Candidatesâ€™ Handbook for 2012/13 NSU Elections
Dear Student, It’s great that you’ve chosen to have a closer look at the elections material. I’d say, if you’ve got this far, why not take a step further? Being an active part of Newman Students’ Union is something that all students at Newman have the experience of at one time or another. Being involved in the central working of the Union can be an exciting, challenging and rewarding experience. If you decide to run in these elections you will be a part of something that can have a massive, direct impact on the lives of potentially thousands of people not just at Newman but around the country and the world. If you would like any more information about the roles feel free to send me an email on email@example.com. I wish you all the best of luck should you decide to run. For those who are lucky enough to be successfully elected I leave you with this thought: never lose sight of what you’re here for. All the best, Josh Clare
NSU President 2011-12
Contents Newman Students’ Union (in brief)
Support available for roles
How to Stand
Hints and Tips
Step by Step
What Happens next?
Frequently Asked Questions
What Roles are available?
Newman Students’ Union (in brief) Newman Students’ Union (NSU) is an independent organisation. This means we are NOT a department of Newman University College, but a completely separate organisation. Everyone who is a student at Newman is automatically a member of the students Union. We have a set of ‘Objects’ which set out our purpose:
The Union’s objects are the advancement of the education of Students at Newman University College for the public benefit by:
Promoting the interests and welfare of Students at Newman University College, their course of study and representing, supporting and advising Students;
Being the recognised representative channel between Students and Newman University College and any other external bodies; and
Providing social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of its Students.
We have a ‘Constitution’. This is a document which sets out how we shall run and what powers we have. We are legally bound to operate according to this document, the Education Act, the Charities Act and other relevant laws. As well as the Constitution, we have a ‘Strategic Plan’. This sets our aims and targets to work towards achieving over the next 4 years. We have an ‘Executive Committee’ to represent members, manage what we do and implement the Strategic Plan. The Executive Committee should act in the best interests of it’s members. See page 9 for more details.
We have a ‘Board of Trustees’. This is a board who are responsible for ensuring that NSU is meeting legal requirements and is spending it’s funds accordingly, while protecting the future, professional image and reputation of the Union. They have the power to over-rule the Executive in order to do this, as set out in the Constitution. We have ‘other roles’ (see p9) who are also important in ensuring that NSU is effective in achieving it’s Objects. The Election Process is run by the Elections Committee, chaired by the President. The Returning Officer (RO), and any deputies appointed by them shall have the final say in any dispute.
Getting elected Why stand? You may be asking yourself
‘Why should I stand for any of these positions?’
well…. there are many reasons why you should stand, but the most important is, ‘because you will get the chance to make decisions about every aspect of student life, shape the work of the Students’ Union and make a difference for our members’. As an elected officer (or for that matter any of the positions!) you could be helping to organise events and trips, attend meetings at the highest level in the University, write publications, improve our website or even lead a campaign. Just ask yourself,
‘How can I make life better for Newman Students?’
