10 March 1969
Guild Gazette has an Election Manifesto Special out today, containing the manifesto and proposer’s statement for each candidate. The results of the election can be found here.
The theme of my manifesto is one of economy and increased earnings for the Union from non-student sources. I also want to see increased student participation in the affairs of the University, particularly from Scientific faculties.
To this end I will endeavour to :
- Increase vacation hire of the Union to outside bodies for the holding of conferences etc. , and plough the profits back into term ti me catering, and attempt with this extra revenue to peg or even reduce caf prices. This is obviously a long-term venture.
- Press for (a) the abolition of the personal tutorial scheme, especially in Hall, and the spending of the money so saved on better welfare services for students; (b) the setting up of one coordinated body to replace the several welfare organisations working in the University; (c) greater independence of the Health Service from the University.
- Employ students in the bars, as at most other Unions, to overcome our present staff shortage. This would imply no redundancy of present bar staff, and would improve the efficiency of the bar.
- Cut out waste in Guild administration; eliminate all perks such as Guild Council Wine and Cheese party, and the three shillings Council meal allowance. Tighten up the procedure for making expenses claims on Guild.
- Press for move towards student flats as the next development of Halls, on the lines of those at Newcastle University.
- Ask for reasonable representation on Senate. Senate is the governing body of this University; students have shown themselves to be responsible in the running of the Union; let us participate responsibly in those parts of Senate business that concern students.
- Radical changes in the handling of Guild Council. More publicity of Council (e.g. duplicated broadsheets before each meeting) to make it more relevant to students. Insist that Guild reps gives reports on Council business to their “A” society meetings. I oppose the running of Guild by mass meetings because, unless every student attends, any small pressure group will be able to manipulate decisions. Guild Council may be petty and childish, but at least it is cross-sectional.
- Survey of demand for increasing Hall bus services.
- Vociferous minorities have their useful place, but I will also pay more attention than previous presidents to the wishes of the ninety per cent of students who are not Guild bureaucrats, or who are not politically conscious, and whose work load does not permit them to participate in Guild. This can be done by insisting that Executive visit “A” societies and Halls regularly, and are more approachable than at present.
I will not promise that any of these WILL happen. All I can promise is that I will do my best to carry them out; no man can promise more, and that on any new issue that may develop in my year of office, my views will not be coloured by any political or other prejudices.
I do not ask for your vote. All I ask is that you vote for somebody. This is your Guild – you are being asked how you want it run.
Peter Brown came to University after a year working first as a male nurse in a mental hospital and later in a cancer research laboratory. In his first term at University he was elected Fresher representative on Guild Council, and subsequently, before the end of his first year, he was elected to the Executive of Guild. He has been President of Apathy Society, which, as second year students will know, was one of the most active and most interesting ‘B’ societies of last session. He is at present the Secretary of his ‘A’ society, the Chemistry Society.
In all these positions he has brought a fresh and novel outlook; this is particularly reflected in the success of the lecture programmes he arranged for both Apathy and Chemistry Society. He has played a leading part in this year’s revival of the Chemical Society, and he has acquitted himself well,on the Executive, pursuing several projects of long term importance to the Guild and its members.
Pete Brown has shown himself capable in all his three offices, and I have no hesitation in recommending him to you as your next President.
There can be no doubt that in Liverpool University there is a general lack of consultation, and more importantly, participation, in all spheres of activity. While no honest person would pretend to be able to alter the situation overnight, there are specific steps that can be taken to create an environment where greater participation must inevitably follow. It is with this in mind that the following points are put forward for your consideration.
- Apart from cafe and the bars, the B societies are the largest part of the raison d’etre for the physical existence of the Union. In their case, money represents opportunity the present tiny proportion of our total income can and must be increased from for their benefit; specifically by drastic reduction of the wasted expenditure on a Guild dinner and Commemoration reception, and other forms of hospitality in general. Some £2,000 p.a. can be saved this way. I am committed as treasurer, to doing this, irrespective of the election result, but am very much more likely to succeed given a mandate.
- Similarly the Athletic Union must receive a higher proportion of the Guild’s income.
- Mass Meetings are essential, since given the knowledge that they can be effective in determining the decisions which affect them, students will exercise their right to do so. These will replace the policy-making aspect of Guild Council, which will remain to carry out the necessary administration. Publicity must be effective, and should be in the form of a letter to individual members of Guild.
- Extension of facilities: ie. late night opening of the bar one night a week to begin with; similarly with the new coffee bar which will eventually be open 24 hours a day.
