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Re:

Postby Mr Comedy on Fri May 18, 2007 11:57 am

Quoting exnihilo from 00:31, 18th May 2007
Just out of curiosity, I thought I'd haul this thread back up to the top and see if the sponsorship raising effort is under way and making progress - not to be unhelpful, but indeed to offer what help I still can. Friends of friends may not be the ideal way to proceed as a matter of policy, but it can't hurt to try tapping personal contacts too.


As I understand it there has been an increase in funding for IV debating through an alumni donation.

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"I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea. " -Lu Tung
"I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea. " -Lu Tung
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Re:

Postby David Bean on Sun May 20, 2007 3:25 pm

Quoting Mr Comedy from 12:56, 18th May 2007
Ahh yes - the Ben Spiers approach was novel. I see the logic. "If I make it impossible for students to do anything, they'll probably stop badgering me!"


I think it would be wrong to ascribe motive to some of his more bizarre actions, but he was very odd indeed. He seemed to be driven by certain dogmatic principles he'd picked up, and sought to apply them regardless of their relevance to the situation at hand. When I was Convenor, for example, I had to fight off attempts, both led by him, to ban the use of order papers in the House and have them replaced with a video or slide projection, and to turn the UDS into a funding body for debates run by students, in the way that Mermaids currently operates. Both of these ideas are absurd, naturally, but he'd decided that he wanted no paper agendas at any Association meetings, and that all SSC subcommittees should be acting as funding bodies, and so everyone else must fall into line.

Separately, well, everyone who wants to claim knowledge of the Society's history should be aware of his attempt to disaffiliate it by force; that was what occasioned my cutting short a St Valentine's weekend break, because the meeting I had to attend to defeat that particular hijacking was scheduled for the Sunday. I also recall a time when Magnus Paterson, then the Association Chair, asked me to bring a motion providing funds to pay for the transport home of staff after the Christmas party, on a point of safety; when it came to the meeting the gentleman in question forced me to withdraw the motion after informing us, rather hysterically, that the SSC 'cannot comment on staffing'. When I became a sabb myself I learned, of course, that this was a bald-faced lie, and the SSC can comment on whatever it damn well pleases so far as the Association's services are concerned, but I wasn't to know that at the time because the system relies on the sabbaticals being honest with the officers working under them. Thank God Derek MacLeod was President last year, and one of the few sane sabbaticals we've had; otherwise I think I'd probably have gone mad myself.

I mention this just in case anyone's under the illusion that it's easy being Convenor of Debates when services in the Association are run by a megalomaniacal madman!

[hr]

Psalm 91:7
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Re:

Postby RJ Covino on Mon May 21, 2007 1:36 pm

Quoting David Bean from 16:25, 20th May 2007
a megalomaniacal madman!


I would like to point out that David's portrayal is an uncharitable, unchristian and, indeed, wildly inaccurate characterization of a man who was a tireless worker on the students' behalf.

I too ran one of 'super-societies' during his era (apologies for never having been able to shake that relic of the Durant era from my brain); I found Ben to be inordinately helpful and quite genuinely concerned that the Association's resources weren't pissed away. He was the one who set the ball rolling for increased society funding across the board, it will be recalled, and his good works have been greatly built upon.

Some problems I have with David's statement:

1) the paperless meetings came about as a result of an E&E supremo's monstruous (and, according to Mr Byrne, unethical) strategic plan equivalent. Not quite the governmental by Spiers fiat as David suggests, is it?

2) forced disaffiliation. Again, not really. Did he want to change things? Dear god, yes - and they needed changed, as many agreed at the time (see the back pages of this board for some of those 'debates'). Is the current "as a society, we must provide a real service to the students" mantra that gets bandied about so often largely down to Ben and, in debating terms, his legacy? You're damned straight it is. But perhaps you want to call that a bad thing, which would certainly be your right.

3) the SSC funding cabs for drunken staff post X-mas party. I seem to recall that the problem was that the SSC shouldn't be spending money earmarked for students for that purpose. As Chairman, Magnus shouldn't have been asking anyone to bring motions forward anyway, as you full well know - though he did a good line in pretending, the fifth sabbatical (as I do believe he termed himself) he was not.
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Re:

Postby Mr Comedy on Mon May 21, 2007 4:42 pm

Calling yourself "The 5th Sabbatical" is no justification for a 2.2 - believe me I've tried.

[hr]

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Re:

Postby David Bean on Mon May 21, 2007 11:39 pm

Quoting RJ Covino from 14:36, 21st May 2007
I would like to point out that David's portrayal is an uncharitable, unchristian and, indeed, wildly inaccurate characterization of a man who was a tireless worker on the students' behalf.


