Creation of a platform to permit direct questions to Sabbatical candidates in elections (1314P20)

Status: Lapsed | Zone: Elections

Passed: 14/05/2014 | Lapsed: 14/05/2014

This policy was discussed at the following meetings:

  • Elections are an opportunity for SUSU to be a student-led Union, as is one of our core functions.
  • SUSU permits general questions to be asked of all candidates running for a given position via the website and also permits a degree of questions to be asked at live debates.
  • Sabbatical candidates are currently not restricted in any way while writing their manifestos, as long as they are written in such a way that follows the “spirit of the elections”.
  • The following extracts from the Union Plan to 2015:
  • “Values: Transparent, Democratic”
  • “Vision: To be the informed and legitimate voice of our members”
  • “Themes: Build an Effective Organisation”
  • “Voice: Communicate 4.5: Broadening the appeal of our election processes, to ensure that all students have access to leadership and representative opportunities”.
  • The current opportunities for Sabbatical candidates (hereafter referred to simply as 'candidates') to be directly questioned by members during the election process are highly variable and very few of these interactions are likely to be seen by the majority of the electorate.
  • It is in all members’ interest that these candidates can be asked questions on points raised in their manifestos and that answers to these questions will retained/recorded in a manner that permits any member a chance to view them.
  • The creation of such a platform via modification of the current election site would ensure that SUSU continues to act in a manner that aids the democratic process and fulfils the objectives quoted from the Union Plan above.
  • That SUSU could therefore create a more informed voting body, which would help to combat the reputation of elections being a “popularity contest” and would also allow those candidates with good ideas to expand on them in a public forum.
  • To allow any member of SUSU to ask questions to candidates regarding their election platform – whether it be about their manifesto or views on specific topics relevant to their desired position.
  • To utilise this system at all major elections from the next academic year.
  • To protect candidates from offensive or otherwise hostile questions, but otherwise to permit free dialogue between the electorate and candidates.
  • To publicise this system as part of the election materials to ensure that members are aware it exists.
  • That Democracy Zone will modify the election website to permit questions to be submitted individually to candidates based on their manifestos, with the option for the questioner to leave their name or remain anonymous.
  • That Democracy Zone will ensure that there is a facility to allow questions to be moderated by the Spring Elections Working Group to ensure they adhere to all previous policies such as the Equality and Diversity policy and the Bullying policy, as well as to reduce the number of duplicate questions.
  • That Democracy Zone will ensure this system allows questions to be displayed either on the same page as a candidate’s manifesto, or otherwise available by a prominent link to ensure visibility to voters.
  • That this system should be in place and operational no later than the next round of Spring Elections during Calendar Year 2015, and should continue to operate in the Spring Elections until the lapsing of this policy by another policy, or via the Policy Review process.