The students of the London School of Economics Students’ Union (LSE SU) have failed to elect a General Secretary role in their 2016 elections. A majority of students voted for to re-open nominations (RON).
The LSE SU will now have to open a new election, the date of which will be announced in the morning.
This is the first time that RON has been elected in a British Students’ Union election.
In the first round of voting, Mohammed Rayhan Uddin received 992 votes and Harry Robert Stuart Maxwell received 768 votes. Both failed to reach the 1399 quota needed to win the role. Of the total 2798 ballots were received, RON received 1038 votes.
In the second round of voting, Maxwell was eliminated and the number of RON votes reached 1333, which defeated Uddins’ 1208.
An anonymous source from LSE told The Mancunion: “Unfortunately, despite starting positively, the campaign for General Secretary descended into mudslinging allegations of bullying and antisemitism. I think, unfortunately, as that was the direction the campaigns took, RON was the best result.”
Earlier in the day, an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) motion was circulating at the LSE SU, which called for the re-opening of nominations even if Uddin or Maxwell won the contest. At LSE SU, an EGM needs 250 signatures, and then the student body is required to vote on it. Sources told The Mancunion that the EGM looked as if it would succeed, but was ultimately unnecessary, as RON won the election regardless.
However, another anonymous source said: “I think that because they would have asked all the supporters of whoever lost to sign in [what was already] a very close contest, the EGM would have undermined the democratic process.”
At the event where the election results were revealed, students were heard chanting: “RON! RON! RON!” A Facebook page for RON was also created, Ron Lse Gen Sec posted “Mischief Managed” as the results were announced and one LSE student posted: “Ron Weasly wins LSE Student Union General Secretary Election, first time at any UK university.
“Well deserved! Clean campaign, full integrity, no scandals. I wish this candidate was electable in all kinds of elections.” Students also updated LSE SU’s Wikipedia page, adding Ron as the Union’s General Secretary
A Masters student, studying a MSc in the Social Psychology Department told The Mancunion: “The only thing that came across my news feed before the election was how every candidate was flawed. So there was bullying, threatening of legal action, so everything that was said about it was super negative. And that was the only advertising that I received. It was really poorly advertised and just badly publicised.
“Plus, the union hasn’t really impressed a lot of the student body because they keep cancelling a bunch of talks that are really interesting and it just seems like they’re babying the student body because they’re like: ‘no you can’t listen to this talk, it’s too abrasive’ when really students are capable of making their own decisions and being critical.
“So, not a great attitude towards the Students’ Union; really bad publicity that the elections were taking place; and all the things that came across about the election were about how bad the candidates were.”
They added: “The union is garbage, the candidates were garbage, and I didn’t even know there was an election the day before.”
The Mancunion will continue to update the story as it unfolds.