How to Stand Step 1 – Nominate yourself Step 2 – Create your Manifesto Step 3 – Candidates briefing Step 4 – Question Time Step 5 – Campaigning Step 6 – Voting
NSU helped over 500 students write to their MPs in 2010/11
Key dates: Nominations Open
Mon 5th March
Friday 16th March, 4pm
Fri 16th March, 5pm
Fri 16th time tbc
Sat 17th March 9am tbc
Monday 19th March, Sanctuary from 7pm
Tuesday 20th March, N31
tbc Senses Bar
Fri 23rd March 3pm
Fri 23rd March from 3.30 pm
Fri 23rd March, from 8pm Senses Bar –
Wacky Hair Day
Step 1 – Nominate yourself! Very simple! Either download a Nomination Form from www.newmansu.org/elections or ask for a paper one from the NSU office (located in the Hub). Fill it in and ask a friend to propose you, and another to second you. See the Rules section for more details on Proposers and Seconders. Note: although a ‘Candidates Declaration’ form for Trustees is also included, this may not be needed. If you don’t fit the legal requirements just ask in the office which positions are still available to you – you’ll find it should be most of them! Step 2 – Create your Manifesto Simple – this is a document explaining who you are, what you would like to achieve should you get elected, why people should vote for you and any other details you think are useful. YOU SHOULD ALSO INCLUDE A JPEG IMAGE of your face so voters can see who you are. This will need to be supplied electronically as either a Word document or a JPEG image – email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or bring it on a memory stick (returnable) when you hand in your nomination form. Nominations must be handed in by 3pm on Friday 16th March 2012
Step 3 – Candidates briefing YOU MUST ATTEND THIS MEETING. It usually lasts one to two hours. It begins at 5pm on Friday 16th March. You must ensure you can get to this meeting as it is an essential part of the Elections Process. If you think you are unable to attend you must get in touch IN ADVANCE or risk disqualification. The meeting also provides an ideal opportunity to ask any final questions, be made aware of any remaining important details and receive any last minute updates on the voting process. Campaigning begins straight after this meeting (subject to THE RULES!!!) Step 4/5 – Question Time/Campaigning Question Time (also known as hustings) is your opportunity to tell everyone why you are standing and hopefully persuade them to vote for you. You will often find this is where you can win those ‘on the fence’ votes from people who have not yet made their minds up from seeing your campaign. Campaigning can never be underestimated. This is how you will engage with the very people you hope to vote for you. During the campaigning process it is important to focus on what you aim to achieve should you be elected. This is the most exciting part of the whole process (after hearing the results of course!). It can also be hard work so plan ahead. Be creative and ensure you get noticed (for the right reasons) by the voters, and don’t forget to tell people HOW TO VOTE. The best campaign in the world won’t win if people don’t know how to vote……. Step 6 – Voting At NSU we use Single Transferable Voting (STV). This will be explained further at the candidates briefing. The main thing to know is for students to vote they should go to our website (www.newmansu.org/elections) and follow the instructions to vote. This is also where they will be able to read your manifesto. Don’t forget to include this link on your campaign material!
What Happens next? Results are announced in Senses Bar during the evening event. Come along with your friends and campaign teams, chill out and wait for the all-important announcement. Results will also be sent via all-student email. More info. on how the count works will be explained at the Candidates Briefing. Wed 28th March at 2pm there will be a feedback meeting that all candidates are encouraged to attend to have a catch up, talk about the best bits, say what worked well and to discuss ways to improve the election process further in future. Those who are elected will start their official term of office on July 1st 2012 and will last until June 30th 2013. All those who are elected will be given training, usually towards the end of May. THIS IS COMPULSORY and usually lasts for TWO WEEKS.
What Roles are available? There are several roles available in the elections as listed below. You can see the job descriptions for these online at www.newmansu.org/elections and are also available in the NSU Constitution, again available at the above link or from the NSU Office in paper form. Please be aware that Executive Roles do have other â€˜Generalâ€™ Duties as well as the roles for the individual positions. We encourage all candidates, old or new, to book an appointment with the NSU President and Development Manager to discuss any questions, remits, job descriptions etc. before standing as a candidate, although this is not essential. We would also encourage you to speak to students and current/past holders of the positions to see what expectations they have and any hints or tips to help you get the most from you role, as well as ensuring you select the best one for you.
Trustees NSU is looking for ‘Student Trustees’. These are NOT elected in the main elections, but will be selected at the Annual General Meeting (08/05/2012) of Newman Students’ Union. If you wish to stand for one of these roles you should contact NSU President (Josh Clare) WELL IN ADVANCE of this meeting. Contact details can be found in this pack. If you have missed the meeting but are still interested please get in touch anyway – you never know, there may be a position still open.
