‘Unacceptable’ NUS Delegate Elections – Dan Leedham

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Did you know that voting was recently open in the election to decide our delegates for the annual NUS National Conference? Successful candidate Dan Leedham investigates why the answer might well be no.

5 hours after voting opens, still no election

Five hours after voting officially opened students were still unable to vote, as the website simply presented a message suggesting “No Elections are Currently Running”.

The Candidate’s Pack for the election read:

Voting opens online at www.lsu.co.uk/NUSelections on Saturday 14th March at 08:00

Nominations

Not only could students not vote in the election, many would-be candidates were hampered from running simply because advertisement of the election was only promoted 24 hours before the deadline. A quick straw poll with the oncoming Executive after their LCR appointment on Thursday was alarming. Of these, 3 had wanted to run but missed the deadline, one by only four minutes.

This election is the first which is run alongside recommendations from the NUS in order to meet their incredibly controversial quota “to ensure that delegations to National Conference would be made up of at least 50% self-defining women”. These recommendations require “you ask candidates to define their own gender identity at the point of nomination.”

However, the gender identification question was not present on any of the nomination form material, leading Label to query this with the Returning Officer (VP Union Affairs Liam Peoples) which was followed with a rushed ‘urgent’ email requesting the candidates declare their self-identifying gender. Although not enough to invalidate the election, this was incredibly sloppy.

How do candidates feel?

As someone running in this election, I felt incredibly compromised as a candidate. Having discussed with one candidate earlier in the week regarding key objectives including social media spamming and raising awareness for the election, these opportunities are now lost.

Discussing with a second candidate brought no relief, as they felt the overall lack of knowledge about these elections is unacceptable.

What’s going wrong with our #YOUnion?

Is this acceptable for one of the best and most influential students’ unions in the country? Talk surrounding the merger of the roles of VP Union Affairs (or VP Democracy & Communication until recently) and VP Finance has been floated around those ‘within’ LSU for some time.

Can we afford to have someone dedicated to such topics if even simple elections cannot take place correctly? Should this role be taken on my permanent members of staff acting a facilitators for the Union Affairs Committee and Student Forum without making executive decisions?

Many would argue that this is another example of a #YOUnion campaign without any real change.

Have your say below.

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About Author

This is Dan's 5th year involved with LSU Media. The LSUTV Station Manager 2014-15, Dan focused on live productions and restarted LSU Live, hosted multiple live sports matches, a General Election hustings debate and was on the core team for the most audacious TV multicast ever, Big BUCS Wednesday.

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