The University is taking a hard look at the role students have to play in its government. Accordingly we must press very strongly, with the strength of rational argument, and support from the student body for representation of Departmental, Faculty, and Senate levels. Given this situation, again students will be drawn into greater participation in the affairs which directly concern them. There are ways and means of doing this. It is useless to threaten or demand; a rational approach must be adopted and is much more likely to succeed.
As the only candidate with any connections with General Services, I fully realise the importance of maintaining and expanding the facilities for student and University participation in the local community. This is a particularly difficult problem; flat statements are therefore futile, but it must not be allowed to put on the shelf, as is the danger at the present time.
Four hundred flatlets are due to go up on the campus in the near future, and need for more of the same cannot be over-emphasised. It may be possible to initiate our own scheme in either building, or converting existing property for student accommodation.
Halls of Residence: parity of visiting hours for all halls must be firmly requested.
With your endorsement for these policies some of the barriers that exist can be broken down and the first steps made towards a properly integrated community.
Gavin Graham, a 3rd year Biology student, is at present Treasurer of the Guild, and has served on Executive for 18 months. However, during this period, he has not allowed himself to lose sight of his perspectives and become embroiled in the petty politics of his situation – as those who know him will testify – and has attained a wide outlook and interest in all aspects of University life.
Gavin Graham will, if elected, settle very quickly into the role of President, and this is of paramount importance to our President if he is to be effective. His reasons for standing are that he offers experience, and a very real concern for the fullest benefit to be had from the University by the students and believes that this can best be expedited by creating the necessary environment. If by standing he encourages one person to vote who would not otherwise have done so, he will be on his way to fulfilling, in small part, this concern.
We need a President who is able, who is experienced, and above all, honest, and I believe this to be Gavin Graham.
The implications of this manifesto have been fully considered and drawn up in the light of what is possible, the emphasis being not on the wistful but upon practicality. The policies outlined below indicate the area in which the potential of Guild may best be developed.
Mass meetings should play greater part in the government of Guild, alongside Council, with an initial trial period of six months in order to assess the role that they might usefully play in formulating policy.
Council will function more efficiently under an independent chairman specially elected to control business. Council hours must be shortened still further, possibly by the introduction of one extra Council per term.
There must be campus development of flat facilities for students, and also further development of the Carnatic site. This would take the form of purpose-built student flats with at least 200 of these completed by 1970. Guild must compile a register of good flat accommodation for students and be able to give advice on rents and disputes with landlords.
Contraceptive advice must be readily available. Confidentiality is essential. The Health Service will be improved by the making available of a register of local doctors who could work within the framework of the Health service and improve its efficiency.
The quality of the food in the Union can be improved by using deep freezing methods which would allow more time for the preparation of food and for a smaller staff to be employed all year round. The new snack bar shall have extended hours of opening to coincide with the opening of the Postgraduate hostel with the eventual aim of providing a 24 hour meal service and in time the 24 hour opening of the Union.
More effective use and extension of the serving area available in the Sphinx bar. There should be a greater variety of food in the bars, different sorts of pies and bread and cheese. Revision of Hall regulations if the bill giving the age of majority at 18 is passed by Parliament. Better communication between the Halls and the Union, with improved transport between the two, especially after Union functions.
The Presidents must meet regularly with the Halls, the A societies and the student body in order to achieve vertical communication and keep in touch with student opinion and activity.
Staff/student committees are essential at department level, in order to allow communication between staff and students at the level where the decisions can only be implemented. Student representation on Senate is a priority and must be achieved as it will also lead to student representation on committees at all other levels throughout the University.
Some provision must be made to help lecturers improve their lecturing techniques and further reassessment of exams must take place in negotiation with the University.
If you place your confidence in these policies I will ensure that every effort will be made by myself and the executive team to implement them and break down the barriers that hinder effective action within the Guild.
Sandy Macmillan is twenty-two years old and a second year Building Scientist. Within a few weeks of coming here he was elected onto Guild Council as a F’resher Representative, where his quiet, closely reasoned and winning way, inevitably stood out on a body notorious for its illogicality. It was no surprise, therefore, that he should convince Council that his talents were very much those demanded of an Executive member.
Few people would deny that he has been the success of the present Executive, bringing to his post of Deputy Treasurer valuable outside experience gained during a year spent teaching when he proved his administrative ability and competence. It is time we had an administrator upon whom we can rely; a legislator who was industrious, in fact, a President whom we could expect to find in his office before noon in a fit state to give help and advice: Sandy would be all these things and, moreover, a President we could respect.
