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KSU Elections Debate: Live Updates

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After the successful “Candidates in the Hotseat” event on Friday, presidential candidates Gayle Lynn Callus (SDM) and Clive Gerada (PULSE) go head to head in what should be a heated debate.

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Live Streaming of debate: livestream.com/insitemalta

ATTN: Live Stream might not be consistent, due to problems with the UoM Internet connection which Insite has no control on.

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Live Blog:

14:06 The debate has been concluded by Julian Caruana. Presidential candidates shake hands, and representatives of Insite, TDM 2000, Pulse and SDM pose for a photo and are given a souvenir of today’s debate. Thank you for your attendance and for following our live updates. We apologise once again for the issues with the live streaming, however the connection at University is not within our control.

14:04 By Pulse’s slogan ‘paving the way’, he means that students should not only benefit from KSU’s work but should work hand in hand with KSU themselves to achieve such beneficial results. He says that student involvement should extend involvement of the 33% of voters. He mentions that a lot of mature students wonder what KSU actually does.

14:03 He says that Pulse will provide all the available options and leave the decision-making up to the students.

14:02 Gerada points out that the current problems faced by UoM students have always been problems when a SDM student council was inside KSU. He criticizes them for focusing too much on designing aesthethic manifestos and posters.

14:00 As a concluding remark, Callus says that the SDM manifesto provides an accurate vision of what SDM will achieve should they get elected and that their campaign slogan will reflect the relationship they will hold with UoM students.

13:59 Gerada says that such organizations cannot only be held at JC but in all Maltese 6th forms. Callus points out that their AGM report mentioned the fact that KSU had held consultation meetings with all Maltese 6th forms, except St Aloysius because they weren’t available. He also adds that KSU worked with KSJC even when it was a mixed council.

13:57 With regards the lack of activity by KSU at JC, Callus points out that KSU have only used events such as pizza day as a platform to meet students and discuss any issues they might have had. He mentions his plans for an Organisations’ fair at JC, and that KSJC was given 5,000 euro to invest in the students there.

13:56 With regards the running track, Callus says that the funds will come from the University and the European Union. The complex will also host a large parking area.

13:56 Gerada criticizes KSU for not consulting with organizations such as We-Are.

13:55 With regards LGBT issues, Callus re-affirms his stance that discussions no longer need to be held about it. We are living in the 21st century and people should be allowed to do whatever they want to in the bedroom.

13:52 With regards the parking sensors issue, Callus says that SDM have conducted their research along with other private sectors.

13:51 Gerada says that KSU has worked but has done so in a bureaucratic manner and that is what Pulse will try to change.

13:50 With regards the legal studies issue, Callus criticizes Gerada for not making reference to an urgent KPS meeting that was held about the problem.

13:49 Callus speaks now and says that the only board that Pulse had to contact regarding Smart-Card refundable ferry trips was the SMGB board. He also adds that Pulse’s proposal regarding smart card refunds for Gozitan students will be taken on board even if SDM are elected since it is a proposal that has several merits.

13:48 Regarding the civil union bill, Gerada says that Pulse have moved on towards the inclusion of transgender UoM students.

13:48 Gerada also adds that the University should not only cater for current University students but also for future ones.

13:47 He says that such a lack of concrete activity disheartens students.

13:46 Gerada wonders whether organizations believe that KPS is currently capable of providing proper action to their problems.

13:46 He brings up the fact that the Faculties of Business and IT do not yet have any official representatives.

13:45 Gerada points out the need for proper transparency between KSU and students. He says that KSU had not even asked Pulse regarding several issues.

13:44 Gerada brings up the issue regarding John Gabaretta but Julian Caruana shuts him off.

13:43 Gerada points out that World Cup stickers are already smart-card refundable so the implementation of his scheme will certainly be a successful one.

13:42 Gerada points out that the manifesto is only a vague outline of Pulse’s plans and that he obviously plans for meetings beyond the Gozo Liaison Officer at KSU. Firstly though, he plans for a proper collaboration with GUG.

13:42 Regarding Pulse’s proposals for a locker system to cater for any Gozitan students’ baggage, he points out that such a scheme is already partially in place.

13:40 Ryan Mercieca, GUG President, asks Clive about his proposal regarding Smart Card refundable Gozo Ferry trips. He points out that all Pulse have done was hold one meeting and neither with the University board nor the Ministry of Gozitan Affairs.

