That time of year has come around again where we offer up opportunities for members to be elected into various leadership roles that will help shape and influence the choices made by both our organisation, and the university. More importantly, these leadership roles are here to represent you, our members, making sure your many voices are heard.
These roles take on huge areas of responsibility and can generate a wealth of new skills and knowledge that not only benefits our membership, but can make any graduate CV shine. In fact, many of our former officers have gone on to work in significant leadership roles in industry, academia and politics.
The opportunity to represent all of your fellow students is a fantastic privilege and we encourage anyone who is passionate about leading change, delivering for our members, and improving the student experience to visit our website and look at the roles available.
In a healthy democratic organisation, it is also the responsibility of the members to actively take part by casting their vote on who they feel best represents them and their views. We value the student opinion and the more students are involved in choosing their representatives, the stronger the mandate they have, and therefore the broader the influence of voices on campus. So please feel free to read up on all of the nominated candidates when nominations close and pencil in the 5th and 6th of March to be on campus to vote.
We take the right of every student to stand and to vote in our elections very seriously, and it is a clear mandate of ours that those choices should be unhindered. Any full member is free to stand for relevant positions, and every student’s vote must be in a free and fair election process and that vote is secret to them should they wish it to be.
I take no pleasure in telling you all that we have had issues in the past with some of our elections, where organised groups in their enthusiasm for drumming up support, have strayed over the lines of what we consider decent conduct and their actions could easily be interpreted as harassment or bullying, and in some cases just plain threatening. We have taken many steps to remove opportunities for poor behaviours, including the removal of mobile phone voting, so now votes must be cast in the secrecy of a controlled ballot station. Some of these organised groups have in the past also used tactics to convince voters to vote in a particular way or to not turn up by suggesting that no one but their candidate has any chance of winning, or that they are aware of the voting patterns and that they are following a particular path. This is not true and quite simply, the higher the turnout of voters, the less likely any single group will be able to influence a particular outcome. Whilst we encourage groups to be passionate about their candidates and to organise to encourage voting, I would like to reassure you that no one, not even the staff, has any idea of voting patterns before the vote is counted nor do we have access to individual voting records.
We will take a zero-tolerance approach to interfering in the free and fair delivery of our elections. If anyone, at any time, tries to discourage you from standing for an available position or independently voting, please let our elections team know immediately.
Good luck to all that choose to stand in these upcoming elections, you are participating in a time-honoured and important process whilst helping deliver a thriving democratic community. I can’t wait to see what each and every one of you brings to your election campaigns. To everyone else, I encourage you all to participate in the election by voting for your preferred candidates, and by exercising your democratic right of choice, something we should never take for granted. The more of you that choose to participate, the more representative the choices will be and the harder those that want to make change will have to work to make sure they can be in a position to do just that!
Good luck everyone.