We deserve Sandy Macmillan and his policies which offer to us the preservation of what is good in Guild and a pledge – not easily given – to alter what is outmoded and unjust. You should have no hesitation in lending your support to his.
Over the past few months many people have noticed a growth in the desire to see the Guild more actively involved in society. This is a response to that feeling. It is a statement of progress and a declaration of principle which we as a Guild should be following.
- The University and Guild must increase its obligations to and involvement in the problems of the society around us. We must seek to destroy, once and for all, the notion that students are a disinterested, introverted elite.
- We must press for control over our own environment. We should not rest content merely with increased representation on sterile committees, but should seek to create alternative structures for our education and administration. The pursuit of knowledge must be our aim, not just satisfying the needs of acquisitive society.
- We must govern and administer our affairs on the basis of mass democracy. We must cease to be tied to the whims of Guild Council, or the ‘school prefects’ of Executive.
– the policy of Guild should be ours.
– the decisions should be ours.
– power should rest with all the students, and not with a self- perpetuating clique.
Our first priorities
- Abolition of Guild Council and its replacement by mass meetings and democratically elected administrative officers with committees directly answerable to the mass meetings.
- Greater support for organisations which attempt to break down the barriers between students and people in Liverpool – cultural, political and charitable.
- Eliminate wasteful expenditure on lavish social activities which allow Guild bureaucrats to indulge their fancies at the expense of ‘A’ and ‘B’ societies.
- Step up pressure on the University to allow real consultation on all questions which affect students at university; exams, housing, welfare, courses, etc. We must seek to establish an academic community in which students are regarded as equals, and can contribute to that community in something more than the subservient role of a consumer.
– staff/student committees should be established.
– role of exams should be decreased
– courses should be geared to accumulation of knowledge and fulfillment of personality, not the needs of industry.
- Reform Student Health and Welfare Services so that officials are appointed students. Confidentiality must be respected and both services must meet the needs of students.
Questions we must answer
- Why do some people think the Union nothing more than a social club?
Maybe it should be something more.
- Why do we continue to support a Guild Council which behaves like a kindergarten?
Maybe we don’t.
- Why do we allow Guild bureaucrats to waste our money?
Maybe we won’t.
- How do we expect anything to happen if we leave it to other people?
Maybe we should change all that.
Utopian? Well perhaps. But only in isolation. Taken in the context of our unique position in society, and with the cooperation of all who seek change, then we can surely realise our aims.
I would therefore seek your support when you vote to ensure the necessary changes are made.
In three years at Liverpool Dave Robertson has been involved in more areas of university and city life than most people would dare to attempt. After only a year Dave was editor of Guild Gazette, and the next year saw some of the most brilliant and controversial editions of the paper in recent times.
During this period he rarely took an overt part in Guild politics, but on leaving Gazette he turned his attentions to the Guild bureaucracy. He never became a member of Council or Executive and he used his detached position to mercilessly criticise the antics of those bodies. In debates Dave used his considerable speaking ability to bring situations of people in the city to the notice of students. The same ability has this year taken him to the semi-final of the national Observer Mace competition.
The principles Dave outlines in his manifesto are those he has put into practice. In the city he helped run a campaign to help tenants’ fight rent rises. In the university he led the move to establish a staff-student committee in his department.
It is because of Dave Robertson’s ideas and principles, and his ability to put them into practice that I ask you to make him next year’s President.
Rosalind Russell Blackmore
It is often the case that in writing manifestos people make promises without considering their feasibility. I believe that the following points I shall be discussing can be achieved, and I shall work to the utmost to attain these ends.
People are too willing to criticise the student for so-called “apathy”. I believe that if students just coming to the university were made more aware of what the Guild of Undergraduates stands for: what they can do within Guild: what Guild Council does: what mass meetings could do, they would be more capable of becoming involved.
Mass meetings are the only way of assessing students’ real opinions, but we must work to create real student interest in them before we can viably abolish Guild Council. One of the present weaknesses is that students are unaware of their role, due to a lack of a two-way flow of information.
At present this is not geared to work for the sole benefit of students. It is essential that attempts be made to appoint full-time student doctors, chosen by a panel of medical advisors and students.
With the decision to allow students to choose their own accommodation after their first year of study, it is even more vital that we establish a closer liaison with the Rents Tribunal in Liverpool. We should also continue the policy of liberalising the rules and attitudes of the Halls of Residence.