13:39 Luisa Tolu, a We-Are representative asks Gayle-Lynn regarding KSU’s statement on their stance on civill unions, criticizing them for being vague and potentially clueless.

13:39 Karl Attard, a first year PE student, says that the promised track from last year’s SDM manifesto has not happened. Callus asks for a clarification of which manifesto he is referring to.

13:37 KSU exec member Luana Vassallo points out a mistake in Gerada’s argument regarding KPS.

13:36 Another student takes to the stand to criticize KSU for only organizing one pizza day and one milkshake day as part of their JC-related projects.

13:35 A law student takes to the stand to ask what studies their proposals on the parking sensors in Car Park 4 are based on.

13:34 Zerafa points out that Gabaretta may have had a conflict of interest as a secretary general of KSU and part of the senate.

13:33 Gabaretta stands in front of Zerafa and tells them that any personal allegations should be told directly to him, in his face.

13:34 Julian Caruana asks Zerafa to conclude because his one minute is over.

13:30 Matthew Zerafa takes to the stand to answer Gabaretta’s question. He says that KSU’s senate does not currently publish their minutes. He has no problem with that but does have a problem with the fact that, while Gabaretta was within KSU, the Legal Studies issue was never brought up.

13:29 Gabaretta steps up to the mic. He criticizes Gerada for only focusing on the expenditure of events and for ignoring their income that often over-rides any expenses made.

13:28 Paul Caruana Turner steps up and criticizes SDM’s bipartisan nature. He says that, for him, there is no Pulse and SDM…while wearing a Pulse T-shirt. He says he will be there for each and every student.

13:28 Julian Caruana opens the floor for student questions.

13:27 Gerada says that money will be gained by cancelling some excessive events.

13:25 He brings up Pulse’s proposals for a Resource Card for international students that will offer discounts on local products for international students. He says that KSU’s focus should not be on itself but on students and student organizations.

13:24 He also mentions Pulse’s green plans with regards the addition of bike racks and the promotion of car pooling. He points out, however, that such projects take time. He insists that ’We must work for all students, even for international students.’

13:22 He says that, should Pulse get elected, they will give priority to job opportunities, parking problems, late result publication, the introduction of Smart Card refundable Gozo ferry trips for Gozitan students and to the creation of a rubber track and a synthetic football pitch within UoM. He also highlights the need for improved wi-fi connectivity, particularly within Gateway.

13:23 Gerada says that the if Pulse is elected in KSU, they will give priority to the tardiness of results, parking problems and other student-related issues.

13:21 Gerada agrees with SDM’s campaign slogan but points out that their proposals for the time sensors and the five-minute reading time before exams were borrowed from Pulse’s manifesto from the previous year.

13:20 He also brings up SDM’s proposals for a van to cater to the needs of student organisations, and for the introduction of a car pooling system, time sensors ,and a drive-in cinema in Car Park 6. He concludes by quoting SDM’s campaign slogan “The student will be at the centre of our work”.

13:19 He also brings up SDM’s proposals for the canteen refurbishment project that will directly encourage student participation in a similar manner as the Quad refurbishment one and the Student Mobile Plan that will offer specific mobile-phone deals exclusively for University students.

13:18 Callus brings up his past experience as Culture and Entertainment Officer within KSU and states that he has always stressed the importance of the involvement of student organisations in KSU’s decision-making process, a philosophy he now wishes to expand to the education sector.

13:17 Caruana brings up a potentially controversial question: “Why should students vote for candidates from Pulse/SDM and not from the other party.”

13:16 Gerada compliments KSU for their work regarding the Quad refurbishment project and says that Pulse will follow that route by not focusing solely on short-term projects but on similar long-term ones.

13:16 Callus brings out the pictures of the planned new Quad, for everyone to have a look at, and both candidates agree that the proposed refurbishment of Quad is a step in the right direction.

13:14 Callus points out that Quad is due to be refurbished this coming summer in a project that will see an investment of 20,000 euro from non-KSU coffers. As the final design for Quad was the winner out of a competition that was open to all students, Callus uses it as a clear example of active student collaboration with KSU that is about to bear real fruits.

13:13 Caruana wonders why several proposals in both manifestos refer to their future involvement in projects where the final decision lies out of KSU’s hands. As an example, he offers the refurbishment of Quad that was proposed two years ago.

13:11 Callus points out that he is fully in favour of gay marriages and gay adoptions, and that his position is crystal clear. His aim is not to go to the media and boast about KSU’a achievements but to wade into the student body with the help of student organisations, not only with regards events but also with more important social and education issues.

