By Jack Begbie & Lucy Tassell

Campus hacks gathered on Monday for UTS’ first ever SRC Presidential Debate. Amongst the considerable amounts of common ground, Connect Presidential Candidate, Beatrice Tan and Stand Up Presidential Candidate Heba Niem clashed over the diversity of their tickets, which ticket would best represent the students of UTS and over the practicalities of implementing their respective policies.

L-R: Heba Niem, StandUp; Jack Begbie, Moderator; Beatrice Tan, Connect.

Trimesters

The two tickets didn’t agree on what the Student Association’s stance on trimesters should be. Heba’s Stand Up believes that considerable work has been done to oppose them this year, but that the university’s trimester decision will not be reversed. Beatirce’s Connect believes more can be done in trimester opposition and they will still put up opposition to the change. In other news, UNSW is considering adopting trimesters. STOP THE SCOURGE!

Food or ?

The debate moderator had received reports that Stand Up candidates had been  telling students that UTS’ textbook policy had to change because some people have to choose between text books and food.

Heba did not deny the claims and said it was a reality for many students and the one-off payments for text books are a huge hit.

Stand Up plan on working with UTS to introduce a textbook loan scheme, whilst Connect plan on utilising the National Union of Students (NUS) to lobby for textbooks to be added to HECs (which would require an amendment to Federal Law).

Combatting Sexual Assault on Campus

Both teams came to a consensus on the issue of combatting sexual assault on campus, agreeing that whilst both tickets have seperate plans, they’d work together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that worthwhile policies and procedures are put forward after the election.

Diversity

Diversity within the team became a ? issue. Connect have opted to pre-select a potential Women’s Officer for their ticket. Traditionally, Wom*n’s Collective have put forward a candidate and they have been elected unopposed. Heba claimed that Connect’s decisions to preselect Leya Reid was a breach of the Wom*n’s Collective’s autonomy. Leya will be elected on October 7 unopposed.

The conversation is at the 15 minute mark of Part 2 of our debate. Watch it, because as we said, it was ?.

Stand Up meanwhile have pre-selected a potential Indigenous officer to part of their ticket, a move that Beatrice labelled as ‘tokenistic’.

When it came to diversity amongst the tickets, Heba argued that Stand Up have “the most diverse ticket” that includes representation from Indigenous Australians, women & minorities. Beatrice stated that “there’s a whole political spectrum” amongst her team and their backgrounds would be enough to represent all students.

Marriage Equality Plebiscite

When it comes to a federal plebiscite on Marriage Equality, should it go ahead, both tickets said they would work as a Student Association to ensure that student participate in the vote. Heba told the audience that her entire Stand Up ticket would be pro-Marriage Equality, whilst Beatrice said she would make sure both sides of the debate would be allowed to speak on the issue – as long as the debate is respectful.

The discussion then turned to Vertigo.

Beatrice’s Connect is supporting Verge for Vertigo, whilst Heba’s Stand Up is supporting Flex for Vertigo. They were asked how they’d go about working with the other’s Vertigo ticket, should a Connect ticket be voted in with a Flex ticket, or vice versa. Beatrice suggested that Flex should consider the cost of their launch parties and the cost of developing a Vertigo App.

Heba said she’d have no issue working with Verge, but said their ticket is not as diverse as Flex’s. Both candidates agreed that Vertigo Editors are underpaid for their work and said they as President would take a pay cut to ensure the Vertigo team were properly compensated.

(Just a quick note that these two mere scribes are not said editors.)

During submissions for the Vertigo election, Beatrice and Taylor Ficarra – who are both SRC candidates on the Connect ticket – submitted paperwork to run as Vertigo editors as Team Chocolate. They later withdrew to focus support on Verge.

There will be more Vertigo discussion this afternoon, when our Vertigo Editors debate kicks off between Verge and Flex at 6:30. It’ll be live streamed at Channel J TV.

How they gonna get stuff done?

Beatrice said Connect would utilise their connections between themselves and Faculty Student Representatives to lobby for change at a managerial level. Heba stated that Stand Up would continue having SRC listening posts so that they remained aware of what students wanted.

The debate ended with a cute & v. cuddly question from the audience;

Beatrice said Heba “has been an amazing friend” with “amazing drive, perseverance and passion.”

Heba told the audience that whilst they’ve had some “ups and downs” during the campaign, she does “love and respect Beatrice very much”.

Both loved the other’s passion and drive, and both are big fans of working collaboratively with the other. Knowing that our SRC will still function even if it is split between the two tickets seemed to be a bright note to finish on.

The full debate can be watched in two parts on Channel J TV.

So, who do you think won the debate?