Report on Spring Term Union Elections 2011
Contents Review of Union Elections Issues and Recommendations Complaints and Returning Officer Rulings Appendix One: Voter Turnout Appendix Two: Winners of Spring Term Student Union Elections Appendix Three: Winnerâ€&#x;s Manifestos
Page 3 5 7 10 12 13
Review of Union Elections Timetable The Student Union Elections for the Sabbatical Officer positions must be held, in accordance with the constitution, in weeks 5 or 6 of the second term. This year, it was agreed that the elections would be held in week 6, commencing on the 28th February 2011. The elections timetable is detailed below: DATE 10 am, Monday 10th Jan 2011 12pm, Friday 4th Feb 2011 3pm, Thursday 10th Feb 2011
ACTION Nominations Open
PLACE Online and at the Students‟ Union Reception
Students‟ Union Reception
Students‟ Union Meeting Room
Deadline for handing in signed 3pm, Friday Trustee Declaration Form 11th Feb (Sabbatical Officer positions 2011 only) and manifestos (all positions). 10am, 28th Ballots Open Feb 2011 5pm, 4th Ballots Close Mar 2011 7pm, 4th Results announced March 2011
Students‟ Union Reception Online Online The Rigg Bar, Student Union Building, Thomas Doyle Street
Candidates There were a total of 17 of candidates, who successfully completed the nomination form although 2 candidates withdrew before voting opened, giving 15 candidates standing in elected (higher than the 13 candidates in last year‟s election). The key contacts for this election cycle were:
1. Returning Officer: Nell Andrews, London Regional Organiser, National Union of Students. 2. Deputy Returning Officer: Richard Thomson, Solicitor, London South Bank University. 3. Vice Deputy Returning Officer: Yemi Makinde, Representation and Democracy Coordinator, London South Bank University Studentsâ€&#x; Union This is the second year that the election has been conducted online. The decision to move to online elections was taken last year as a way of making it easier for part time students and students at the Havering campus to vote. Although last year saw a significant dip in the number of students voting, this year, there has been a increase in the number students voting (see appendix one), leading to the conclusion that although a change to online voting may have confused students in the first year, they are now more accustomed to it and thus increase in the number of votes.
Complaints and Returning Officer Rulings A number of complaints were received both informally and formally by the Vice Deputy Returning Officer (VDRO). Candidates were told at the candidates briefing that if they wished for a complaint to be investigated written notification must be sent to the VDRO along with any evidence. The VDRO would then inform the Returning Officer (RO) and the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) of the complaint and a decision would be taken whether to uphold it and if any sanctions should be taken. Below are details of complaints that were dealt with by the Returning Officer (not in chronological order). 1.
Two candidates (Candidate D and E) did not submit their manifesto form by the stated deadline. They were advised by the VDRO that if they wished to have their manifesto published, they needed to write to the Returning Officer explaining the reasons why their manifesto was late. Both candidates wrote to the Returning Officer. RO’s Decision: Neither candidate had a valid reason for submitting a late manifesto and so their manifestos were not published.
A student complained that as Candidate B was also a member of Union staff working in the Union‟s licensed premises, that this gave the candidate an unfair advantage over other candidates as it granted them more access to students. RO’s Decision: That candidates who work for the Union are allowed to work during the election period, although they are not allowed to talk about any aspect of the election or wear campaign materials while working.
Candidates were told in the mandatory candidate‟s briefing that although they could use social media to campaign, they could not use email lists or phone lists that they exclusive held to send out campaigning messages; this also applied to their campaign teams. To do would be in contravention of Rule 15.5 contained within the Election Regulations of the Union‟s Constitution. The VDRO was alerted to three candidates who had used lists to campaign in contravention of Rule 15.5. 3.1. It was found that a member of the campaign team of Candidate A had sent out a message of support to an exclusively held email list.
RO’s Decision: This is in contravention of Rule 15.5. The candidate was given a final warning and a message containing information for the other election candidates was sent out on the same email list. 3.2. It was found that a member of the campaign team of Candidate B had sent out a message of support to an exclusively held email list and phone list. RO’s Decision: This is in contravention of Rule 15.5. The candidate was given a final warning and a message containing information for the other election candidates was sent out on the same email list. 3.3. It was found that Candidate C had sent out a message of support to an exclusively held email list. RO’s Decision: This is in contravention of Rule 15.5. As a message could not be resent to that list, this put Candidate C in an unfair position and so the candidate was disqualified from the election. 4.
