What are Elections?
During a General Election, you have the chance to vote for an MP to represent you in Government. On a smaller and more personal scale, you get to vote every year in the UCASU Election for two Presidents to represent you in the next academic year.
Any UCA student can nominate themselves in the Election which takes place during February or March. They run with a manifesto that explains their values and what they’d like to achieve if elected, then campaign for students’ votes. The more people who vote, the more relevant and effective your Presidents will be, because the candidates whose manifestos appeal to the most people will succeed.
The candidates who are successfully elected then work with UCASU for the next academic year.
We also have a by-election during October of each academic year where we elect part-time student representatives including Campus Executive Officers and School Officers.
What’s the point of Elections?
UCASU exists to provide opportunities, support, representation, and fun for you while you study at UCA. By voting and running for representatives, we can ensure that your voice and interests are always at the core of what we do.
Who can I vote for?
In the February/March main elections, you can vote for the roles of President Kent, President Surrey, and Student Governor.
The two Presidents (Kent and Surrey) are full-time paid roles working in the office with UCASU staff. Their term is one full year June – June. Any student can run to be a President, either by taking a year out from their studies or running for election in their final year and beginning the role when they graduate.
The Presidents work on projects based on the manifesto they were elected on. Projects can be almost anything, as long as it’s meaningful to students. Project areas in recent years have included mental health support, creative collaboration opportunities, researching hate crime and harassment, increasing social events on campus, and much more.
- Campaign on urgent issues in the community and on campus
- Sit on UCASU’s Board of Trustees and make sure we function appropriately as a charity
- Work with Campus Executive Officers and School Officers to make change for students
- Attend relevant committees within the University and provide student perspective and influence
President Kent represents Rochester and Canterbury campuses while President Surrey represents Farnham and Epsom campuses.
Student Governor is a voluntary role on the Board of Governors. One President and one Student Governor attend the four Board of Governors meetings per year and offer student perspective on major proposals and discussions. The Board makes significant decisions that affect the University and all students, so Student Governor is an important role for ensuring students’ voices are heard.
In the October by-election, we elect School Officers, Campus Executive Officers, and NUS delegates.
The Officers make up the Executive Committee, along with Presidents. This committee meets five times per year to discuss and vote on policy. You can find all of the policies they’ve passed HERE. The Officers chat with and get feedback from students by attending Communities activities and can support Presidents with campaigns and projects.
Much like the Presidents, they create a manifesto of things they would like to work on during their term (October – June) and students vote based on these.
How do I vote?
We run our elections using paper ballot. This means you go to a voting table on your campus, fill out a ballot paper for each of the roles you are voting for, and place it in a ballot box. It is then counted by hand as soon as voting closes.
Royal School of Needlework students are provided an alternative online voting system, as there is no Students’ Union based there. If you are not an RSN student but have a specific access need that means you cannot complete a paper ballot, please contact the Head of Membership Engagement on firstname.lastname@example.org with your reasoning and you may be permitted special use of the online voting system.
How are the votes counted?
We use the ‘Single Transferable Vote’ (STV) method for counting your votes. We believe this method gives your voice maximum impact. It is called ‘Single Transferable Vote’ because although your vote can only be counted a single time, it can transfer to your next preference if your first preference is eliminated from the race. This way your choice is still being counted, even if your top pick doesn’t win.
Here is a video from the Electoral Commission that explains how STV is used in Scottish Council elections:
Can I take part in a UCASU Election?
If you’re a current UCASU student, you are eligible to run in an election. To be a President, you have to be eligible to be a Trustee. The criteria for becoming a Trustee can be found HERE.
What experience do I need to have?
You don’t need any particular experience for any role: President, Campus Executive Officer, School Officer, Student Governor, or NUS delegate. If you’ve volunteered or worked within your community or the Union, this may help to show students your passion, but all you really need is enthusiasm and a manifesto that is relevant and exciting to UCA students.
How do I run in an election?
Nominations typically open for 1-2 weeks, all you have to do is fill in a form on our website and submit a manifesto (ideally an image in the style of a poster that explains what you’d do if elected). You can get in touch with the Head of Membership Engagement (email@example.com) if you have any questions or would like help with your submission. During the main Election, there are also candidate drop-in sessions on each campus for people considering running in the Election. These would be advertised in the weeks leading up to the Election, on Facebook and ucasu.com.
OCTOBER BY-ELECTIONS 2019
Every October you get to vote (or even run!) for your representatives in the Union and nationally. There’ll be a voting table on your campus (typically in or near the canteen) where you can vote by paper ballot. The nominations for the by-election will open on Monday 21 October at 10am and close Monday 28 October at 3pm. Current UCA students can nominate themselves for the positions of President Kent, Campus Executive Officer, School Officer, or NUS delegate at ucasu.com/elections. All you have to do is fill out some simple information about yourself and submit a manifesto. Voting will open on Wednesday 30 October at 10am and close on Thursday 31 October at 3pm, with results announced later that evening.
As a President, you get the support and funding to work full-time on projects you’re passionate about, and help students in the process. This is a full-time, paid position working in the Students’ Union. This person, along with our President Surrey, is the voice of students within UCASU, as well as on committees and meetings in the University and the wider community. You can nominate yourself for this role by completing a form and submitting a manifesto, which is basically a campaign poster that lists all the things you’d like to do or achieve if elected. This could be anything from organising events to campaigning on community issues to researching and creating useful resources for UCA students.
The salary is £18,006 and UCASU is a friendly and flexible place to work. This role is only open to Canterbury and Rochester students.
Campus Executive Officers
This role is part-time and has a lot of power within the Union. There are three Campus Executive Officers for each campus; one HE, one FE, and one Open Place. They sit on the Executive Committee along with the Presidents and School Officers, where they can suggest and vote on new policies that affect how the Union runs. The Union is led by students’ needs and experiences, and Campus Executive Officers get to have the most concentrated impact on that direction.
The academic equivalent of Campus Executive Officers, we elect one officer per school (there are seven in total) to sit on the Executive Committee, and contribute their perspectives based on feedback from students within their school. They ensure that education is a strong focus within our decision-making processes, as well as wellbeing, social, and other campus issues that are covered by Campus Executive Officers.
This is a one-off but exciting role that involves travel within the UK! National Union of Students (NUS) organises an annual conference and invites Students’ Unions from all over the UK to come and discuss national issues affecting students. It’s like our Executive Committee, but on a huge national scale. We are entitled to two delegates to represent UCA, and any student can run for these positions. One of the two has to be a woman, according to NUS’ rules. The two elected are sent off to the three-day conference in another city (last year it was Glasgow!) and get to vote on motions that will direct the priority campaigns for NUS’ Presidents in the next academic year. NUS is also very friendly to students with disabilities and/or access needs, so you can get a place for an ‘enabler’ (a friend or relative, who doesn’t have to be a student) to attend with you if you need.
To see results from our previous elections, visit our Previous Elections page HERE.