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2nd March 2014

Meh-lection frenzy sweeps Students’ Union Exec

Exec position nominations see lack of interest, even though advertised for people who “fancy earning £16.6k” or “taking a paid year out”

Nominations for Executive team positions closed on Friday after a last-ditch effort by the Students’ Union to drum up interest.

The nomination results see two prior Exec team members, the Community Officer and Education Officer, standing for two different £16.6k positions this year.

The nomination period was marred by a lack of interest from the student populace, and two positions, General Secretary and Community Officer, were uncontested until as late as last Tuesday.

The promotional techniques used by the Union also came under fire, as staff desperately tried to encourage students to stand.

A status posted by the Manchester Students’ Union Facebook page read, “Fancy earning 16.6k next year? Or taking a paid year out of your studies? No interview and no experience needed! STAND”.

Similar messages, uploaded to the Union’s Twitter page, prompted negative replies.

“Shame this is how you’re trying to get people to run,” tweeted former University of Nottingham Exec officer Elizabeth Goddard.

“I know. Hence the retweet, made me cringe,” echoed one student on Twitter, who is also running for seven positions – every role available, except Women’s Officer.

Current Exec staff also attempted to persuade students to run.

Current Diversity Officer Omar Aljuhani posted on Facebook, “Even if you are not sure whether to run or not… just fill the form and decide later.”

The lack of female representation during nominations was of particular concern to current Women’s Officer, Tabz O’Brien-Butcher.

“There are currently no women running for the positions of Diversity, Campaigns or Activities in the Manchester SU elections,” Tabz posted on her Facebook page last Monday.

“If you know a woman who would be great in one of these roles, give her a message and let her know that you think she’d be fab!”

Eventually every position was contested, including an entry for Member of Parliament for Withington John Leech, who was “rejected from the running because he couldn’t provide proof of student status”, according to a notice posted in the Students’ Union on Friday afternoon.

Eleven students are running for General Secretary, and nine for Diversity Officer.

Community Officer and Wellbeing Officer both received seven candidates each, while the Activities & Development Officer and Campaigns & Citizenship Officer roles saw six candidates apply for each.

Finally, four students are standing to be Education Officer, and four for Women’s Officer.

Voting for the Executive positions opens on the 14th March.

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