Voting for the NUS Elections opens
Voting for National Union of Students (NUS) delegates was opened online last Friday, November 21st, after a two-month period of application submissions.
Those who put their names forward will now dispute seats for eight different conferences. The National Conference, which is the highest decision-making body of the entire NUS structure, is the primary one, for which students are electing eleven delegates—to make a total of 12, as the Students’ Union General Secretary is elected automatically.
Besides the National Conference seats, there is an LGBT Conference with eight delegate positions available, a Women’s Conference with four, and Black Students, Disabled Students, International Students, Postgraduates, Mature & Part-Time conferences, which elect one delegate each.
All seats are being contested, although some conferences have a disappointing number of students standing, such as the Disabled Students Conference, with only two candidates. Ahead with the largest number of candidates is the National Conference, with 31 students disputing the seats, although this is still a 25 per cent drop in applications compared with last year, when over forty students were standing.
Charles Barry, Governance and Democracy Co-ordinator and Elections Administrator at the Students’ Union, does not expect that low application numbers will necessarily impact on the excellence of this year’s representation. Speaking to The Mancunion, he said:
“Quantity does not necessarily equal quality. You may find that this year the calibre of candidates has gone up. There are certainly a few different candidates who are running in teams too, so students should have a look at their manifestos and see what all the different candidates are doing.”
The Students’ Union believes it is important that students participate in the delegates’ election because of the significance of the NUS to student life. Talking to The Mancunion, Charlie Cook, General Secretary of the union, said:
“The NUS is very important. There’s loads of stuff which students don’t see that the NUS do for unions, in terms of the research that it does, the training that it offers, and the collaborations, partnerships and networks which it creates and which are really crucial. And then there is its campaigning side as well, in one way by mobilising unions to bring them together but in another way what that stands for, what it represents—that is the values of students, as it acts as our collective voice.”
After taking office on the 1st of December, elected delegates will go on to take part in nationwide conferences between February and May 2015. They will be setting the NUS policy in each of their areas, electing the NUS National Committee and Board of Trustees, and electing the national offices for fourteen full-time paid positions, which include the National President of the NUS.
All students in the university are eligible to vote for the National Conference delegates. Voting for LGBT, Women’s, Black, and Disabled conferences is open to every student that self-defines as belonging to the social group for which he or she is voting. Students may only vote for the Postgraduate, Mature & Part Time, and International conferences if their university registration shows that they belong to one of the categories.
Polls are open until next Friday, November 28th, at 12pm. Students can vote by accessing a link on the front page of the MyManchester portal.