Minute-by-minute coverage of 2016’s Executive Elections at the Univeristy of Manchester Students’ Union
By Liam Kelly
Naa Acquah, re-elected as General Secretary: “I feel absolutely over the moon. It was a really hard competition this year, it was hard, we worked so hard and there were some people who I really, honestly, wanted to win. I’m going to party now, I’m going to drink, and I’m going to carry on doing the work I did, and keep doing it, and keep loving life! I’m so happy, thank you so much!”
Tamara O’Neil, new Activities & Development Officer: “Extremely, extremely happy. Overwhelmed, shocked that that many students voted. I feel really happy! I’m going to Koh Tao now to support my friend, going on a night out. Well done to all the other candidates because it was very hard, very strong competition.”
Imagine the news we’d have been able to write if that happened here!
And if you think it’s been fun here tonight—Re-open Nominations won the election at LSE for General Secretary tonight!
There are six women on the Exec Team next year, with three BAME members—the most diverse a Manchester SU Exec has ever been
Jenni Smyth, new Women’s Officer: “As I said in my speech, I’m a mature student and a student parent, and when I started uni I felt a little bit isolated during Freshers’, there was nothing for me. I went to conversation corner, met the women’s campaign, and suddenly I didn’t feel like a mature student, I just felt like a student, a woman, and that’s where I found my university family. Since then I have been absolutely dedicated to the women’s campaign, Jess Lishak is amazing, has done such a good job. She’s done two years, and I’m proud and honoured to at least try to attempt and carry on the good work she’s done. I can’t believe it, I’m in shock! Thank you!”
Just to recap, our winners tonight—and your 2016/17 Exec Team—are: Naa Acquah (General Secretary), Tamara O’Neill (Activities & Development), Sorcha Floyd (Campaigns & Citizenship), Saffa Mir (Community), Ilyas Nagdee (Diversity), Michael Spence (Education), Izzy Gurbuz (Wellbeing), and Jenni Smyth (Women’s)
Izzy Gurbuz, the new Wellbeing Officer, was so overwhelmed by the news that she couldn’t stop crying to answer any questions about her victory. Congratulations to her anyway.
Michael Spence, re-elected Education Officer: “Relieved, I’m just relieved, I’m over the moon. I’m so excited, I can actually do the things I want to do next year, I can start that now, I’m so excited—I’m so happy.”
Are you going to dye your hair black again?
“Oh hell no, it’s staying green!”
That’s what we’re being asked over the PA system in Club Academy
The question is, dear reader, do you believe in life after love?
In more important #news, the liveblogging team has switched from Carlsberg to Academy IPA. It is objectively better
Saffa Mir, new Community Officer: “Overwhelmed, it’s been such a long experience, I’m just ready to sleep. I am so tired, it’s been such a tiring experience, but so worth it.”
Ilyas Nagdee, new Diversity Officer: “Amazing, this is amazing. I actually can’t say anything now.”
Because what would the news be without a little bit of bitterness?
And, hopefully, the bitter, unsuccessful ones
Sorcha Floyd, new Campaigns Officer: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed, thank you so much!”
Reactions from successful candidates will follow.
Trish broke the voter turnout record for any SU last year. This year we have the leading turnout of any SU (so far, Nottingham are yet to announce their results).
Henri launches into a doting speech about leaving manager of Student Voice, Trish McGrath, who will be moving to Aberystwyth: “She even got married in this building and had her reception here.”
Viva la diaeresis
Reëlected General Secretary Naa Acquah: “It’s been a really great election—I’m absolutely over the moon. I was shitting myself before this, so thank you guys. There are so many people I could not do this without:, Deej, Saffa, Jenni, Michael… I will carry on working really hard, I promise”
Naa thanks many including Ilyas, Saffa, Michael, and Jenni.
Naa Acquah is reëlected General Secretary
Naa Acquah is re-elected General Secretary with 2,576 votes.
General Secretary is next. In the first round, Naa takes a lead of around 800.
Just so you know, the Carlsberg doesn’t get any better with age, folks
Newly-elected Activities & Development Officer Tamara: “It’s been a crazy week, and I’m going to work my absolute hardest to give the students at the University of Manchester the best experience”
It must have been that banner.
In the final round, Tamara O’Neil reached 1626 votes, and is elected Activities & Development Officer.
This is followed by 13 rounds of reallocations which are skipped.
In the first round, Tamara has a lead over the other 17 candidates.