Executive Committee NSU’s Executive Committee consists of eight Officer Positions. All of these positions are predominantly office based jobs, but will require working with students as well as work outside the office. Two of these roles are Sabbatical. This means that you either need to be in your final year and stay for another year, or take a year out. Sabbatical Officers are FULL TIME paid positions. They are:
The Remaining 6 roles are voluntary positions. This means you will hold the position while still being a student and complete it alongside your course. They are not paid. These are:
Union Academic Officer
Union Activities Officer
Union Democracy Officer
Union Societies Officer
Union Sports Officer
Union Welfare Officer
Other Positions There are two other positions, not on the Executive Committee which are also
extremely important to ensure NSU can run effectively. These are:
There is also one final position. This is not a position within the Union, but is a University post. However, NSU runs the election for this, and provides some filing space and support for this position. It is:
Support: NSU Offers support for Candidates as well as elected post holders. Some of what you can expect is listed below: For Candidates While you are a candidate there is plenty of support available to you:
Full time staff – during the day there will nearly always be someone in the office to help answer questions, give advice or be there if you just need to chat to someone about how your campaign’s going.
The Returning Officer/Deputy RO – will make any decisions during the election. They are here to help you so do not hesitate to contact them.
Candidates meeting – this is compulsory but will give some essential training and pointers on talking to students. You will also be shown examples of other campaigns and they give you a chance to meet and chat to other candidates and allow you to have any burning questions answered you haven’t already asked.
Optional training ‘workshops’ – during the period before nominations close there will be a number of additional sessions to give you help and ideas on
both how to campaign, put together a speech, answer questions and to learn more about Newman Students’ Union. These are of course free so take advantage of these opportunities. For Successfully Elected Candidates Support is available for all elected positions, for example:
All elected candidates will be given training to enable them to complete their role fully and successfully. This training period will look at both developing as a team as well as skills and background to fulfil your duties. This will be towards the end of Semester two – dates tbc or in the case of a by-election as soon as possible. THIS IS COMPULSORY
There is a staff team of three who support the work of the elected officers as well as a vibrant volunteer community of course reps, campaigners and student groups who support the work of NSU.
Newman Students’ Union is a member of the National Union of Students (NUS) who offer support and training for all officers throughout the year.
Elected Officers will often be given first refusal to attend other events external to Newman, as well as skills workshops and other valuable opportunities as they arise.
Officers and other volunteers will be offered reasonable out of pocket expenses when on Union business.
The Students’ Union Office has access to a considerable amount of past resources, examples and experience to help you have the most successful year you possibly can.
Rules and Regulations Whilst NSU has a very liberal approach to the conduct of our elections, there are a few rules which ensure that the true spirit of the process is upheld and that the election(s) can be deemed fairly and properly conducted in accordance with our Constitution and accepted custom and practise. These are: General Rules 1. For the purposes of these rules, ‘candidate’ includes any members of a campaigning team. 2. All candidates must run their campaigns as INDIVIDUALS. 3. No candidate shall approach another student and request or seek by whatever means to obtain items of personal information required to cast a vote. 4. No candidate shall cast, or attempt to cast a vote, or encourage another person to cast a vote on behalf of another. 5. Candidates must not state in publicity material of any kind that they, or any of their policies/ideas have been endorsed by the Union or any individual members of Union Staff. 6. Candidates will not, or attempt to bribe voters. 7. Candidates may not campaign within 5 metres of a ballot box. A ballot box for this purpose is defined as ‘any computer or other equipment capable of
receiving internet, which is active/turned on which has a student sat at it, or using it at the time’. The Committee advise that if a candidate is unsure to avoid the student at that time. 8. A three strike system will be in use. Minor rules breaks will incur a strike. On the 3rd strike a candidate will be disqualified from the election. A warning shall be given before the first strike. After this no further warnings shall be given. For more serious offenses other penalties may be given instead of/as
well as a strike. For more serious offenses the individual may be subject to NSU or Newman University Colleges’ disciplinary procedures. All penalties are at the discretion of the Elections Committee (or delegated representative). Appeal procedures can be found on page 18. 9. The DRO shall keep a complaints log and take appropriate action if a complaint is received. Complaints will not be accepted unless they are in writing and accompanied by the complainant’s name. This will be kept confidential where appropriate. 10. Campaigning begins as soon as the Candidates Briefing ends, subject to these rules. 11. All Candidates must attend the Candidates Briefing as stated in this pack. Candidates must also attend the daily candidates meetings in the same manner. 12. The Elections Committee (or the chair of), RO (or deputy) may alter these rules at their discretion to ensure a smooth election, whilst protecting the Unions’ reputation. Notification of changes shall be sent by email and candidates also notified of changes at the daily briefing. 13. Candidates should be aware of the environmental impact that their campaign may have. These rules are designed to allow flexibility and creativity, however forms of campaigning may be banned at any time should they be deemed to get extreme e.g. too much use of paper. Candidates and Campaign Teams 1. Candidates are to run as individuals on their own merits. They may not promote any candidate other than themselves. 2. Candidates are responsible for their campaign teams, and must ensure that anyone campaigning on their behalf understand the rules. Any rules breaks will incur penalties against the candidates and not the individual student, with the exception of misconduct which is subject to the Students’ Union and/or the University disciplinary procedures.
