Union presidential candidates submit flawed nominations

first_imgThe lead-up to the presidential elections for the Oxford Union has proved controversial after two of the three candidates submitted flawed nomination material.Tom Hartley, the current librarian, turned in his nomination forms without the mandatory fee of £40, whilst James Dray, a member of the standing committee, failed to mark the office he is running for.However, Niall Gallagher, the society’s Returning Officer, has declared both candidates’ nominations valid.He explained that he decided to accept Dray’s nomination because he had submitted the “right amount of money for the President-Elect position.”Despite the society’s rules that the “nomination shall not be accepted” of a candidate who does not have “sufficient or authorised means of payment.”Gallagher has since explained that he decided to declare Hartley a valid candidate because he could not “be satisfied that the rules are clear enough to render his nomination unambiguously invalid.”He added, “on the basis of the evidence I have seen, I feel I must give credence to the Librarian’s declaration (both oral and written) that he had sufficient means of payment on his person at the time of nominating.”This decision has led to concerns that a tribunal will be called if Hartley wins the election. The Standing Committee already discussed the possibility of such situation and one member has commented, “If Tom wins, there definitely will be a tribunal.”Another student stated that if a tribunal was called after the election, it would “almost certainly rule his nomination invalid.”Daniel Johnson, the ex-Returning Officer of the Union stated that such situations “made the Union look bloody stupid and re-polling was necessary.”However, he commented that “the Union is democratic, and it’s up to the members to decide who becomes President – and I’m glad that we can continue to offer the only properly run cross-campus election in Oxford.”Members of the Union have criticised failure of Dray and Hartley to submit their applications properly. A member of the Society said, “It was an exceptionally stupid thing to do for someone who wants to be President of the Union.”Another said, “I’m sure the role of the president involves more difficult things than nomination. How they are going to manage everything else?”last_img read more

University sues federal government

first_imgNotre Dame filed a religious liberty lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that requires employers to provide contraceptive services in their minimum health insurance packages. The mandate is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform legislation, passed in 2010. The University filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Court documents list the defendants as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solid, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and their respective departments. University President Fr. John Jenkins defended the University’s position in a statement today, saying the University filed the lawsuit “with sober determination” to defend religious freedom. “Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about: it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the government from providing such services,” Jenkins said. “As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs … This filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives.” Under the original plan announced Jan. 20, religious employers were exempt from providing contraceptives as part of the free preventive services in their minimum insurance package. However, the plan defined “religious employers” narrowly – while places of worship were exempt, religiously affiliated institutions, including universities like Notre Dame, were not. HHS granted these institutions one year to comply with the legislation’s specifications. Obama announced a compromise in February that would shift responsibility for funding contraception from religiously affiliated institutions to insurance companies. The government will be responsible for defining which institutions are included in this compromise, which was unclear regarding self-insured companies. The University is self-insured. The lawsuit states that the federal mandate is irreconcilable with the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other laws protecting religious freedom. “For if we conceded that the government can decide which religious organizations are sufficiently religious to be awarded the freedom to follow the principles that define their mission, then we have begun to walk down a path that ultimately leads to the undermining of those institutions,” Jenkins said. University Spokesman Dennis Brown said the government has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit. Attempts to contact HHS representatives have not yet been successful. Notre Dame’s lawsuit was one of 12 filed today against the federal government by 43 plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the regulation, a University press release stated. “The other lawsuits were filed by dioceses and archdioceses in conjunction with Catholic schools and universities, Catholic health systems and Catholic charitable organizations,” Brown said. The Associated Press reported the Archdioceses of Washington, New York and Michigan were among the plaintiffs, as well as the Catholic University of America. Jenkins said the University would continue its discussions with Sebelius and other government officials to resolve the issue. “We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others,” Jenkins said. “We simply ask that the government not impose its values on the University when those values conflict with our religious teachings.”last_img read more

When did “sales” become a dirty word?

