Full-time union officer candidates won two out of the four available National Union of Students (NUS) delegate positions on Friday 7th November, as turnout fell by approximately six percentage points compared to the 2013 elections. The election also saw delegates to NUS Women’s Conference and NUS LGBT+ Conference directly elected for the first time.
With no high-profile referendum accompanying the vote this year, the number of students voting fell from 975 in November 2013 to 228. This represents a drop in turnout from around 7% of the student electorate in 2013 to 1% in 2014.
However, the 2014 turnout was more or less the same when compared to the equally referendum-less 2012 elections, where 254 students turned out to elect UEA’s delegates to the conference.
LGBT+ Officer Dan Wrigglesworth was disqualified as a candidate on the second day of voting, after the Returning Officer ruled that by including a picture of fellow candidate Connor Rand on his posters he had breached the election regulations. His votes were redistributed to other candidates where possible, although 13 of his voters only gave a single preference. Their votes were therefore not counted towards the rest of the election.
NUS National Conference makes policy for the NUS, holds the NUS executive to account and elects the presidents and vice presidents of the NUS. The conference will be held in Liverpool between 21st – 23rd April 2015.
Elections were also held for delegates to the NUS Women’s Conference (which were won by Charlotte Earney and Sophie Jackson), NUS LGBT+ Conference (won by Holly Staynor and Georgia Tomlinson-Spence) and the committee of the Graduate Students’ Association (with Siyi Zhu becoming Social Secretary and David Hall becoming Secretary).
One delegate place to NUS Women’s Conference, two delegate places to NUS LGBT+ Conference, three observer places to NUS Disabled Students’ Conference and four observer delegates to NUS Black Students’ Conference remain unfilled. By-elections are expected to be held for these positions, as well as for the unfilled Graduate Students’ Association committee places of vice-president, equality and diversity officer, treasurer, committees representative and masters representative.
Postgraduate students will be invited to vote again before the end of term, with a postgrad-only referendum expected on a proposal to incorporate the Graduate Students’ Association into UUEAS.
The next general elections in which all students can vote will be the union officer elections, planned for March 2015.