3. Members of a campaign team are encouraged to sign a register before campaigning. 4. Candidates’ must attend a daily compulsory meeting each day of campaigning. If unable to attend they should send apologies in advance to the DRO. Campaign Materials 1. Campaign materials are not to be offensive, inflammatory, undermine those campaigns of other or bring the Unions’ name into disrepute. Constructive criticism however is allowed as long as a candidate is clearly showing why their ideas improve on others. 2. All campaign materials must be checked before use by the DRO, or nominated person in their absence. 3. A grant (value tbc) will be offered to candidates before the close of the Candidates Briefing towards costs. Candidates may supplement this with their own money. ‘Free’ resources are also permitted. Candidates and their campaign teams are to campaign in a fair manner – anything taking place which the RO or their Deputy deems to give an unfair advantage and is not inkeeping with the candidate may be disallowed. 4. To claim expenses from the grant a receipt and a completed expenses form submitted to the NSU Administrator, countersigned by the Development Manager within one week of the close of voting. 5. Any ‘give aways’ will have a maximum value of 10p per item, unless preagreed with the DRO, e.g. higher value prizes. 6. There will be an allowance for photocopying/printing from the office in addition to each budget. This will be confirmed at the candidates’ briefing before campaigning begins. 7. Candidates may be as creative as possible and may use any facilities on campus as long as they have permission, that can be easily checked should a
complaint arise. Candidates are encouraged to submit evidence of this at the time of having materials checked. 8. Candidates may not move any materials to make room for their own campaigns (unless they have written permission prior to doing so). Candidates are encouraged to plan ahead. Facilities are on a first come first served basis â€“ be creative! 9. As soon as a Nomination has been accepted by the Deputy RO, a Nominee is then a candidate. From this point on they may ask for any campaign materials to be checked and their use pre-agreed. Campaigning may not however commence until the end of the Candidates briefing. 10. Online campaigning is allowed, in any online media, subject to the above rules. Online material however does not need to be pre-approved, but will be subject to severe disciplinary action if found to break these rules. Online campaigning may begin in advance of a nomination being accepted.
Students demonstrate on campus in the recent tuition fee debate.
Hints and Tips Almost every campaign in a students’ union election will include creating printed publicity, talking to students and speaking at a candidate question time. Here we present 10 tips for each of these. Manifesto tips 1) Include your name, the position you are running for and a photo in a prominent position. 2) Make a list of reasons why you are running for this position and choose the 2 or 3 best ones. Make sure you research these properly before you use them. 3) Use these 2 or 3 points as the basis of your manifesto. 4) Ensure the manifesto is properly spaced and in a legible font. Avoid using CAPITALS. 5) Find out whether the manifesto will be in colour or black and white. Most of the time your publicity will be photocopied so make don’t rely on colour. 6) Don’t put too much on the page or it will look cluttered. 7) Don’t put text over photos as this can be difficult to read. 8) Always ensure your publicity meets the guidelines of the union. 9) Ask for a number 2 vote if the voter has a preferred candidate. 10)Make sure you ask them to vote! Talking to students 1) Be friendly and smile. 2) Ask them about their course and what they want from their representatives. 3) Explain who you are and which position you are running for.
