club nights in Central London - but the main message was a focus on trying to raise revenue for clubs and societies through by bringing more life back to the SU itself.
There are problems for the Union - the men Brad, Ben, Adam and Matt were all listenned to in silence - the crowd hushed by their partisan followers; whereas the two women Danielle and Tania had to struggle above chatter (despite the fact that they both had well prepared speeches.) This covert sexism slightly shocked me, especially as the contest in every other way is being fought in an open and friendly manner. It'll be interesting to see whether the alleigence of a specific sport club or society carries the day or splits the vote. The system is done on transferable votes so the hope for our two drama candidates is to pick up enough first choices from students in Drama, Media and Education in the first round and come through, picking up sport votes on the 2nd or 3rd ballot.
Voting is all day Friday!