Newly-elected Women’s Officer Jenni: “I never ever expected to be stood here today. I remember my first day of uni and feeling a bit isolated and out of place as a mature student and parent. I went to the Women’s Conversation Corner, I met Jess, and I suddenly didn’t feel isolated any. She convinced me to run despite my doubts. Cannot believe I’m here today.”
Activities & Development Officer is next. For this there were 16 —it was close.
In the second round, with 2529 votes, Jenni Smyth is elected Women’s Officer. Congratulations!
It’s ok Charlie, I still love you
Jenni Smyth leads votes in the first round of 2.
Women’s Officer is the next result to be revealed
At this point, the order I previously promised is totally out the window, so for that I apologise.
Laura Mills and Sophie come in for special mentions from our new Wellbeing Officer, as do her rival candidates
By round 16, Izzy has the lead with 1420 votes. Izzy Gurbuz is elected Wellbeing Officer.
The final 3 candidates are Annie, Oliver and Izzy, with the latter leading.
By round 11 the gap has narrowed but Izzy still has the lead.
Various candidates are reallocated over 11 rounds.
Izzy, Annie and Oliver lead the first round of voting.
Let’s hope they skip ahead again!
The Wellbeing Officer position saw 4885 votes cast
16 rounds of voting for Wellbeing Officer.
“I know you [Chris James] might be straight, but you’re effectively my boyfriend at this stage.”
Way to go, Kyle
Education Officer Michael Spence thanks his campaign team, especially Kyle, who cancelled a trip to London to help campaign in Manchester today
With 1738 votes, incumbent Michael Spence achieves re-election.
In round 14 there were 3 candidates left, Jack, Emma and Michael.
Another mercy—we’ve decided to skip all of the middling rounds, and have skipped to the end
Rather than knocking out candidates for 11 whole rounds, they jump to the final rounds. Michael Spence still holds a lead.
The first round’s victory threshold was 2620
Incumbent Michael Spence won 1282 votes in the first round
There were 13 rounds for Education Officer, with 5,255 votes in total.
Education Officer is next up…
Saffa is elected Community Officer after two rounds of voting. She thanks the Islamic Society.
Newly-elected Diversity Officer Ilyas Nagdee: “Sorry, I’m shit with speeches. But thanks guys, thanks for
backing the beard!”
Newly-elected Campaigns & Citizenship Office Sorcha Floyd: “I’m so proud, I can’t believe it. Thank you all, thanks so much”
4,602 candidates voted for Diversity Officer. Ilyas Nagdee received 2,479 votes, and is elected Diversity Officer.
The next most voted-for candidate only reached 1,204 so this was not the closest of races. Congratulations to Sorcha Floyd!
Sorcha Floyd is our new Campaigns & Citizenship Officer, with 3016 votes
The first results to be announced are for C&C. 5963 candidates turned out in this race.
Short of last year’s 13 and a half thousand, but still good!
10,169 students voted in this year’s election
A bigger cheer for “elections goddess” Fran, who receives the praise gracefully with a pint in either hand.
Never pick the Carlsberg, Liam.
A big cheer for departing staff member Trish after five years at the union, where she has served as Head of Student Voice. Thanks to Trish.
Joel and Jess are, mercifully, going to keep things “quite short”
Our hosts Henri Egle Sorotos and Trish McGrath have taken to the stage, and are introducing departing Exec Officers Joel and Jess who will be giving short speeches.
As well as The Mancunion being here, Fuse FM and Fuse TV are covering tonight’s events in Club Academy—be ready to see their output in the next couple of days!
I’ve been reliably informed of the order positions will be announced. In a bid to work out whether voters have just selected the top position and not bothered with the others, the order is as follows:
Campaigns & Citizenship Officer,
Activities & Development Officer,
then finally, General Secretary.
Sarah Brown (Wellbeing Officer candidate): “I actually found the campaigning quite intrusive. I’ve found that it gets in the way of your degree a little bit. But it’s been lovely getting to know people—painting the banners was a lot of fun. But campaigning to students was quite intrusive.”
Bill Lee (@westcoastbill) talking sense on the #KeepItReal hashtag with some biting commentary on women who wear suit jackets and T-shirts.
don’t forget #getinvolved Charlie!
I assume the instruction is to use and keep an eye on the hashtags #KeepItReal or #Vibes.
Charlie is wearing a rather fetching blazer for the evening’s festivities, putting the rest of The Mancunion staff to shame. We’ll get a photo up ASAFP
They haven’t played The Winner Takes It All from what I’ve heard yet, so I’m assuming they’re reserving that gem for after all the announcements.