4) When explaining why you are running highlight the issue you want to change, the reason it affects them and what they can do to change it – i.e. vote for you! 5) If you approach someone who is grumpy or distracted and doesn’t want to vote then don’t waste time pressing them too hard. 6) Give them space to talk, but remember you need to speak to as many people as possible. 7) Explain where they can vote and how. 8) Ask for a number 2 vote if the voter has a preferred candidate. 9) Make sure you ask them to vote! 10)Thank them for their time. Candidate Question time 1) Make sure you know the timings of any speeches you can give. 2) Write the speech in advance, double spaced to make it easier to read. 3) Practice the speech several times with an audience, making sure you keep to the time given and speak slowly and clearly. 4) Start the speech explaining who you are. 5) Make sure you cover your three main points in the speech. 6) End the speech asking the audience to vote for you. 7) Practice answering questions about your ideas and anything else about the Union. 8) On the day wear something that is smart but comfortable and smile. 9) Take a paper and a pen with you to note questions. 10)Relax, be honest and bring your friends for support.
Complaints/Appeals Stage 1 - Complaints should be addressed to the Deputy Returning Officer. All complaints must be submitted in writing. The DRO will then investigate the complaint in a suitable manner and take any appropriate action, referring the complaint on if they feel the need. Stage 2 - The Complainant or Candidate may appeal a decision taken, in writing. This should be addressed to the Returning Officer. Stage 3 - They will then review the complaint, may seek further evidence as appropriate and then may either uphold the disciplinary action, overturn any action or amend the decision. If they feel the need then may take more severe action than initially given after the complaint. Stage 4 - If a complainant is still unhappy they may appeal to the University Board of Governors. Stage 5 - They may also appeal further to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. Complaints regarding campaigning must be received before the count commences. The count for an individual election may not commence until complaints have been dealt with. Once the count begins there is no further chance to complain about the election process. The only complaints which will be accepted from this point will be complaints which concern the count itself.
Frequently Asked Questions Are there any rules? Yes. See the rules section of this pack. It is important you read and understand these. If not please ask for them to be explained further or you risk disqualification from the election.
How does voting happen? Voters should go to our website, www.newmansu.org/elections where they will be able to read your statements/manifestoes, and follow the instructions to cast their vote. The voting system has security measures to ensure that voters can only vote once. They may have to vote for EVERY position at once, so encourage them to speak to all candidates before voting, and make every effort to speak to as many students as soon as you can.
Can I vote as a candidate? Yes, and you can vote for yourself!
What sort of vote is it? We use a system called Single Transferable Vote. This means that when you vote you will have to rank all candidates according to your preference for each position. A candidate needs 50% +1 of the total valid votes to win the election. If no-one receives this then the person with the least votes is â€˜knocked outâ€™, and the votes for them will transfer according to their second preference to be recounted and so on until someone has received enough votes to win.
Who counts the votes? The count will be overseen by the Deputy Returning Officer. You are entitled to watch this as explained at the Candidates Briefing.
Can my friends help? Yes! Your friends may join your campaign team. However remember that YOU are responsible for their actions – ensure they have also read the rules.
My friend is also running for another position, can I support them? You may vote for them, but not campaign in any way for them as a candidate yourself. More details can be found in the rules section.
Can I campaign under a nickname? Yes, but remember that the ballot paper will be in the format of FIRST NAME “Nickname” LAST NAME – please use this format on your nomination form otherwise it may not be included – if you use a nickname and voters can’t see it on the ballot sheet you may LOSE votes.
Do I get trained? Yes, you will have to attend a compulsory session called the ‘Candidates Briefing’. There are also additional voluntary sessions. These will be posted on www.newmansu.org/elections as they are confirmed. There is also compulsory training for all elected positions.
