Category Archives: Elections

Candidates Hedge Betting Works Out

Michael Chessum, Aaron Keily and Mark Bergfeld, unsuccessful candidates for officer roles have all been elected on to the Block of 15. The left-wing threesome all ran for officer roles as well as Block of 15 positions as a back-up as National Conference has not elected an openly far-left officer for a while for one of the main officer roles. Mark Bergfeld got through in the first round of votes, with many delegates at conference being very vocal about the need for Mark’s politcs and experience in activism somewhere in NUS if not in the presidential role. Michael Chessum and Aaron Keily’s wins were not quite as secure, winning only in the final round.

All three “Trots” fell victim to the post-conference fake twitter drollery, under the names of @MichlolChessum @Aaron_Keilol and the original @MarkBanterfeld.


Russell Group unions take over

As predicted by the delegate during NUS National Conference 2011, the Russell Group have once again secured half of the top officer roles, with Danielle Grufferty (Liverpool Guild of Students and Cambridge University Students’ Union) and Peter Mercer (Newcastle University Students’ Union) elected VP Society and Citizenship and VP Welfare respectively and half of the eligible positions on the block of 15 being taking by Russell Group delegates.

The successful block of 15 members in question are: Joe Oliver (Sheffield Students’ Union), Rachel Wenstone (Leeds University Union), Daniel Stevens (Warwick Students’ Union), Stevie Wise (Edinburgh University Students’ Association) and Michael Chessum (University College London Union). Some Russell Group candidates were not as successful however, with Charlotte Gerada of (LSESU) and Mo Saqib (University of Manchester Students’ Union) missing out on Block positions and Sam Johnson of (LGOS) missing out on a trustee position.

The Russell Group represent the top 20 research universities in the UK and are often berated for being elitest.

NUS Block of 15 FE places results announced

(copied from NUS live blog)

Got some FE Block results. In alphabetical order….Initial quota 99.

* Ruby Hirsch (Round 1 – 146 votes)
* Taylor Kane (Round 5 – 97.4 votes [quota reduced due to votes not transferring] )
* Surya Prakash Bhatta (Round 1 – 104 votes)
* Mary Prescott (Round 1 – 127)
* Joshua Rowlands (Round 4 -101.45)

DPC and Trustee Board election results in

(copied from NUS live blog)

The following have been elected as Trustees:

* Jess Green (Round 15 – 125 votes)
* Ilana Fenster (Round 11 – 133 votes)
* Varinder Singh (Round 15 – 125 votes)

DPC went to 13 rounds and five people have been elected. Initial quota 95.3 (that’s how many votes you need to get).

* Steven Findlay (Round 1 – 247 votes)
* Marcus Crawley (Round 9 – 98.42 votes)
* Thea Graham (Round 10 – 97.74 votes)
* Fatima Junaid (Round 11 – 94.73 votes [quote reduced by this stage due to votes not transferring] )
* Dan Swain (Round 14 – 117.37 votes)

NUS Block of 15 results in

(copied from NUS Live Blog)

people voted and there were 650 valid ballots. The initial quota was 59.1 (but this reduced in later rounds)

* Mark Bergfeld (round 1)
* Joe Oliver (round 1 )
* Lauren Crowley (round 10 )
* Rachel Wenstone (round 13)
* Daniel Stevens (round 14)
* Stevie Wise (round 14)
* Aaron Kiely (round 16)
* Michael Chessum (round 16)
* Nes Cazimoglu (round 16)
* Matt East (round 16)

Matt Robinson, Chief Returning Officer said “It was a a long count, but only because so many people used all their preferences. This is clearly a sign that people want to give the block a clear mandate and I wish them all the best”.

On to Block of 15 candidates

We now move to Block of 15 candidates and their speeches. Block of 15 are essentially regional representives that sit on NUS NEC.

Mark Bergfeld is speaking first. “There is a dividing line in this country,” he says, between the bankes the conservative and the students. He says that the government is attacking the most “vulnerable” in society. “We will not be paying for the crisis that we did not create in the first place,” he says.

