Elections are set to be held for UEA’s delegates to various National Union of Students (NUS) policy-making conferences and to places on the Graduate Students’ Association Committee. Voting will be open from 7th – 9th November on ueastudent.com/election
All UEA students will be asked to elect delegates to vote on their behalf at the NUS National Conference, while women students will be asked to vote on their representatives to NUS Women’s Conference and LGBT+ students will be invited to decide who will represent them at the NUS LGBT+ Conference. Ethnic minority students and disabled students will also be able to elect non-voting “observer” delegates to the NUS Black Students Conference and the NUS Disabled Students Conference, respectively.
Postgraduate Students will have the chance to elect seven members of the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) committee, including the new position of Equality and Diversity Officer which was recently endorsed by the Graduate Assembly of the GSA.
2014 is the first year that elections have been held for UEA’s delegates to the NUS Women’s, LGBT+, Ethnic Minorities and Disabled Students Conferences. While NUS National Conference decides policy and elects student officers for the whole of the NUS, the other conferences decide policy and elect student officers for the NUS’s autonomous “liberation” campaigns, which aim to represent and champion the rights of marginalised students.
This year also sees a change in how NUS National Conference elections will be counted. Due to a rule change originally agreed at NUS Conference 2014 and confirmed by a recent meeting of the Union of UEA Students (UUEAS) Union Council, at least 50% of NUS delegates (rounded down) must be self-identifying women. As a result, two of UEA’s five delegate places will be reserved for women; according to UUEAS the process will involve only counting votes for women candidates when allocating the first two delegate places, and counting all votes normally when allocating the final three places.
Although UUEAS has expressed concern over these rules – as union officers argue they do nothing to help representation of non binary genders – they argue that they have had to implement the changes because it is an NUS matter, and say that to not implement the rules would mean UEA would lose its representation at NUS conferences.
All elections will be by the single transferable vote method of preference voting – voters can mark a ‘1’ for their most preferred candidate, a ‘2’ for their second preferred candidate and so forth until they have no more preferences they wish to express. Their votes will then be transferred if their most favoured candidate is eliminated during the election count.
A full list of the positions being elected can be found at www.ueastudent.com/election.
The NUS is the national federation of student unions; it provides training, support and services to student unions, campaigns on issues affecting students and provides a collective voice for students. The Graduate Students’ Association is the independent collective voice of postgraduate students at UEA.