SRC lacks representation

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George Binning

The upcoming elections for the Student’s Representative Council (SRC) look like a foregone conclusion with the overwhelming majority of open positions, including the presidency, being left either unopposed or completely vacant.

Of the 21 positions available only five will be contested, while six positions may be won by default. The remaining ten positions will be left open for a by-election on May 6.

There has also been no application for the position of Vice-President (Media & Communications), one of the four most senior positions on the council, all of which command a salary of £15,216 per annum.

Laura Laws, who is currently Vice-President of Learning & Development this year, will be President next year by default unless the majority of students vote to re-open nominations instead.

Laws was careful not to claim her victory prematurely saying: “Although I am running unopposed in next week’s election, I’m not taking anything for granted.
“I really want students to look at what I am proposing, come and speak to me on election days and to vote for me if they think I am the right candidate for presidency.

“If I do get elected, I’d obviously be absolutely delighted to be SRC President 09/10.”

The only positions that will be contested are those of the Vice-President (Learning & Development), Vice-President (Student Support), LBSS Faculty and Faculty of Medicine convenors and Minority Ethnic Officer.

Nominations for the other 16 posts will either be re-opened or will be subject to a ‘Re-open Nominations’ vote, in expectation of the May by-election.

Nominations will open for the by-election on March 23. Information will be available and distributed by the SRC in the coming weeks.

Gavin Lee, the current SRC president, was disappointed by the lack of student participation in the nominating process stating that the SRC were examining the reasons for this.

He said: “At the moment we’re looking into different theories about why fewer people ran in this election than we were expecting, and hoped for. It’s certainly a strange happening considering the record-breaking number of candidates who stood in the Autumn Election.

“Representation through the SRC is a key method of ensuring that students get the best experience possible at the University, and as such its essential to have as many people engaged in Council as possible. It’s disappointing that, looking at the number of candidates, this has not happened as much as it could have.”
In last year’s Spring elections four positions on the SRC were won unopposed and two positions were left vacant. Even in this comparatively competitive election, voter turnout was just over 7%.

Laws admitted that the SRC would have to make an effort to engage with the student population.

She said: “Next year I think we need to work really hard to build upon the relationship we have with students.”

Her campaign has been built upon tackling the problems faced by students and graduates in the current recession.

She explained: “It is essential to get formal recognition for students involved in volunteering or leading clubs and societies and to continue to develop more opportunities for students to develop their skills in preparation for getting a graduate job.”

The elections will take place on March 4 and 5 with the results due to be announced soon afterwards.