13:09 Gerada brings up the recent Insite article that quoted SDM’s secretary general’s response to the civil union bill as saying that SDM are ‘open to discussions’. He slams into them for being far too late for discussions about a bill that is soon to be passed and wonders whether their efforts would have been better spent preparing students for a life after the inevitable passing of the bill.

13:08 Gerada points out that SDM’s response was far too late.

13:07 Gerada expands on the Legal Studies issue by pointing out that, while medicine students enter their course with a background in biology and chemistry, law students only need languages to enter Law Course and, as such, are confronted with several confusing legal terms that their lecturers assume their familiarity with.

13:05 Callus presents KSU’s reaction regarding the Legal studies issue. Gerada continues to insist that this wasn’t enough

13:05 Callus reminds Gerada that SDM have issued an official response regarding the Legal Studies issue. Gerada slams into SDM for their constant use of buzzwords in their reports. Callus points out how many meetings KSU have had with deans of various faculties.

13:03 It is heating up big time here. Gerada says that he will not be afraid to criticize what is wrong within KSU. He says that, if it wasnt for Pulse, the Legal Studies issue would have been swept under the carpet.

13:02 Gerada responds by listing down the positive projects that GHSL was a part of including their representation of the student body and their active involvement in the Legal Studies issue.

3:01 Caruana brings up the fact that Clive Gerada was president of Ghsl and spent six months on an Erasmus exchange without resigning from his GHsl position. He wonders whether that is the sort of commitment the students should expect of him should he win the election.

13:00 The crowd is turning restless.

13:00 Callus brings up the fact that the financial information that Gerada is after is already available on their website. Gerada wonders why it is that students have to go to KSU for information and not the other way around.

12:58 Gerada refers to the fact that KSU’s financial report made mention of 14,000 euro that were spent on ‘other expenses’ that were not specified further. Callus tells him that he could have asked that question at their AGM. Gerada re-mentions the need for full transparency of KSU’s finances to the student body.

12:57 Callus points out that KSU do not have the power to create audits whenever they want to. Gerada disagrees with him and says that quarterly audits are nothing extraordinary and certainly achievable.

12:56 Gerada wonders, for example, where the 20,000 euro on the Research Fund actually went to. A student shouts out that such information is available on the KSU website and Gerada mocks SDM by saying that ‘everything is on the website…”

12:55 Gerada says that, with Pulse in KSU, they will report their financial income and expenditure to the students. Yearly reports are not enough and such information must be made transparent to the students every month.

12:53 Callus criticizes the student for his lack of awareness on several projects that have actually come at the cost of KSU expenditure, such as the implementation of the water fountains. He also mentions behind-the-scenes work such as the setting up of transport, culture and research funds that may not always be visible but which positively affect students at the cost of money from KSU’s coffers.

12:51 Caruana halts the debate to bring up a real-life situation where he had met up with an architecture student who criticized KSU for not doing enough and who used this hypothesis as justification for the fact that he wasn’t going to vote at all this year. He was left stunned when Caruana brought up the fact that KSU had spent 280,000 euro last year and that, over the period of four years, it could be calculated that over a million euro have been spent. He asks Callus what KSU have done with those million euro.

12:50 Callus shoves away Gerada’s questions about KSU’s work four years ago, pointing out that he is only concerned about what is happening in the present.

12:49 Gerada criticizes the fact that not enough student consultation was held with regards the borderline mark for the publication of exam results. He asks why the deadline had not been set to a date earlier than the 31st of March.

12:47 He also mentions the problem with late results. He points out that, as it stands, finished exams are sent to their respective examiners who used to remain anonymous. However, KSU have now managed to make the identity of those examiners transparent to those students whose papers they actually correct.

12:46 With regards events Callus says that they involve students on a direct basis and that, as a result, SDM will be expanding on them should they get elected.

12:46 Callus also refers to the fact that the student voter turn-out for last year was larger than of the previous year.

12:45 Callus tells Gerada that KSU have actually asked students for their input and brings up the poll that was sent to students regarding the positions of the new water fountains as an example.

12:44 Gerada says that having a KSU with open doors for students is not enough and that KSU should actually get down and dirty with the students themselves. He also appeals for more communication with the students, something that he insists is currently lacking.