Two separate complaints of a serious nature were received concerning the conduct of Candidate C. As the candidate had already been disqualified by the receipt of these complaints, they were investigated. However, the RO has asked that these complaints be forwarded to the University and investigated under the student disciplinary procedure. No action has been taken yet.
Under Rule 16 of the Election Regulations to the Constitution, any person who is disqualified is allowed to appeal to a Pro Vice Chancellor (PVC) to have the disqualification over turned. Candidate C, appealed to the PVC (Academic), as specified under the Constitution to overrule the RO‟s decision. The RO‟s decision was upheld.
Under Rule 17 of the Election Regulations to the Constitution, any person may complain to the Vice Chancellor that the election was run unconstitutionally. An appeal was made to the Vice Chancellor and it was found that the election was not run unconstitutionally and the appeal was dismissed.
Issues and Recommendations The process of elections needs continual review and each year elections being held highlight areas that the Union needs to work on so that elections run much more smoothly. 1. Staff Resources Members of Students‟ Union staff have an important role to play in the election process. Prior to 2010 when the election was conducted by paper ballots, temporary paid staff were employed by the Union to help staff ballot stations on different campuses. In 2010, when the election moved to online voting, temporary staff were deemed not necessary, leaving one member of staff (VDRO) to administer the Union elections. While the election ran smoothly this year, if the Union and University wish to see an increase in the profile of the elections, consideration needs to be given to employing temporary staff whom will assist the VDRO on operational matters such as production of materials, dealing with complaints, promoting voting and assisting candidates. The Union‟s election budget would need to be increased to allow for the payment of staff. 2. Slates A slate can be defined as “a group of candidates, who agree to stand on the same or similar manifesto and/or agree to pool resources of time and campaign together for each other”. A complaint over the actions of three
candidates whom were running on a slate (the complaint was not upheld) brought into focus that the Union did not have any election regulations to deal with slates and this needed to be amended, particularly in relation to how slates of candidates should be treated when a member or members of a slate are found to have breached the election regulations. There are two options that should be considered:a. No Slates at future elections - The majority of staff currently involved in the administration of the elections believe that slates should be discontinued and that candidates should put themselves forward for election on an individual basis for each position. There is much to recommend this solution. In situations where candidates have been found to breach the regulations it would make it much easier for the Returning Officer to act. There is also a strong argument that it enhances voter choice because members are asked to consider individual candidates on merit for each position. It also avoids the potential for „paper‟ candidates to be nominated simply to fill vacancies in the slate. b. Regulation of Slates – An alternative to banning slates would be stronger regulation. This would place additional administrative requirements on the Returning Officer and their staff. It would be 7
necessary for candidates to acknowledge that they are part of a slate at the time of nomination. This would place responsibilities on all members of the slate with regard to their conduct and as such in circumstances where a candidate who is a member of a slate is penalised or excluded by the Returning Officer the penalty would apply to all members of the slate. 3. Consent to Nominations and Acknowledgment of Election Rules Candidates should be required to complete a „Consent to Nomination‟ form which includes an acknowledgement that they have read, understood and will abide by the Election Regulations. Failure to complete such a form before the close of nominations would render any nomination invalid. 4. Campaigning a. Regulations about where and when campaigning is permitted need to be strengthened. One option that may be considered is to erect „No Campaigning‟ signs in areas where campaigning is prohibited. This would benefit members who may not be familiar with the election regulations. b. Candidates complained that they had very limited places where they could put posters, and there were reports of members of University staff taking down posters from inside the Union as well as around the University. In addition, the Union was unable to book key access points (London Road Concourse) for the first time which hindered the Unions ability to promote the elections to students. While the Union recognises that the University does not want to be fly posted with elections materials, the Union believes that this is an important time of the year for increasing participation, establishing our legitimacy and meeting the requirements of the Education Act 1994. Consideration should be given by the University to relax postering rules during the election period. The Union would be responsible for taking down all posters at the end of campaigning. 5. Training for candidates and potential candidates The current arrangements for candidate training are detailed and robust. However there would be some benefit in starting the candidate training process before nominations close. This may have the effect of encouraging potential candidates who are curious about standing for election to come forward without first having made a commitment to stand for election. In addition, two members of staff should be available for the candidates briefing (rather than the one whom attended this year), one of which should be the RO or the DRO, so that they can witness the information that candidates have received and watch candidates signing that they have understood and agree to follow the election regulations. 8
6. Complaints Management Procedures While there are no particular difficulties with the way in which complaints are handled after they have been submitted there is a need for a much clearer system about how complaints should be submitted for Union members and staff. The key objective must be to enable any member who has a complaint to be able to submit it in absolute confidence and for Staff members to have an enabling role in the procedure without becoming involved in the complaint itself. A standard complaints form will be developed both online and in hard copy, to make it easier for complainants to know what information they need to provide. The Returning Officer must be allowed more time after the close of voting to receive and deal with any final complaints. The current period of two hours is inadequate.
