Wednesday and Thursday March 7th-8th will see the SRC’s spring election, the larger of its two annual polls. It will select the majority of council. This includes the president and three vice presidents, who are full-time sabbatical officers and play the most important role in terms of working with the university.
Elections are taking place for 25 positions, four sabbatical officers, four college convenors, two postgraduate convenors, six welfare officers, and nine school representatives. Three of the five positions available to postgraduates are left unfilled as are the positions of age equality officer, international students officer and nine school representative positions.
A quick read of this year’s manifestos shows that transparency and accountability are the main theme in most positions. This is not surprising in the election following a year in which the organisation’s president, Stuart Ritchie, was forced from office following the release of email exchanges advocating RUK fees of 9k, unprofessional remarks about fellow sabbatical officers to university management and, after being forced to resign, taking £3,800 for the privilege.
Although a question remains, outside of the major scandals that occasionally buffet the organisation, does your average student care enough about their representatives to hold the SRC to account?
Another thing to remember as you talk to the candidates, read these interviews, or pick up flyers on polling day is the financial context. The coming years are likely to be very tight financially for SRC and the higher education sector. Budget increases are unlikely. So when a candidate talks of improving a service or cutting off a revenue stream, how are they going to pay for it?