12:42 Gerada says that Pulse will spend far less money on events. Almost 50% of the previous SDM’s funding was spent on events. He says that events are important but should not be a priority and that the focus should be on student representation. He wonders whether most students are even aware of the existence of the student consultation app on KSU’s website.

12:43 Events should not be a priority of KSU’s, says Gerada. Their primary priority should be student inclusion.

12:42 Caruana rephrases the question by asking Gerada how Pulse will solve the problem.

12:41 Gerada brings up the problem of student apathy that he claims KSU have not done enough to counter.

12:40 Caruana mentions the fact that only 30% of students voted in last year’s election as a reflection of the possibility that only 30% of UoM students care about what goes on within KSU. He asks them what guarantee they have that their proposals will positively affect students beyond those 30%.

12:39 Callus asks Gerada what Pulse are proposing that is different from what SDM is. Gerada says that Pulse have never got a crack at SDM but Callus shakes his head and tells him that they have had more than enough chances to win election.

12:38 Callus mentions the several meetings that KSU have proposed very recently but Gerada counters and says that it is not meetings that students are after but proper concrete action.

12:37 The Presidential candidates are doing a quick fire of questions and one-line answers, the winner gets the most applause… Callus continues to insist that they are on the right track and is met by a round of applause.

12:36 This is getting interesting quickly. Gerada says that Callus’ admittance that the parking problems haven’t been solved yet reflects a lack of power within the previous KSU.

12:35 Gerada criticizes SDM for having been within KSU for several years, during which time they have proposed far more than they have actually changed.

12:34 Callus says that SDM is the only organization that proposes and provides holistic plans regarding transport.

12:33 Callus brings up the bike partnership scheme that is set to be implemented within the coming weeks and the Transport Fund that Gerada conveniently forgot to mention that had seen the donation of 5000 euro by Transport Malta to facilitate public transport for UoM students.

12:31 Callus slams into Gerada, saying that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He reminds him that KSU don’t set the meeting dates. Gerada mocks him by sarcastically stating ‘You represent the students..’

12:31 Things are heating up just 15 minutes into the debate.

12:29 Gerada criticizes KSU for not introducing the white parking scheme before midday, the morning including those peak hours where students find most trouble parking in. He also criticizes the previous KSU for dragging their feet on several other important issues and for only implementing them a month before the elections.

12:28 Callus has been to several meetings to increase the number of white parking spaces at UoM.

12:25 Caruana interrupts Callus’ speech to ask him to expand on what the previous KSU have done to improve the parking problem at UoM. Callus mentions the Precints Office that was set up last November.

12:24 With regards increased student participation, Callus mentions the need for KSU to involve student organisations in every decision. This is a proposal that has already started to be implemented in the actions of last year’s KSU, for example, with the Organizations Forum.

12:22 Callus’ visions include increased student participation, and the changing of the KPS statute as proposed in the flowchart in their manifesto that will make proper use of student and organisation consultation. He refers to KSU’s work throughout the previous year and explains SDM’s proposals regarding KPS which he says are built upon student participation and feedback.

12:20 Caruana wonders whether such proposals counter their greener ones. Gerada mentions Pulse’s car pooling proposals that he says will not only be environmentally beneficial but will also help students with regards to the lack of parking spaces.

12:19: Gerada also elaborates on parking problems and how he is going to go about solving them. He refers to last year’s proposals on parking by SDM. He criticizes KSU for their lack of concrete improvements in parking at UoM. He says that the government’s current Park and Ride scheme is nowhere near enough, particularly for the students from the south of Malta.

12:17 Gerada explains that he wishes to work with Malta Enterprise to allow students to meet with potential employers. He mentions the importance of internships and training to allow graduates to settle comfortably within the world of work.

12:17 Gerada mentions a decrease in tardiness in result publication, a solution to the parking problems faced by students, and the bridging of the large gap that currently exists between university and the workplace.

12:16 Caruana asks the two candidates what their three main proposals are.

12:15 Caruana introduces the two candidates and both are met with a round of applause. The announcement of Gerada is met with a few whoops too.

12:12 The chair for this debate is Insite’s Media Officer Julian Caruana.

12:11 The candidates have taken to their seats. It looks as though Callus will be referring to his manually written notes while Gerada will be referring to his electronic tablet.

12:05 The weather is scorching and the presidential debate between Gayle Lynn Callus, candidate president of SDM, and Clive Gerada,  candidate President of Pulse is about to begin. Hold onto your seats.

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