The Spring Term Union Elections 2011 can be considered as a success when compared to the previous yearâ€&#x;s. However there are a number of changes that could be made for subsequent years to make the elections run more smoothly.
Voter Turnout Position
President Vice President Academic Affairs Vice President Sports and Societies Vice President Welfare and Students Rights Mature Students Officer4 Equality and Diversity Officer5 International Students Officer6 Disabled Students Officer7 LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Students Officer8 NUS Conference Delegate(6 posts)910
Percentage Increase +40% +28%
Number of Candidates in 2010 3 3
Number of Candidates in 2011 41 32
One candidate was disqualified from the election on Tuesday 2 March 2011 reducing the candidates from 4 to 3. As the voting was conducting online the software was able to eliminate the candidate before counting took place and redistributed votes for that candidate. 2 One candidate withdrew before voting commenced and their name was not included on the ballot paper, thus reducing the number of candidates from 3 to 2. 3 One candidate withdrew before voting commenced and their name was not included on the ballot paper, thus reducing the number of candidates from 2 to 1. 4 This position is a non trustee, unremunerated role. 5 This position is a non trustee, unremunerated role. 6 This election shall be reopened in the Union Autumn Term Elections 7 This election shall be reopened in the Union Autumn Term Elections 8 This election shall be reopened in the Union Autumn Term Elections 9 This position is a non trustee, unremunerated role. 10 As 4 positions still remain unfilled the election has been reopened to fill the remaining positions.
Winners of Spring Term Union Elections President:
Vice President Academic Affairs:
Vice President Sports and Societies:
Vice President Welfare and Students Rights:
Equality and Diversity Officer:
Mature Students Officer:
NUS Conference Delegate:
Francine Dikete Richard Kuti
LONDON SOUTH BANK CAN BE BETTER
Vote # 1 Iain ‘Beans’ Hanley FOR President. From 10am 28th February - 4th March 5pm. www.londonsouthbanksu.com
REMODEL and RELOCATE the SU. www.londonsouthbanksu.com Engage with parliament TO ADDRESS ISSUES AFFECTING STUDENTS! More events! (Better parties & Pool competitions) BETTER INTEGRATION for nurses, part-time, post graduate, mature and international students!
VOTE # 1 Say Yes, Together We Can
If I am elected as your V.P. Academic Affairs:
V.P. Academic Affairs
I’m currently a third year student studying BA Accounting & Finance. While studying, I have been involved in various activities, such as being course rep and member of the student council. As a course rep, I was able to understand my fellow student’s needs and represent them in the best possible way. I am also part of the student society of accounting and finance as an Internal finance officer for the society which involves raising money to fund events and workshops in order to increase employability awareness. I am confident, hard working individual who is highly motivated and extremely ambitious in achieving target set. I also stand for diversity and equality within the student union to represent the diverse background of individuals that study at London Southbank University.
I will improve the communication between students and teachers by co-ordinating meetings with the course reps Fight to improve Learning facilities Provide full support to all students Increase awareness of student’s support services Increase student’s involvement and participation Work on Equality & Diversity and many more …………….