Nes Cazimoglu says she is standing for thos students that have been allowed to “drift” away from NUS. She wants every student to feel part of the movement. “Last conference a new movement was born,” she says. “I’ll force NUS to engage our member,” she adds, going on to say that full-time officer should not be the “gatekeepers” of NUS.

Michael Chessum is next to speak. He says that our welfare state is being “torn to shreds” and that we have to be ready to fight and “fight to win.” He says that unless we do so then we risk “losing what our forefathers faught for.” Chessum claims that he has devlieved in practice, as well as in rhetoric. “With or wirthout NUS, we will go back to our campuses and bring this Government down.”

Chris Clark says he comes as an advocate for diversity. He will fight for small and specialist students’ unions, as well as arts students. He also wants to fight for a fairer situation within graduate employment. “Let me represent you,” he says.

Mo Saqib says that NUS is divided but asserts that we are united on many things. “We all have to care about the college student that doesn’t go to university because she doesn’t want to take on the debt,” he says. He says that he will ensure campaigns are able to be run on every campus. He also pledges to represent FE students.

Daniel Cooper, president-elect at RHUL, is a member of workers liberty and NCAFC. “Free education means make the rich and big business pay for services,” he says. He criticises the pay gap between workers and chief executives. He says he is withdrawing from the election to focus on his students’ union, giving support to Chessum and Bergfeld.

Lauren Crowley says she is standing to put access at the heart of NUS. She recounts her own experience of being a carer and collecting EMA. “I had no support or guidence during this time,” she says, adding that she still regrets her university choices. “I know that my story is the story of thousends of others.”

Matt East is the PResident of Anglia Ruskin. He wants to talk about something other than education, cuts and demos. He wants NUS to work locally to build activists. “I will fight every attempt to challenge union legitimacy,” he says. “NUS need to be better at supporting students’ unions to share best practice.”

Lee Gavin says he is the true small and specialist candidate, adding that these institutions are hit the hardest by cuts and that they’re not receiving enough support. “These students and unions are the least engaged with the national union,” he says. He wants to take their issues to the table, “fight and be their voice.”

Charlotte Gerada wants to put “ethics and campaigns” at the centre of NUS. “Now more than ever, the student movement needs to principled,” she says. “SU’s need to practice what they preach,” she adds, citing her fight against LSE’s links with Gaddafi as an example. “Block is about being a voice for students,” she says, adding that it is not about, “internal, factional scraps.”

Ruby Hirsch syas that when it comes to talk of occupations and demos the mood has not been a resolute within NUS as the opinion to oppose cuts more widely. She says that she will be a voice for protest.

Taylor Kane says that many candidates promise many things. She claims to be, “your FE delegate.” She says she has experienced manipulation by colleges against students and that she has had to struggle for support to fight. She wants this support to be more widespread. “I want to fight with and for you,” she says. “I do not back down and I refuse to back down.”

Aaron Kiely says that he is proud to have been on the front line of the protests against fees and cuts. “There is always an alternative,” he says, argueing that we should scrap trident to pay for education. “David Cameron, you will not divide us,” he says. Kiely goes on to give opposition to fascism, racism and sexism and says they are key issues that should be fought against.

Joshua McKenzie says he has been there for students when his college denied their autonomy. He claims to have mobilsed students in HE and FE against the cuts. He is standing for re-election and pledges to fight against cuts and the EDL. He goes to support part-time students. “In your unions, on your campuses, I’ll be there.”

Joe Oliver: “what a year it has been and not in a good way I’m afriad.” He criticises David Cameron for not designing a website that he pledged to do for NUS. He mixes comedy with policy. “I will fight town by town, street by street and cliche by cliche.”

It is only those that have led walkouts that are serious about opposing education reforms, is the message of the next speaker, Ian Pattison. He opposed a BNP society being set up on his campus and passed no platform policy through the union to do so. “We need a national student strike and complete education shut down,” he says.

Surya Prakash Bhatta says rthat if the Government reforms are implemented in full then this will damage education. He says NUS helped him to avoid deportation and fight against his college. “What the coalition government is doing is absolutley disgusting,” he says.

Mary Prescott says she is appalled that NUS’s membership has a majority of FE students but that this is not reflected on conference floor and in the governing structures. “It’s about time we listened to FE students,” she says, adding that she wants to change NUS “culture.”

