The FSO candidates, having already attended the Sutton Bonington and the Portland Question Time, were invited to the Nottingham University Television Station studio for yet more questioning.
This was chaired by Oli Margolis, the current Finance and Other Services Officer. The exclusive audience consisted of members of the SU Executive, NUTS crew members and a few candidates that were in and out the studio. Phillip Geller was the only candidate to continue to wear his campaign t-shirt whilst both Sam Le Pard and Rob Hudson were in their own clothes.
There was a large focus on the Student Run Services throughout discussions. George Wright asked where they would find money to fund URN, as they have equipment which is over ten years old. Phillip Geller claimed that there were two options, the first being a reallocation of resources, in particular mentioning taking money “away from Impact”, however before he was able to mention a second response he ran out of time. Hudson and Le Pard were in general agreement, claiming that budget cuts should not be made to Impact. They both identified the possibility of the availability of bigger grants due to the increase in tuition fees therefore the Union might be the recipient of what Le Pard described as “a bigger income from an alternative stream”. If a bigger grant was not an option, they both agreed that cuts in stash and other non- essentials should be made. Hudson furthered this point, claiming societies and SRS’s should increase sponsorship and be “pushed to become more independent”.
In addition to this, the candidates were asked to mention which of the media SRS’s needs more funding. Both Le Pard and Geller recognised URN’s old equipment and Geller claimed that “last week the broadcast server blew up”. Rob on the other hand, picked NUTS, claiming “you guys are great”, whilst looking in the direction of the television crew.
Moving away from the media SRSs the questions turned toward Week One and Summer Party. Whilst earlier in the year Summer Party had its SRS status removed due to huge financial losses, the candidates were asked to consider whether Week One should go in the same direction. All candidates agreed that Week One, despite being another SRS, it needs to be considered individually. Hudson claimed that “it depends on how Week One is doing” whilst highlighting that “it is important that we get students involved”. Similarly, Geller claimed that students have done a “great job” with Week One and “there is a great collaboration of SRSs”. Le Pard highlighted that Week One this year made more money than they expected, going way over target.
One of the most ironic questions came from one of the online viewers who asked how efficiently they have spent their budgets in the past two weeks of campaigning. All the candidates remained certain that they had in fact used their budgets appropriately. Le Pard identified that he had in fact got a discount on sweets, because they had been “trodden on” so they were a good investment. Geller revealed that he had in fact still had £3.00 left. Hudson stated that he had spent the majority of his budget on what Margolis described as “paper advertising” through leaflets and posters.
Whilst the candidates appeared relaxed, answering questions with relative ease, the fact that they were in competition surfaced as they were asked to specify which of their opponent’s policies they found to be the worst. Le Pard and Hudson identified Geller’s policies. Le Pard claimed that the “text feedback service is impractical as email works well already”, in addition to this Hudson claimed that “bringing the FSO to the students is noble but impractical” as the role is largely operational. Geller defended this claiming that whilst the role is operational it requires time management and good time management would allow the FSO Officer to interact more with students. He identified Hudson’s controversial idea, regarding an outsider investing in the Den, as the worst policy.
Towards the end of the hour Margolis wrapped up the discussions. With cheering and clapping from the studio audience the candidates left the NUTS studio wondering which of them had been voted the favourite on the online poll by the viewers…