Formally establishing a working group/committee to focus on increasing participation in elections at the Students' Union (1516P38)

Status: Active | Zone: Democracy

Passed: 06/06/2016 | Lapses: 01/07/2018

This policy was discussed at the following meetings:

  • 1.       That each year, three main rounds of elections are held: in Autumn, Spring and Summer. The most publicised of these elections are the Spring Elections, where full-time Officers and the majority of part-time Officers for the next academic year are elected
    2.       That at the third Union Council of the 2015-16 academic year (01st February 2016), an idea was discussed that was entitled 'How can SUSU encourage under-represented groups to participate in the Spring Elections?'
    3.       The Union's mission statement, which is to 'unlock the potential and enrich the life of every student'
    4.       That the Union's four core values are supposedly:
    ·         Brave
    ·         Student-led
    ·         Empowering
    ·         Respected
    5.       That the majority of part-time Officer positions are uncontested in the Spring Elections, in the sense that there is only one candidate running for most of the positions (excluding 'Re-Open Nominations')
    6.       That in the 2016 Spring Elections, three out of the seven full-time Officer positions had only one candidate in the race (excluding 'Re-Open Nominations')
    7.       That voter turnout in the Spring Elections has been declining over the past three years, with less than 6000 votes cast in the Spring Elections in both 2015 and 2016
  • 1.       That there is a real need to engage under-represented groups in the elections that take place at this Students' Union
    2.       That these under-represented groups include, but are by no means limited to:
    ·         Mature students
    ·         Postgraduates
    ·         Part-time students
    ·         Female students
    ·         LGBT+ students
    ·         International students
    ·         Students with disabilities
    ·         Students from faith groups
    ·         Students of an ethnic minority
    3.       That a project should be launched in the 2016-17 academic year to explore the reasons why people choose to run and not to run or vote in Union elections
    4.       That a working group/committee should be responsible for the oversight of this project
    5.       That involving student groups in this project is likely to be a helpful way of engaging under-represented groups with Union elections
    6.       That the initial focus should be on increasing participation in the Spring Elections, with the view to expanding this to other elections if it is clear that the project is proving successful
    7.       That it is important to determine a way of establishing the degree to which the work of the working group/committee is proving to be a success
  • 1.       To formally establish a working group/committee to focus on increasing participation in the Spring Elections
    2.       To hold meetings of this working group/committee on a monthly basis, with the first meeting to be held no later than in November 2016
    3.       To ensure that all meetings of this working group/committee are well-publicised and open for any student at the University to attend and contribute to the discussions
  • 1.       The Vice-President Democracy and Creative Industries, Vice-President Welfare and the Equality and Diversity Officer to be responsible for taking a lead on the implementation of this project
    2.       The Democracy Zone Committee to establish which officers should be members of the working group/committee and ensure that invites are sent out promptly
    3.       The Vice-President Democracy and Creative Industries, Vice-President Welfare and Vice-President Student Communities to actively publicise meetings of the working group/committee to the entire student body, across all UoS campuses