Disclaimer: Views here do not necessarily represent those of LSMedia or Loughborough Students' Union, but just those of the Label Editor. Feel free to join the debate below or write a response for publication.
Andrew Lawton blogged earlier about the importance of tonight's Union Hustings, not just for the candidates but for Loughborough's democratic legitimacy. I echo those views.
That is why it is ridiculous that the Acting Returning Officer, Pete Childs, has stipulated that candidates can only receive two questions from the floor and just one from the incumbent. What a ridiculous notion.
Yes, time is always of the essence. Yes, nobody wants to be in Room One having detailed debate for hours on end. But to enforce such ridiculous limitations to just one of two events that can allow the strong candidates to flourish and the weak ones to falter is nothing less than ludicrous. What's more, answers are limited to 60 seconds.
As a student of politics, proper politics of the left and right, I naturally refer back to proper and professional democratic practices. However, Loughborough is different, it's unique. Candidates don't fight for Tory or Labour values and in our society, that's a good thing. It's healthy, it's proper and our way of doing things should be encouraged and celebrated.
But when Union Hustings is disregarded in such a way, the event where serious and gritty debate is meant to take place, when substance is meant to win over style; it is a sad day for what we claim to be a student 'democracy'.
I have praised Childs this year. Last year's Candidates' Pack was, quite honestly, a joke. He ripped a whole lot of rules out of it. There are some holes, some discrepancies, but on the whole he's done a good job in rectifying a system that lacked legitimacy.
He's told Label this afternoon that his newly introduced Media Hustings will be a platform for further questions and scrutiny. I welcome that. If you have any questions you wish to pose to any candidate, then you can email them to me directly.
Despite that, on this matter, we disagree. Time considerations are one thing, the ability to scrutinise is another. He has made his priorities perfectly clear. And I call for him to change course before 7pm tonight.
Some reaction to the news on Twitter:
Limiting questions – ill-informed voters – elections even more of a popularity and money contest. #disappointed
What is more important, democracy and accountability or being able to get to Stuesday on time? #execelections
Limiting questions and the length for responses is to put it bluntly……..ridiculous! #ExecElections
2 questions/60 sec answers, very limiting, could talk for hours on elections, and manifestos. But how many students would listen for hours..
@MaxTurner10 yes it is for asking or debating questions and I agree, number and length should not be capped but at Pete's discretion