Wah, Mistah Cohvino, ah'm shahcked! A professional disagreement, maybe, but uncharitable un-Christian? Moi? Shurely shome mistake! :O

I too ran one of 'super-societies' during his era (apologies for never having been able to shake that relic of the Durant era from my brain)


Is that where that ridiculous expression came from? Goodness, I genuinely hadn't heard that before. Can you recall the reasoning behind it? I mean, yes, it makes sense in the abstract, but it's still a damn' silly think to call them.
1) the paperless meetings came about as a result of an E&E supremo's monstruous (and, according to Mr Byrne, unethical) strategic plan equivalent. Not quite the governmental by Spiers fiat as David suggests, is it?


Yet I've heard, and please don't press me for sources at this particular moment because my memory is failing me, that it was Ben himself who sat on the E&E Committee at the time and supported that measure strenuously, and I know first hand that he was the one who was trying to enforce it on the UDS when it made no sense. Speaking for myself, I largely agreed with the intention - putting myself at odds with Mr Byrne, but that wouldn't be the first time - but I reckoned there had to be some appreciation of the circumstances of each case, and that's why we butted heads on that particular issue.

2) forced disaffiliation. Again, not really. Did he want to change things? Dear god, yes - and they needed changed, as many agreed at the time (see the back pages of this board for some of those 'debates').


Come now, Ralph. You know as well as I do that he was for disaffiliation, and it was only that wonderful St Valentine's Sunday that headed that particular proposal off at the pass.

Is the current "as a society, we must provide a real service to the students" mantra that gets bandied about so often largely down to Ben and, in debating terms, his legacy? You're damned straight it is. But perhaps you want to call that a bad thing, which would certainly be your right.


I don't agree. Not, at least, with your assertion that he was responsible above all; it's true that he was making those arguments, and I agreed with them at the time, and tried to put a lot of them into practice, for instance setting the precedent for debates run by other student groups with the support of the UDS and having that added to the constitution, and drumming it into the BoT and our successord. But one of the principal arguments I brought to the St Valentine's Sunday meeting was that we were doing all that already, and as far as I was concerned at the time I was following a thread that originated through Hendrik Puschmann back to Miranda Weiglar, of all people; Ben was one of the influences, yes, but it's a caricature of history to describge him as the prime or sole mover.

3) the SSC funding cabs for drunken staff post X-mas party. I seem to recall that the problem was that the SSC shouldn't be spending money earmarked for students for that purpose. As Chairman, Magnus shouldn't have been asking anyone to bring motions forward anyway, as you full well know - though he did a good line in pretending, the fifth sabbatical (as I do believe he termed himself) he was not.


That was the secondary argument, yes, but you'll recall that the matter didn't ever come to a vote precisely because of his posturings surrounding the issue that the SSC 'cannot comment on staffing', which was, I repeat, a lie.

Even if I was wrong on all three of these points, can you or anyone deny that he used to make up laws prohibiting students from doing what they wanted - to the effect that to this day students, who have never even met him, are still under the impression that debates can't get sponsorship from a distillery business because of some fallacious technicality regarding competition?

If that's his legacy as a sabbatical, I'll happily stick with mine.

P.S. In case the usual internet tone distortion has applied here, please be assured that my tongue has been planted firmly in my cheek throughout this conversation, and my regard for Mr Covino remains undiminished. ;)

[hr]

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Re:

Postby Lid on Tue May 22, 2007 12:37 am

If that's his legacy as a sabbatical, I'll happily stick with mine.


But weren't you awful in your job, David, spawn of the devil and all that. At least, anyone around some of your former circles would at least be inclined to think so these days.

As Mr Haraldsen pointed out today, your time as Convenor was so awful, and causes everyone to speak with such conviction against you and your terrible year, that everyone that remembers your year is now a graduate, graduand, or Mr Haraldsen :P

'Angin's too good for 'im

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Re:

Postby Mr Comedy on Tue May 22, 2007 7:05 am

Quoting Lid from 01:37, 22nd May 2007

As Mr Haraldsen pointed out today, your time as Convenor was so awful, and causes everyone to speak with such conviction against you and your terrible year, that everyone that remembers your year is now a graduate, graduand, or Mr Haraldsen :P


Mr Haraldsen remembered nothing of Mr Bean's year, as I'll heartily attest. Both him and I were rather taking to the consumption of excessive volumes of alcohol during the debate, and were in no condition to assess their content.
Besides, the introduction of the purely sophorific came at a much later date.

[hr]

"I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea. " -Lu Tung
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Re:

Postby RJ Covino on Tue May 22, 2007 1:21 pm

Quoting David Bean from 00:39, 22nd May 2007
A professional disagreement, maybe, but uncharitable un-Christian? Moi? Shurely shome mistake! :O


I chose the words, as Kylie sang to the other one whose name escapes me like a pop career escaped him, especially for you. Do note that I didn't say "un-Christian;" English, much as Greek, is a language of precision...

Is that where that ridiculous expression came from? Goodness, I genuinely hadn't heard that before.