At present the Appointments Board cannot satisfactorily assist all final-year students seeking careers advice. The Board should work rather as a central agency, receiving information, and greater emphasis should be placed on departmental consultations.
Much hard work has been done by recent lady presidents in this sphere. We must continue the work for establishment of a successful crèche.
All changes in the Guild of Undergraduates can be facilitated by cutting out waste and frivolous expenditure, which also allows for a greater flow of money to A and B Societies, which is where the bulk of students are most active.
Her four years at Liverpool University have seen Ros Russell-Blackmore play an active part in many aspects of university life. In her first year Ros studied law, and became secretary of Legal Society, but now she studies history.
Ros’s first contact with Guild administration came through the Athletic Union, where she was especially interested in tennis and hockey, but this year she has taken a more direct part in Guild as Executive member for Guild affairs. This requires a good deal of hard work and ability, but Ros has successfully combined it with her final academic year.
For all her administrative experience Ros has never become ossified in the bureaucracy, and she is determined to improve many aspects of student welfare; like problems in accommodation and the Student Health Service.
The post of Deputy-President is new, and it will require knowledge of Guild and organisational ability – which she has gained through working on Executive; plus tact and charm – which as a friend I know her to possess. On this basis I believe that Ros Russell-Blackmore has all the qualities essential for the post, and I ask you to make her next year’s Deputy-President.
How much do you know, or even care about Guild? Are your interests its concern? Guild Council at present appears to be an esoteric body divorced from the mass of students, sometimes used as a platform for fifty people to express their own view, and not those of the people they represent. Clearly a more democratic system is required ensuring fuller representation for the 6,000 members of Guild.
I would like to see a combination of the following policies implemented, working towards a democratic Guild, in which the general student opinion is ascertained and is the basis for action.
- Guild Council should be more like a committee, responsible to the Guild Membership, with a better information flow between the individuals in their departments and their representatives.
- Mass meetings and surveys conducted to ascertain the general student opinion.
- Executive no longer elected by Guild Council, but instead by Guild, thus helping to make people more aware of its functions.
There are many improvements to the present system, I feel could be implemented, providing they were acceptable to members of Guild.
- The introduction of the Student Counsellor is something which has been needed for a long time, making the present structure of the tutorial system questionable.
- The setting up of the urgently needed nursery for the children of both staff and students.
- Finding out exactly what students expect from their Health Service.
- Tackle the Hall problems by a revision of the out-dated tutorial system, the abolition of men-hours, so working towards lessening the boarding~school atmosphere they have at present. Try to alleviate the Hall/Union conflict by paying separately for evening meals.
- Discourage the building of more halls of residence, in favour of purpose-built flats near the Union.
- Help ease the chronic digs situation by abolishing the mixed digs rule, so allowing more students to live near the University.
- Attempt to utilise the Union during vacations, which would help to keep staff and pay for its running.
- Help to improve the standard of meals by introducing a blast-freezing system, and having bulk-buying in season, to provide for both the Union and the Halls.
- Have Presidential office hours. Financial arrangements could be revised so that more money is available for “A” and “B ” societies.
- Encourage students to participate in the running of their academic lives, by the setting up of staff/student committees to discuss course content, teaching methods, alternative methods of assessment.
- Aim for more student-involvement in the City through community service and try to establish better relationships with the other colleges in Liverpool.
If elected Deputy President I would want to initiate policies working towards a democratisation of this Union. For it is only when one is aware of student needs can one even begin to work towards obtaining them.
Cal~oline F’armer is a twenty-one year old student of Politics and Secretary of Carnatic. She was at a college of further education in Liverpool, meanwhile gaining necessary administrative and public relations experience with the Liverpool Shakespeare Society and as Clerk to the Liverpool Parliamentary Debating Society as well as acquiring a knowledge of Liverpool. Most importantly, she has clear understanding of the problems of other educational institutions.
At University she became Secretary ,of Carnatic and demonstrated a continued concern for the local community by becoming Community Service liaison officer for Politics Society – in whose affairs she also took an active interest.
By broadcasting weekly for the Union on Radio Merseyside she has been helping to create the student image on Merseyside and her more artistic interests found an outlet in helping with Sphinx.
She is an ideal candidate for the Deputy Presidency, because she is capable of injecting a fresh approach into a job and has the necessary strength of character not to play second fiddle to the next President – to be his Deputy, not his underling.
She is a person of infectious enthusiasm, quiet confidence and great purpose. Articulate even on the squash court, her one weakness is an addiction to Hobbits.