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Frank Koechlein Frank Koechlein is the President at Empower Your Analytics and coauthor of the marketing resource book “The New Marketing Analytics”. Frank has over 40 years of marketing experience in the … Web: empoweryouranalytics.com Details A few days ago while watching TV; I had the opportunity to see the new Wells Fargo commercial.  My guess is this ad is an attempt to help repair the damage to the Wells Fargo brand resulting from their recent retail banking scandal.  The ad in addition to showing a lot of happy and engaged customers stated; “we have eliminated sales goals in order to better focus on customer satisfaction.”   This struck me as an odd statement; what has happened to our service culture that offering additional products and services is at odds with member satisfaction? The statement speaks volumes about the way many credit unions (and community banks) see themselves.   Both institutions have a long history of being service organizations. Credit unions remain one of the few types of financial institutions that truly function for the benefit of their membership.  For example, the mortgage for my son’s first home was from his credit union at work. Not only did they help him through every step of the process, he was able to get a discount on closing costs and get one of the lowest 30 year fixed mortgage rates in the Atlanta market.  Now that is service. Many in credit union leadership positions look upon organized marketing/selling programs as going counter to the core of the credit union mission. In my opinion this belief comes from the “old school” definition of selling.  This high pressure form of selling is not focused on member needs but on the credit union’s needs. An example, if the credit union needs to sell home equity loans, all of its members are prospects. This type of selling many times can have a negative impact on how members feel about your institution.  As a member, if you’re asked about a home equity line of credit and you are not a homeowner, it doesn’t feel very personal. This shotgun approach is what worries many in leadership. With credit unions historically functioning as a service organization, the focus for member facing associates has primarily been transaction based.   Members define their needs and come into the credit union for help in solving their financial challenges. In this scenario activities aimed at learning more about your members (asking them questions) is considered intrusive. Generally speaking, credit unions need to make the transition from being service organizations to selling additional products (serving members) based on member needs. 61% of responders in a recent Affinity FCU/Harris Poll “believe credit unions care more about their members than banks do.” With this type of member trust in their institution, doesn’t it make sense that a needs based selling approach would prove effective?Gaining a greater understanding of your members can be difficult in today’s digital world. Younger members prefer to interact with their credit union using remote access including; online, mobile, phone, SMS, making it difficult to discuss someone’s financial challenges face to face.  Gaining a greater understanding of members’ financial needs and using it for marketing purposes, should happen on their terms and with complete transparency. One challenge with starting a needs based selling program is that your organization needs the tools to learn more about your members.  This knowledge drives cross-selling programs that sell product and reinforce the positive qualities of your brand. The lack of adequate tools to gather member data seems to be a source of frustration for many in credit union leadership.  The research below was conducted by the Filene Research Institute (RFI) and it compares the importance of 5 critical member marketing/sales activities versus the ability of their credit union to accomplish the task in a satisfactory manner.These numbers are striking and they illustrate the depth of the challenge credit unions face as they evolve from pure service organizations to a member needs driven service paradigm.  One caution, needs based selling clearly needs to be consistent with the credit union’s brand values. If you look at the 5 activities listed in the RFI research; the gap for all 5 can be closed with a greater understanding of the financial needs and service preference of members.  If that’s the case why isn’t credit union leadership more receptive to using member data to close the gap? From industry research it is clear that smaller credit unions are resistant to data-driven marketing to their member base.  Research conducted by the Financial Brand last year found that less than 9% of all credit unions/community banks under $1 billion in assets are using data to drive member CRM and retention activities.  The same research showed that more than 50% of their larger competitors are using member data to drive improved CRM, retention and new member acquisition activities. The time has come for the credit union community to embrace new data management technologies to better serve their members.  A common misconception is that using member data analytics will change way the organization will serve their members. In short, they will lose the personal experience and treat members as numbers, not people.   In my experience, this will not happen if you work closely with your analytics vendor to make sure they understand your goal is to use member data as an extension of your brand. The final solution involves not just the analytics but the way you creatively present product and other communications to your members.  Personalized offers that are appropriate for each member’s circumstances, presented in a way that supports your brand, in the preferred service/media channel can only serve to increase member loyalty.last_img read more

Federer, Nadal Renew Rivalry in Dream Final

first_imgAs Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won match after match at the Australian Open, making their unlikely way through opposite sides of the draw, tennis fans couldn’t help but look ahead. Could the two old rivals, almost six years on from their last meeting in a Grand Slam final, possibly meet for one more match for the ages in Melbourne?Federer and Nadal each had to survive epic five-set matches in the semifinals, but they did not disappoint. And now, the dream final tennis fans had hoped for when favorites Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were upset in the first week is going to happen today Rod Laver Arena. What’s at stake is bigger than just Federer-Nadal XXXV, or even the Australian Open title. There’s also history to play for: If Federer wins, he’ll add an 18th Grand Slam trophy to his career record total, putting distance between himself and his rivals. If Nadal wins his 15th, he’ll pass Pete Sampras for sole possession of second place on the all-time list, and pull tantalizingly close to Federer’s 17.‘’The historical context of that match, whether it becomes 17-15 with the French Open next, or 18-14, that’s such a big difference in the historical march for both those guys,’’ former U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick told The Associated Press in Melbourne a few days ago. ‘’That might be, as far as history goes, the biggest match ever in Australian Open history and maybe Grand Slam history. What’s at stake there is beyond what pretty much any player can comprehend.’’The magnitude of the moment is not lost on the players themselves. ‘’Rafa’s definitely presented me with the biggest challenge in the game,’’ Federer said after his semifinal win over U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka. ‘’I’m happy we’ve had some epic, epic battles over the years, and of course, it would be unreal to play here.’’Nadal said neither player could have imagined making the final of the year’s first Grand Slam after coming back from their respective injuries in 2016 – Federer, his knee; Nadal, his wrist.Both men took time off last season and had difficult draws in Melbourne because of their lower rankings.‘’For me, it’s a privilege,’’ Nadal said. ‘’It’s a very, very special thing, I think, for both of us to be in the final of a major again, have another chance to compete against each other after a couple of years having some problems.’’Nadal has dominated Federer in their head-to-head match-ups – he has a 23-11 record overall and has won nine of their 11 matches in Grand Slams.But Federer likes his chances on the hard courts at the Australian Open this year – he believes they are playing faster than in years past, which suits his game better than Nadal’s.Federer should also be fresher for the final, having spent far less time on court than Nadal during the tournament (13 hours, 40 minutes vs. 19 hours) and having an extra day to rest in between the semifinal and final. Both men have survived two five-setters, but Nadal’s were far longer and more draining.Federer may also have the edge confidence-wise. Nadal’s results have dipped dramatically in recent years and he’s struggled to play well against the top players. He hasn’t been past the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the 2014 French Open, also the last major he won.Nadal, though, remains one of the fittest players in the game and is certainly hungry for major success again after years of disappointing losses.Whoever wins, the match is sure to be memorable. A massive crowd is likely at Melbourne Park, as well, after organizers decided to open the 7,500-seat Margaret Court Arena for fans to watch the match on a giant screen.‘’I just know that two of the greatest players of tennis are going to square off on Sunday,’’ Grigor Dimitrov said after his nearly five-hour loss to Nadal in the semifinals. ‘’And it’s going to be (an) amazing match.’’Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more