What is a students’ union officer? Students’ union officers are elected by the student body to hold a number of roles within the students’ union, ensuring that students at Newman are represented.
What is the difference between Executive Committee members and other roles? Members of the Executive Committee represent students and manage the Union on a day to day basis, making decisions in the best interest of the members. Other roles elected in these elections are supporting roles to ensure that NSU runs as efficiently as possible. They are all vital to ensuring NSU can achieve it’s objects as efficiently as
possible. The Executive Committee is responsible to the Student Body, and their decisions may be subject to approval by NSUs’ Board of Trustees.
What is the difference between a voluntary role and a Sabbatical position? Most roles are voluntary, this means you will hold the position and will be expected to undertake the responsibility of the role alongside your course. A sabbatical role means you will either take a year out of study or stay a year longer after your study to work full time for NSU. You will be given free accommodation (tbc) usually in the halls of residence and also receive an honorarium (effectively a monthly salary).
Who is RON? You may have heard people talk about R.O.N. This stands for Re-Open Nominations, and is not as some believe, someone who has stood in our elections for many years and has never left Newman! Re-Open Nominations will appear on all ballot papers and is a voters chance to vote to re-open the election if they don’t like the candidates available.
Can RON run a campaign? A student may run a campaign on behalf of Ron to Re-Open a position. This cannot be a campaign against a single candidate in a contested election. They will have to run it to the same rules as stated later in this pack. For more info. please contact the elections Committee
What do I do if I’m not happy or want to complain? Please see the Complaints Procedure
When does it all happen? Please see the Key dates list on page 6.
‘ ’Neon Ball’ in Fresher's week
Deputy Returning Officer Rob Balding (NSU Development Manager) 0121 483 2225 email@example.com Returning Officer (Contacted via the Deputy Returning Officer) TBC NSU Executive Committee Please see the NSU Website, Freshers Handbook 2011 or ask in the NSU office for their contact details, or leave a message for them to respond to in the NSU Office NSU Office Is located in the Hub and can be reached on the above numbers or the university main phone number (0121 483 1181), ask for the Studentsâ€™ Union. Newman University College, Board of Governors Can be reached via the Clerk to the Governors Heather Somerfield H.C.Somerfield@staff.newman.ac.uk
Further Information www.newmansu.org/elections At the above link you will find a wealth of further information about the job roles and the elections process. There is also a ‘resources library’ with plenty of NSU related material for you to look through and consider during the nomination period – those who are elected will of course be expected to implement the documents available here. Some of the Information available:
The Jobs – summaries of each role with a ‘click to view’ full job description
Important forms – Nomination forms etc.
Guidance – e.g. tips and instructions for putting together your manifesto.
Contact information – should you have questions about anything!
Useful documents – including NSUs’ Strategic plan (Elected Officers MUST work to this!), our Constitution and much more.
If you are having trouble viewing any of this information please either get in touch or pop into the NSU Office and we will be able to supply you with the information in a different format e.g. paper copies.
Debate Night The format of this event will be:
All positions are able to give up to 2 minutes speech at the start. Following this the debate will commence for Sabbatical Candidates only, other candidates are encouraged to listen – after all you still get a vote yourself. Most ‘Topics/Statements’ to be debated will be made available in advance, this will be when nominations open where possible at www.newmansu.org/elections There will be two ‘teams’, for and against for each topic. www.newmansu.org/elections
For each topic it will be randomly determined whether a candidate will be for/against the topic. One person from each team will give the main arguments. There may be a time limit. Once both sides have had this initial speech other members may join in by raising their hands and speaking when directed to do so. Each Candidate will be required to give at least one opening speech.
It is therefore recommended that Candidates make themselves aware of the issue both for and against the topics. The debate will be filmed where possible and footage made available online for voters to watch who are unable to attend. A statement will be made to ensure that viewers are aware that ‘sides’ are chosen randomly and the debate is to allow candidates to show they are aware of a range of issues. Any changes to this will be made aware to all candidates at the Candidates Briefing, or at another appropriate time.