The candidates for the upcoming Student Elections have been announced, with three current Students’ Union officers running for the position of president.
The news was announced last Monday, ahead of the start of election week on February 22nd. Both VP for Education, Sophie Timbers, and VP for Societies Hannah Sterritt will run for the role of president, alongside part-time Welsh Language Officer Steffan Bryn.
Also competing for the coveted position of President are Sebastian Robyns-Landricome, current President of the Socialist Students Society, Nadine Dahan, previous candidate for the VP Welfare position last year, and Alexandra White.
With six candidates running for the role, the elections will see more competition than last year with only two officers previously fighting for the position.
The position of VP Welfare will see the largest number of candidates competing, with ten students planning to campaign. Candidates include current Womens’ Officer Rachael Melhuish and Ethical and Environmental Officer Daniel Tucker. In a repeat of last year Student Senator Jake Smith will run again for the role, which represents students in all aspects of welfare including housing and sexual and mental health.
A large number of students will also run for the positions of VP Education and AU President, with eight candidates running for each title.
It was noted that despite the role being held by males over the last two years, this year’s candidates see an equal male and female candidates.
Like last year, seven candidates are listed as running for the VP Societies. Despite being created only last year as the result of the 2015 AGM, the full time officer position for post-graduate students will see six competitors campaign during election week.
Meanwhile the full time officer responsible for representing students at Heath Park campus will be fought between two candidates, Timothy Nagle and Nikolai Ciecierski-Holmes.
In addition to the full-time roles, a number of part-time roles will be on offer to students. The Black and Ethnic Minorities (BME) Officer, International Students Officer, Welsh Language Officer and the LGBT+ Officer for Women roles will all run uncontested with only one candidate.
The Students with Disabilities Officer, LGBT+ Open Officer, Ethical and Environmental Officer all have two candidates running.
However, on the notice of poll announced on the Students’ Union website, there was no mention of any students running for the part-time Woman’s Officer.
Although the elections are yet to begin, five students have already withdrawn from the competition.
The announcement of the candidates marks the first step in the Student Elections process. On Tuesday and Thursday the Students’ Union will host a Question Time for those running between 19:00-21:00 for the first date and 18:30 to 20:30 for the latter.
Unlike last year, the elections will fall on reading week for some subjects, including the School of English, Communication and Philosophy. When questioned whether this would affect voter turnout, current Students’ Union President Claire Blakeway explained that campaign week falls on the same week every year to ensure that it does not clash with university events such as deadline and assessments.
She said: “Unfortunately, Students’ Union elections are not the only pressure of the academic calendar and at times, we have activities taking place that can cause conflict. We are aware of a small number of reading weeks and other commitments that could have an impact of candidates and voters.”
It was confirmed that despite the timing in past years, voter turnout has continued to increase. Last year 6,231 students chose their favourite candidates, compared to 4,782 in 2013.