College members have a right to be angry with JCRs who failed them

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Time seemed to stretch endlessly; hour after hour passed by, the events of the day blurring into irrelevancy. The sun beat down upon the necks of the poor souls forced to wait in the scorching summer sun with seemingly no end to their mission. It seemed like days passed by with no conclusion reached. All hope was now lost.

They were of course waiting for County Extrav tickets. Or standing in line at Lonsdale. Or at a whole host of other college extravs that were scarred by a mixture of ridiculous queuing and poor handling of the situation that arose. Whilst many JCR members were no doubt thrilled to see the extrav tickets sell so quickly, the question to be asked surely is whether it is fair, especially during a busy exam period, that people can buy grotesque numbers of tickets, meaning tickets sold out before many could reach the desk and ensured some individuals waited for over four hours to gain tickets. Has campus lost its mind?

With people waiting for so long to get tickets, couldn’t a better system have seen queues reduced and a fairer chance for college members to be able to attend? After all these are the people who have voted in their JCRs with part of their remit being the organisation of the college extrav. How can this be a college event if its members cannot receive tickets due to queues or being unfortunate enough to have an exam on the day tickets are sold?

[pull]Imagine the outrage if Glastonbury allowed people to buy 17 tickets at a time?![/pull]

The JCRs have to be better prepared for the influx of students wanting extrav tickets. Some colleges dealt admirably with the demand: Fylde, for example, used a raffle system to prevent long queues and ensure that people did not needlessly waste their day in line for a ticket that they would never receive. Others did not. The question is why had so many other extravs, many that knew there would be a high demand, not prepared for the circumstances that arose? Allowing there to be formidably large queues, a majority of non-college students and, in some cases, people buying astonishing amounts of tickets at the time have allowed the extravs to descend into farce. Not even Chaplin could have prepared a better comedy than the extrav spectacular we have witnessed in the last few weeks.

The colleges need to prepare better for next year’s extravs and make sure a repeat of this year’s events do not return. Firstly, reserving half of the tickets on sale for members of the college would be an admirable step towards realising that the JCRs work for their college; they have no responsibility to other colleges and their students. News of particular individuals harassing JCR members who restricted ticket sales at the end to college members is disgusting but these events could have been prevented had college tickets been sold at an earlier date for college members to allow them to attend their own extrav. If I vote for a JCR member, I expect them to serve the interests of myself and my fellow college electors.

There must also be a better attempt to restrict the amount of tickets that can be bought by a single individual. News of students buying handfuls of tickets whilst queues stretched outside the bars is abysmal. Whilst some may argue that music festivals and other large-scale events have similar problems with demand, they also place restrictions on the amount of tickets that can be bought at any one time by any one individual. Imagine the outrage if Glastonbury allowed people to buy 17 tickets at a time?! Adding this to the raffle system formulated by Fylde College’s JCR would reduce the need for time-consuming queuing and leave a system that was fairer, quicker and more efficient in dealing with the demand for tickets.

The problems with this year’s extravs have highlighted a whole host of problems with the way they have been organised. Whilst all the colleges involved have had flaws exposed in the system they have formulated to sell tickets, some have been able to adapt magnificently to the circumstances. One can now only hope that the extravs themselves prove to be worth braving the ticket queues for.

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2 Comments

  1. Well said Liam, I am glad that some people will question the ‘T shirt tyrants’ that fill many of the JCR positions.. or the ‘Groovy Gangs’, ‘Cool kids clubs’, ‘Cliques’ etc etc.

    I really wish people in JCR and people in other similar positions at the university would stop acting as if it is their God given natural right to be in these positions and therefore they deserve no criticism at all. How dare mere ordinary students whom they are supposed to serve question their organisational skills.. even if they do make a dogs dinner out of it.

    For one it is really unprofessional.. I don’t see David Cameron going off his head an spouting off directed insults across social networks when his party is criticised (speaking from personal experience) or ranting in the media (reference to angry JCR exex member articles and letters).

    Some people at this university really do need to enter the real world and realise not everything is about them. If people will run for JCR positions they must suffer the consequences and criticism if they make a mess of things…

    After all LUSU is supposedly a democracy….. I think certain JCR members would have us sent to the Gulags for daring to question their authority….

  2. You knock some of my biggest problems with LUSU right on the head there. This barely scratches the surface. I could rant a PhD about this:

    1. Nobody in LUSU seems to be accountable to anybody, at least not in a meaningful sense. Few officers care if they get a second term, hardly anybody is paid and hardly anybody has ever been removed or exposed.

    2. A large number of officers in LUSU do not fullfill their obligations. When I served in the GSA exec, at times 75% of officers failed to deliver at all.

    3. Some of the largest democratic decisions I have been involved in (in the GSA at least) have been about T-Shirts.

    4. LUSU democracy doesn’t work properly unless everybody wants it. Nobody from LUSU actively checks on the correct democractic operation of their sub units. For example, some sections of LUSU I am/was involved in did not hold general meetings, keep minutes or respect the vote of the local exec committee/management team.

    5. LUSU does not have an effective means of communicating its intents/current thoughts with its officers or members. In some cases the decisions are made without the knowledge of said members. In some notable cases, LUSU have completely ignored the opinion of those it serves.

    6. These problems are spread throughout the organisation, at all levels.

    7. LUSU does not address the needs of all its members, in particular (with personal experience) non-taught students.

    8. Some elected officers are almost and quite literally appointed by LUSU.

    9. LUSU has become too much of a commercial organisation and is fundamentally distinct from a meaningful ‘ground roots’ student organisation.

    I can back up any of these points. But, frankly, I’m out of here soon and I don’t care if nobody takes it seriously.

    Although I think Payne and his team acheived some excellent results over the past two years, there remain some pretty fundamental problems. At lot of it comes down to the big-headed nature of some of its members, but that does not mean a little more supervision by LUSU would be ineffective.

    To leave with a final relevant observation, the GSA has one sports officer that sits in office for a year. He/she is elected in late November. If he/she is a masters student, he will be overloaded with work by Easter and left Lancaster by September. At best you get maybe six months of effort. That one student has to satisfy the needs of 3500 students, some of whom are here all year. If he/she decides to do nothing, an entire cohort of masters students have no sport. LUSU were told about this numerous times, and given lots of options to address the problem. Their response was the make the exec smaller and reject suggestions for block-of-six termly officers. Go figure.

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