Candidates who have chosen to find out if they were successful or not have moved to the Student Voice office to be let know in private. I suppose we might be able to work out just by looking at their faces who some of the unsuccessful candidates are…
Elrica Degirmen (Education Officer Candidate): “It’s hard to say right now [how well the campaign went]. I don’t think I’ve won it, but it will be interesting to see my margin of loss. When I launched this campaign I knew I was fighting an uphill struggle here in Manchester, and I know I’m loathed by many people at the university, so I’ve always thought that if I’m going to win it, I’m going to have to win it outright. I’ll smash it, or fail miserably. I don’t think I’ve won it—it was too tough here. I’ve got a lot of support here though.”
Alan Partridge is DJing tonight, Charlie
The choice of music in the room seems a divisive choice. It’s ABBA. Just ABBA, and nothing else.
Coby Tunnicliffe (General Secretary candidate): “The campaign went really well, disappointing how few students were interested. Naa seems like she really knows what’s going on and she was very prepared.”
Chris James (Campaigns & Citizenship Officer candidate): “Really nervous but I enjoyed the campaign. Learnt to speak better in public, and I’d recommend it to others. I think Deej and Sorcha are really good candidates.”
Jack Lofthouse (Community Officer candidate): “It’s been a really good week, I’ve spoken to lots of people. It’s been really intense, but I’m glad it’s over now. I’ve had a lot of competition—main competition is Saffa because of the quality of her campaign. She’s tried really hard, and I wish her well for the future. She’s a really good candidate.”
Michael Spence (incumbent Education Secretary): “Nervous but excited about what’s going to happen tonight—I can’t call most races, except diversity. Anyone could win any of the races. Ilyas to win diversity. He ran against me last year.
“I thought he was a good, strong candidate, who’d make a great officer.”
Chris James (Campaigns Officer candidate): “I’m feeling really nervous, but I enjoyed the campaign. I learnt to speak better in public, and I’d recommend [standing] to others. I think Deej and Sorcha really good candidates”
Naa Acquah (incumbent General Secretary): “I feel really apprehensive re-running—first time around I had nothing to lose and had a lot of fun. This time I’m really passionate about the job, I’ve been in it for a year, and I know what it takes and what it consists of, so you think about it so much more. If I didn’t get re-elected, I’d take it on the chin and I’d leave gracefully. The stakes are so much higher this time as there’s so much going on.”
Jack Lofthouse (Communities Officer candidate): “It’s been a really good week, I’ve spoken to lots of people. It’s been really intense, but I’m glad it’s over now. I’ve had a lot of competition—I’d say my main competition is Saffa because of the quality of her campaign. She’s tried really hard, and I wish her well for the future. She’s a really good candidate”
Meg Taylor (General Secretary candidate): “I don’t really know how to feel, I’m trying not to feel nervous, and just hoping for the best.”
Do you think you stand a good chance?
“I think Ive given myself the best chance I can, and everyone’s said I’ve had a really amazing campaign, it’s been really out there, everyone’s engaged with it, so I’ve had the Meg Griffin thing, and Eminem parody videos, so I’m hoping it all pays off.”
The “funny” awards are being announced. The best video goes to Meg Taylor, best banner to Tamara O’Neil, most motivation to Jenni Smyth, most dedicated to Jack Lofthouse, best brand to Michael Spence, fountain of knowledge to Naa Acquah, and most creative campaign move to Sorcha Floyd!
Sorcha Floyd (Campaigns & Citizenship Officer candidate): “I’m feeling fine, whoever gets the job will be fantastic. And I’m proud of any of them, it’s really hard to tell who will win each of the roles.”
Jenni Smyth (Women’s Officer candidate): “So I’m very nervous, really excited. It’s been such an amazing experience, all of the candidates are brilliant, everyone’s gave 110 per cent. It’s a shame there is no position for all of us.”
Jack Metcalf (Education Officer candidate): “Well I’ve got no idea what I’m really going to get, there’s so many candidates standing. Me and my mates from Socialist Students, it’s been a really good effort, it’s been the busiest campaign out there. So I think we deserve to get something decent, we’re hoping for the best.”
We’ve talked with many incumbent Exec officers as well as a number of candidates about how they’re feeling tonight.
Welcome to this evening’s coverage of the announcements for 2016/17’s executive officers at the Students’ Union. We’re in Club Academy reporting live as the results are announced.