James Harrison, a second-year student who was successful in his bid for the position of General Representative, claimed that the low turn-out will have a negative impact on student representation.
He said: “I think the SRC elections must be far better publicised. The vast majority of students had no idea there was an election today. It’s an issue which needs to be sorted out because these elections are really important. They decide how the university is run.”
Mr. Harrison claimed that although he did not have any immediate policy plans, he was the right man for the job.
He said, “I plan to do my best - I’m not afraid of having my voice heard.”
The timing of the election was also questioned by Tuula Eriksson, who was elected as an undergraduate General Representative, said: “We had the election on a Monday which didn’t help at all. Holding the election on a Monday is just weird.”
The wisdom of holding elections on the first day of the week was perceived as a major contributing factor to the low turn-out by a number of other candidates.
Some candidates claimed that there was one factor which could have adversely affected turn-out and which nobody could be held responsible for: the bitter Scottish climate on the day of the poll.
Mr. Harrison said, “It was certainly very cold, as I found out after being outside for thirteen hours.”
SRC President Gavin Lee responded to the criticism, and was keen to point out that compared to past elections, the number of votes cast was relatively high:
“While the turnout was less than last year, it still tops every year since 1995. As always, though, we will be looking to improve on our plans and approach in the coming months to provide the best representation possible for students.”
The next SRC elections will be held in March, when the major council positions for the next academic year will be contested.