Liam Preston is a student parent studying a post-graduate degree and “struggling” to do both. He says he was “devestated” that a motion on nurses wasn’t discussed. “We have a chance to improve the lives of students that for some reason often go missed,” he says, adding that NUS continually lets students down.

Zahid Raja says that his time in Swansea SU was spent ensuring the “most vulnerable” had a voice. “I will be the NEC member on your campus, engaging with students,” he says, adding that for every activist NUS reaches there are a thousend more that need to be reached as well. “I’m a truly independent candidate with a record for action,” he says.

Sophie Richardson is standing to “make representation relevant.” She cites widening participation and community organisation as key areas to focus on, as well as greater representation for post-graduates. “How can we preach about widening participation if we don’t do it in NUS,” she says.

Joshua Rowleds poses the question of “Who are we?” to conference. He discusses the divisions between HE and FE, saying that FE should have greater representation within NUS. He moves on to oppose the cuts saying that things will get worde unless “we do something now.”

Rahul Sahni says he is here for every delegate. “For the past year as an activist,” he says that he has spent to past year opposing the BNP. He reminds Cameron to “think twice” before speaking about multiculturalism.

Daniel Stevens is the first international student of Warwick SU. He says international students are seen as “something exotic”, using a creative metephor based around a banana. “How many times have you heard international students mentioned?” he asks, saying that international students deserve a bigger voice.

Rachel Wenstone is up next. “The student movement is too big and too important for any one faction to dominate,” she says. She opposes the “elitist model” of the Government. She says there is an “inherant value” to education. She says she continuelly confronted her VC for “failing students” in his role as chair of the russell group. She says that the “hopelessness” of cuts feeds extemeism and goes on to speak out against the BNP.

Lori Wheatman is “dying for a wee so I’m going to be quick.” She says that she wants to work for “your wants and your needs”, saying that she has already done this on her zone committee. She says she believes in a National Union of Students and that students should be put before factional politics. “Let’s unite together,” she says.

Stevie Wise says that being an NEC member is nothing to do with generalisation and everything to do with specialism. She will focus on widening participation. She says there is an opportunity to re-shape admissions and wants to see an OFFA that is not “toothless.”

Democratic Proceedures Committee (DPC) candidates speeches

Annabel Jones says she will help less experienced delegates to understand conference. She also calls on delegates to second preference Dan Swain.

Chris Jones paid for himself to attend conference because his students’ union doesn’t actively participate and he says that he has been “galvanised” into studen politics by attending. He also thinks delegates should receive trianing before attending conference.

Henry Heming will work to introduce a better counting system at conference and for delegates to be better informed about the motions before conference begins.

Olalekan S. Oshonkoya says democracy is one of the “basic things” of a students union. If a union cannot “work” then it cannot “win”, he says.

Dan Swain says he doesn’t often get a chance to say what he thinks at conference and he is going to do so now. “We need activists at every level of our union,” he says.

Nicola Hibell says that a “strong and efficient team is essential to ensure that conference runs smoothly.”

Steven Findlay is already DPC Chair. He goes on to rap his speech to the theme of Hammertime.

Thea Graham says that point of DPC is to ensure organisation on conference floor but that this is lacking an FE perspective.

Marcus Crawley sings “NUS DPC, find out what it means to me” to the theme of R.E.S.P.E.C.T and then simply says, “everything.” As a gay welsh man he says he is, “the only candidate in the village.”

Elliot Jebreel says DPC has done a lot of great work this but that accessibility must be given greater consideration.

Rob Sassoon says his aim is, “to truly serve you all.” He wants to make things clearer and more efficient.

Cassie Agbehenu says the democratic structure of NUS should reflect the needs of an all-political and fair union.

Duncan Smith says that Conference is the “heart” of the national student movement and that it is important that motions are clear and proceedures are understood, as well as conference being “fully accessible.”

Fatima Junaid says she wants to reform voting and chairing. She says we need to consider electronic voting to avoid time-wasting and also questions whether it’s appropriate for politically affiliated officer to hold the Chair at conference.