Voting is open 24 hours from 10am February 28th to 5pm March 4th Online :www.londonsouthbaksu.com
Vote for Barry Taylor as number 1 for Vice President Sports and Societies
Barry Taylor • Reliability •Drive
Anyone can say they’re the best candidate for a position, and during an election everyone will. I believe the way to judge who truly is the best person for the job is not by focusing on what people promise to do, but by looking at what they’ve done so far. The most driven, most passionate people will always distinguish themselves with their deeds, not their words.
•Greater engagement with the student body •Increased variety of sport available for LSBU students •Further increased cooperation between clubs at LSBU •More fundraisers and social events •Introduce “seed” societies, for societies with less then 20 members.
Achievements this year •Acted as social secretary of the sports executive committee •Been heavily involved with every sports fund raiser this year •Helped organise the end of year awards ball •Developed the American football team, as VP and match co-captain •Created cooperation between sports clubs •Helped organised all aspects of home games for the LSBU Spartans •Hosted the LSBU Spartans showcase game and BBQ •Helped with the foundation of one new society •Helped with the foundation of one new sports club
The Sports and Societies vote: Does it matter? The sports teams and societies act as ambassadors for, and public faces of, the university. The state of them reflects the state of the university as a whole, as such it’s important they are run well
DEFEND LSBU! DEFEND OUR EDUCATION!
Vice President Welfare and Student Rights For a strong, campaigning, democratic Studentsâ€™ Union
Defend Education by fighting to retain our widening participation status: Say NO to a two-tiered education system and ÂŁ7,000+ fees
Fight for a student union which represents LSBU students and defending the services the student union provides: Say NO to a student centre. Celebrate the universities diversity and culture: Say NO to all discrimination
To empower and represent all LSBU students by developing a greater support network and increasing widening participation: Say NO to marginalisation savesouthbank.wordpress.com Vote online now at www.londonsouthbanksu.com
ENSURING WE ALL REACH THE BENEFITS WE DESERVE Make your best decision for 2011 VOTE
FRANCIS NAMISI (BA Accounting and Finance) Standing as: EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY OFFICER (EDO)
Yes, of course LSBU manufactures knowledge and committing to serve as equality and diversity officer guarantees enhancement of employability and transferable skills for all students. I am more than passionate that everybody must be treated equally at accessing services within the university and external bodies such as the Local Council, Trusts plus any others on issues affecting studentsâ€™ welfare. Upon becoming an EDO I vow to do all the listening to students, raise their matters to the union and beyond, finally fight for action. Quality is restored by equality Who questions the values of diversity? Indeed diversity in terms of race, gender, culture, age or religion blends well as a mixture of different talents and skills. Having lived within Southwark borough (lsbuâ€™s local council), I have discovered live efforts for diverse representation where by over 45.5% of the workforce identified themselves as black or minority ethnic origin in 2006 to 2007. My duty as an EDO will be to ensure full participation in these employment opportunities by our union.
Bridging the gap between the students and the union Oh yes, all students know about the union but whether they are actively involved in the union activities is questionable. I therefore look forward to coordinating with all other union representatives most especially the president and the vice presidents for Welfare and Student Rights, Sports and Societies plus Academic Affairs to ensure real connection with the students. United we stand, divided we fall. You will not be left to deal with problems alone.
Research and Training on Equal Opportunities I will conduct a thorough research through seminar group representatives, societies, regular groups and union meetings where any raised issues will be dealt with accordingly. Discrimination still exists at work place and my obligation will be to ensure that you walk out of LSBU with the transferable knowledge that will enable you combat that real world. I will work closely with Equal Opportunities Trusts to ensure that all available information is provided to students.
Big up our voices in a swift and professional style Over the past few months we have been confronted by government decisions such as tuition fees, general cuts and elimination of Education Maintenance Fund. Not only shall I fight for our rights to affordable education but also extract all possible means to make sure that our say is not taken for granted. The good news is, there a number of government officials on our side therefore we shall maintain our voices for unlimited rewards such as grants.
VOTE: FRANCIS NAMISI for Equality and Diversity.