Union Council sparks debate and proposes election reform

Creative campaigning was praised by the council, yet some accused the Union of ‘dumbing-down’ elections and abandoning the ‘informed voter’.  Many felt that the emphasis on participation would result in increased harassment by canvassers and would be detrimental to publicising the key issues at elections.

The newly-renamed hustings (now to be known as Candidate Question Time) will be complemented with a soap-box pilot scheme where candidates can book a podium on campus, promoting open debate and encouraging public speaking in a paper-free, green initiative.

In order to counter concerns that the elections encouraged exclusivity, President Liz Owen said she wanted to “break down the cliquey image” of the SU by increasing the number of people involved in campaigning. Official Aides will now be known as Campaign Teams, with a higher limit of no more than 10 people. A contentious issue was the amendment, raised by Mario Creatura, to ban all AUC/SFC and executive committee members from taking part in election campaigns. The amendment was eventually passed with a majority of 18 – 10.

The Campaign budget has also been increased to £20 for Sabbatical positions and £15 for media, RAG and executive positions. The nomination fee has been reduced to £5 to encourage people to come forward and stand for positions.

A trust-based credit system, where credits no longer have to be used on stationary and photocopying, was met with disapproval from some members of the council for the lack of clear-cut definitions for what would be acceptable. The Union maintained that an exhaustive distinction would be outlined in their electoral code of conduct.

As a result of the new reforms, a mandatory Two-Year Review was established to allow the committee to process reform and keep SU democracy inclusive and fair.

Nominations are still open for spaces on the Executive Committee and the SFC.

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