Searle Cites Personal Issues to Explain Absence

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Following tonight's Union Hustings, Label can exclusively reveal the details of Stu 'Superman' Searle's discipline as a result of missing Saturday's Candidates' Meeting.

The candidate for AU President, who is up against Adam Rae and Jasmine Scott, was not permitted to make a speech to the live audience in Room One and on LSUTV, as decided by the Elections Committee on Monday.

Within the candidates pack it explicitly states that a candidate must attend all meetings throughout the campaign, as exemplified below. If s/he is unable to fulfil this obligation for whatever reason, at least 24 hours notice must be given, a clause that Searle did not satisfy.

RULE B2.5

Candidates must attend all of the candidates' meetings to collect further information regarding the elections. If a candidate is unable to make a candidates' meeting or will be unavoidably late they must let the Acting Returning Officer know by writing and phoning in at least 24 hours in advance of the candidates' meeting. Failing to meet this requirement will cause disciplinary action from elections committee.

Searle cited extreme personal circumstances as the reason for his non-appearance, something that the Elections Committee did not deem worthy of forgoing any punishment, considering that he failed to communicate the reason prior to the meeting.

"I got a two minute speech ban for missing a Candidates Meeting that took place at 12pm on Saturday."

He continued by elaborating on the reasons for his absence:

"I would like to explain that I know that rules are rules and that Jimbo Cownley, the Acting Returning Officer, had to give a punishment of sorts, but I'd also like people to be aware that it wasn't through apathy or forgetfulness that I missed this meeting.

"It was because there was other stuff going on at home, personal stuff and I'd like people to realise that life does go on despite all of the hysteria surrounding elections.

"Life doesn't stop because I'm campaigning for a place on the Executive. So I had exceptional difficulties on that front and so got a ban from the Elections Committee."

In addition to Searle's discipline, Union President candidate Taz Siddeeque and VP Education candidate Jayde Savage were docked 15 and 30 seconds respectively from their speeches, originally meant to be two minutes.

Siddeeque's punishment was for being two minutes late to LCR Hustings on Saturday afternoon, while Savage was ten minutes late to the same meeting Searle failed to appear at.

Acting Returning Officer, Jimbo Cownley told Label tonight:

"We accept that Stu had personal issues he had to deal with, however the fact that he did not tell us prior to the meeting meant that we had to issue a discipline accordingly.

"It is crucial that candidates attend all meetings in the future and hopefully this will send out a message to all of them that they must abide by the rules of the elections."

The Elections Committee, by the letter of the constitution, is not permitted to make such decisions. However, all candidates agreed at the first Candidate's Meeting that they would be awarded disciplinary powers, as opposed to the Procedures Committee.

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