Voting has commenced on the UCLU Autumn elections, and Daniele Palmer has all the need-to-know details.
Students can now vote in the UCLU Autumn elections 2015. This is a chance for every UCL student – and Union member – to have an input into the organisation of their Union. Students are able, albeit indirectly, to express their views by electing new officers within the University College London Union (UCLU).
There are twenty roles to fill: Union Chair, NUS Conference delegate, Student Trustee and a number of Hall Representatives. All of the nominees that get successfully voted into their office begin to work alongside other officers who were elected over the past few months.
The voting closes on Friday 23/10/2015 at 10.00 a.m.. All students have time until then to read the manifestos of their candidates – one Hall Representative, and for both the Student Trustee and Union Chair. Results will be announced on the same day, at 18:00.
Any student living in halls of residence is able to vote for their Hall Representatives. That means largely first-years, postgraduates and those few others that choose to carry on through the years. Candidates are students living in the residence they want to represent. There has been a controversy surrounding this particular part of the election: only one nomination has been made for the 17 positions, leaving 16 halls without a representative. A number of students involved with the administration of halls of residences this year have written an open letter to UCLU, asking them to re-open nominations for these positions.
The successful candidate will be led by ‘Halls Accommodation Representative and work with the External Accommodation Officer’. Their role is to represent student interests in UCLU and make the student community aware of any related matters or campings of possible interest. They work on the hall committee, led by a Hall President, that tries to foster ‘a sense of commute with the residence’.
The Student Trustee has to manage and administer the Union, allowing them to fundamentally have a role—at a potentially young age—on a charity board. They are responsible for governance and budget, and as board delegates have responsibilities to other Union committees.
The vacancy that carries possibly the biggest and heaviest symbolic charm would be that of the Union Chair. Though the other roles are as indispensable, the successful candidate that becomes Chair has a large part to play in the executive running of the Union. They will be head of the principle policy-making bodies ‘such as the Union Council and General Assembly’. They also have an ethical obligation to ensure the fair treatment of elections and referenda, and maintain a democratic environment within the Union.
For this role, one is able to choose between two candidates: this year, they are Mohammed Abid Ali and Sohail Badat. Ali is an Electric Engineering student who promises to make ‘communication and transparency’ the top of the union’s agenda. He aims to create a stronger, more inclusive union that will guarantee an enhancement of ‘the university experience for all’.
The other candidate, Badat, is a third-year medical student and would strive, if elected, to render the Union more accountable, representative and accessible. Dedicated to his agenda of ameliorating the democratic component of the Union, he tells his potential voters that he will work to achieve it.
The Union had planned to hold a ‘Meet the Candidates’ event in the quad on Wednesday 21st October, but it was cancelled because of poor weather.
Featured image credit: Sam Fearnley