I did not serve under Stevie D, so I'm not positive - perhaps Dr Joss'll remember better; however, it was always described as originating with him by the venerable Spiers of tarnished memory.

Can you recall the reasoning behind it?


Not beyond "they're more than just societies."

it was Ben himself who sat on the E&E Committee at the time


Of course he did; he was DoS. The impetus for most, if not all, of the 13 page E&E manifesto was Hedvig's.

I know first hand that he was the one who was trying to enforce it on the UDS


Again, of course he had to, for t'was his job to enforce the express will of the students through their elected officials to have paperless meetings in the interest of saving Mother Earth and making her more hippy drum circle friendly.

Come now, Ralph. You know as well as I do that he was for disaffiliation


Disaffiliation is not the term I'd use; under the model I believe he preferred, debating would have been reconstituted as a regular society instead of one of the "supers." You will recall, of course, that back in those days, dinners were being subsidized by the Association and there was all manner of perceived tomfoolery - a service to all of the students it was not. Under the unadopted Spiers model, the UDS would have become more reliant on the funds raised by the membership for their own activities rather than on Union ones. Emminently sensible given the circumstances as he found them from an outsider's perspective.

it's true that he was making those arguments, and I agreed with them at the time


I put forward that Ben made them first and they've stuck, hence calling it his legacy / contribution. (Do not fret, I think you made a contribution too. You wore that hat, for example.)

I defy you, though, to argue that a service-oriented UDS was the conception thereof held by the pre-Spiers crowd of Patterson, et al. They were UDS of the old school, running debates for UDS aficionados which, owing to the quality of the speakers participating, both student and non, and the high standard of motions, by happy coincidence, were of interest to the student body at large who consistently packed out LPH week after week after week.

I will note in the "not in my day" stylee oft attributed to me and mine that it's funny how, since the shift to a service orientation, both the quality of LPH debating and house attendance have declined.

the SSC 'cannot comment on staffing', which was, I repeat, a lie.


If the SSC passed a motion saying "This SSC demands Bruce Turner be sacked forthwith." would he still come into work the next day? I think you'll find he would, as the SSC has no authority in that regard and hasn't since it ceased to be the UMC and possibly well before that. Again, never having served on the UMC, Dr Joss'd be better placed to field a question of that sort than I.

can you or anyone deny that he used to make up laws prohibiting students from doing what they wanted


Of course I deny it. My memory may be slipping in my dotage, but not to the extent that I forgot what his tactic for blocking measures he disliked was for it was a great one.

He always presented his cases based on one thing, his own personal authority as an expert on past precedent, not law. Nobody questioned that he knew better than they about the Association's internal workings and how things had gone before - folk like Derek were comparative newbies etc. That he used his auctoritas to block certain measures was only natural. You speak of "stopping students doing what they wanted" but you cite no real examples thereof. Odd that.

Regarding the UDS and booze, even you must concede that the man had a point which remains valid; the Union sells booze via Off Sales, and that which it doesn't have it can easily acquire for a regular customer such as the UDS. Weekly, the society had been going to Luvians vel sim. to purchase its sherry, port, gin etc., for pre-Debates drinks (ah, the heady days when the trolly full of drink arrived to be ferried up to the Senate Room...). Strongly encouraging the UDS to shop at the Union instead just made/makes sense. That this instruction not to bite the hand that feeds the society has passed into the common parlance as being some manner of legalistic requirement is hardly his fault and owes more to some people's inability to comprehend than some devious megalomaniac's long-term plan to harm students from one of their highest elected positions.

my regard for Mr Covino remains undiminished.


I'll pass that on to Mr Covino when I see him at the end of next month; I'm sure he'll be thrilled.
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Re:

Postby Bonnie on Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:54 am

My face is beet red-- half by choking anger and the other half by full, roaring laughs.

I will say this. Mr Fletcher- Watson (nee Spiers) is a brilliant man. My only regret is not learning even more from him while I could.
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Re:

Postby Al on Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:05 am

Quoting RJ Covino from 14:21, 22nd May 2007

If the SSC passed a motion saying "This SSC demands Bruce Turner be sacked forthwith." would he still come into work the next day? I think you'll find he would, as the SSC has no authority in that regard and hasn't since it ceased to be the UMC and possibly well before that.


Any version of the by-laws that I have seen from the days of the UMC put employment matters - of permanent staff at least - firmly in the hands of Board. I suppose, in theory, the UMC could have demanded the sacking of a casual member of staff but, in practice, such things were always left to the relevant Head of Department. Or the Union President.
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Re:

Postby exnihilo on Sun Jun 24, 2007 3:33 pm

It would have been perfectly competent for the UMC to pass a motion calling for someone to be dismissed - if hugely tactless.

The competency to dismiss someone, however, lies with the PS/FC and with the Staffing Committee of the Associaiton Board. If there was some outstanding reason why they had not acted and the UMC felt compelled to make protestation then any motion they passed would be presented at Board and handled properly.
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