Why you shouldn’t re-elect Charnley

The incumbent Students’ Union president Chris Charnley is seeking re-election. Unlike Daniel Hutchinson, it looks Charnley’s going to stick with it until the end. If he doesn’t, the presidential race will be even more farcical than it already is.


The remaining candidates for the SU president position, Chris Charnley and Lucy Alborough.

So now it’s just between Lucy Alborough and Charnley. Charnley has the “benefit” of experience, but also the drawback of over six months of questionable actions. Figures also show that he already has a massive lead over Alborough.

Charnley gave students his 10 reasons why he should get the job again.  But leaving aside the issue of it not really mattering who gets in, it’s worth a look at why you shouldn’t vote for him.

  1. NOT DONE WHAT HE PROMISED

    Maybe he’s forgotten what was in his manifesto last year. Since it looked like it was copied from the previous president that’s perhaps understandable.

    Ignoring the waffle at the start, there are four main pledges: to improve the shop, do… something with the library, increase “student involvement” in the Engine Shed/Tower Bar, improve the standard of accommodation & introduce more checks.

    Yes, they were that vague (see third section for more on this theme), but see what’s happened so far.

    • The shop

      Well, right now we don’t really have a shop. This isn’t Charnley’s fault, but then again the decision to move it into the Main Academic Building wasn’t his in the first place. The shop was moved out of the ground floor of the library, into the space previously occupied by the careers service — which is now in its own building.

      It’s like a slide puzzle, which started with the construction of the Enterprise building. I somehow doubt that the university relented to Charnley’s campaigning, and built the Enterprise building so it could move the shop to please him.

    • The library

      Yes, there was another 24-hour opening period in December, and another set for around Easter. I’d be very surprised if the library staff didn’t have this planned following the successful trial the year before. Maybe Charnley had some minor influence here, but claiming it as a personal victory (as he does in his current manifesto) is clearly exaggerating the matter.

    • More student control over the Engine Shed/Tower Bar

      It’s still wholly owned and controlled by the university and hardly sees any action outside a few special events and gigs.

    • Improve student accommodation

      There have been no meaningful changes this year. The SU have been playing around with a new rating system and have run a survey.

  2. BIZARRE MANIFESTO PLEDGES

    Having largely failed to achieve what he set out to do last year, he’d pick some fairly straightforward goals for the next time. But no.

    For some reason he thinks it’s a smart idea to pledge to get the university to employ more students part-time. A nice idea, but not a smart one. Surely it’s obvious that the university concentrate on keeping the staff it’s already got?

    Another one is “better opportunities”, claiming that Bullet Magazine and the “Media Crew” give students industry experience and this should be expanded. Again, another nice idea, but how’s that going to work? Aren’t the faculties and departments far better placed than the SU to do this?

    The last pledge in his manifesto is for “better communication”, emphasising that SU officers should “[work] alongside student media”. Another nice idea. But his conduct in this regard has been poor, to say the least (despite The Linc’s encouragements to be more forthcoming, I must stress). If he really wants to do this, what’s stopping him? It’s a bit like saying: “I’m going to start exercising… next month.”

  3. PURE PR

    You can get away with a lot if you’re vague about things. Charnley does this very well — just take a look at the final line in his manifesto:

    Why should you re-elect me for President? I’ve lived up to my previous manifesto, changed your Union to work for you and proven that with my ambition and drive I’ve delivered for students – more should be done… more can be done!

    Make the claims as much as you like, but there’s no proof. The claim that he’s “changed your Union to work for you” is just bizarre. In what way has it changed? How is it working for me?

    This was repeated in another piece of campaign material, where Charnley wrote: “He fought for a Union that works to benefits students AND WON”. Again, it’s completely devoid of information.

    His campaign poster says:

    Elect a president who has proven he can… protect the student experience, achieve what students want, and best represent YOU!

    Yes, text on posters is best when brief, but not only is this claim lacking any evidence, it’s making claims so vague no one can know what he’s referring to.

    This is typical spin. It’s in the same vein as publicly joining the university in condemning events like Carnage because of fears over binge drinking, and then joining the “LINCOLN’S BIGGEST EVER STUDENT P!SS UP !” group on Facebook. It’s an attempt to be all things to all people, to tick all the boxes.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said that students “shouldn’t vote for [Charnley] and choose RON instead”. This is not the view of the author.

2 Responses to Why you shouldn’t re-elect Charnley

  1. Jemma says:

    I love reading The Linc, but I found this article perhaps a bit too personal? I don’t know if the editor has some sort of grudge! I don’t mind strong articles criticising the SU, because I think it’s important to scrutinise it. But I thought this was very much one-sided.

    Where are any direct quotes from Charnley, to back up his side?

    When it says: “I somehow doubt that the university relented to Charnley’s campaigning.” Who says we should trust the writer? Where are the facts or quotes to prove the University didn’t introduce the shop because of Charnley?

    I really like the articles normally, I do, but I just feel this is going a bit overboard and turning into a childish personal insult, rather than good investigative journalism.

    I’m not sticking up for the president, just showing my thoughts on the article itself.

    Jemma

  2. Rob Wells says:

    Hi Jemma,

    I can assure you I don’t have any kind of grudge against Charnley, but as he was the only SU officer seeking re-election I felt it was important to look at what he said he was going to do, and see if he’s achieved any of it. It was also important because in his manifesto for re-election he said that he’d done all of what he’d promised, a claim which is not consistent with the facts.

    There aren’t any quotes from him because it’s simply an analysis of how things have changed, and certain things can be measured. It’s not a case of getting quotes from one person saying “four plus four is nine”, and another saying “seven”. You can work out that it’s really “eight”.

    And as for your specific point about the shop — as I wrote in the piece, it moved into a vacant space after a new building was built to house the previous occupants, so the question that needs to be asked is “did Charnley convince the university to construct another building”, and the answer to that is quite plainly no.

    Best,

    Rob Wells