a wide-angle picture of the Student Representative Council's building
Credit: The Glasgow Guardian

SRC Spring elections turn heated, despite only 5 of 41 positions being competitive

By Aaron Purba, Jan Jasinski

40% of Student Council set to be vacant, while two of four ‘sabbs’ to be elected unopposed

Polls in the Students’ Representative Council Spring elections have opened this Wednesday morning, following a short campaign. Among the 41 positions up for grabs, however, only 5 have more than one candidate running, raising concerns about the continuing democratic deficit at the SRC. Only three of the 27 non-sabbatical races will be competitive, and 16 positions are set to remain vacant. Three of the four college convenor positions will be vacant as well.

These vacant positions could be filled at the Autumn elections, though this year’s Autumn elections had similarly low engagement. At last year’s Spring elections, only about 3% of the student population turned out to vote, though all three Presidential candidates told The Glasgow Guardian that they hope the more contentious nature of the election this year will lead to higher turnout—the President was elected unopposed last year.

The race for the Presidential position has turned heated, as House of Dragons Atter, one of the candidates, accused feminist societies on campus of forgetting “what intersectional feminism is” in online messages. Members of some societies questioned Atter over these statements at the hustings this Monday. Atter has also played a role in the occupation of 11 University Gardens earlier this month, as a part of GAAF, something they mentioned in their hustings appearance as an example of their activism.

The Glasgow Guardian has also seen an internal email sent out on Monday afternoon by the returning officer in charge of the election, adding a new ‘election misconduct’ section to the SRC Election Regulations, issued “in light of some recent complaints.”

Sabbatical positions in the SRC are among the most senior roles in the council. Students take a year out of their studies to take on the position, and are paid a salary of £23,700. The candidates who are running for each of the roles, for their respective positions, are as follows: SRC President (three candidates: Tony Anderson, House of Dragons and Pablo Morán Ruiz), SRC Vice President Education (three candidates: Heri Busquier Cerdan, Niamh Mary McLaughlin and Hugh Southall), SRC Vice President Student Activities (one candidate: Angelica Wilson) and SRC Vice President Student Support (one candidate: Iris Duane). 

The hustings for these positions took place in the evening of Monday 26th February in the McIntyre building. 

Vice President Student Support 

Iris Duane: After receiving a popular reception, Iris strongly answered many questions. She argued that the University is not taking enough care of students and that “if they want to see world changes, they have to let us see the world.” She also mentioned that she would push for a written deal through court to make sure students are given the care they need. She also talked about how the University “marks their own work” which she disagreed with, and said she will work with fellow student bodies across campus to change this. 

Vice President Student Activities  

Angelica Wilson: Angelica pledged what she will do to support students whilst working alongside senior figures in the University. She has been part of the SRC for two years, first as a welcome helper in her first year and then a team leader in welcome helping this year. She also spoke about students who are not involved in SRC, saying that she wants to make everyone’s student experience “as positive as possible” She also expressed interest in the SRC’s volunteering service.

Vice President Education 

Heri Busquier Cerdan: Heri’s manifesto details ensuring the university “upholds its current pledges,” as well as “advocate for an increase in funding for scholarships.” He reiterated these points at the hustings, adding that he strives to “strengthen the SRC’s presence in other UofG campuses such as Dumfries, Chengdu, and Hainan to ensure their views and needs are accurately represented in the University community.” He also spoke out against the university’s investment in arms and animal testing.

Niamh Mary McLaughlin: Niamh aims to “work to improve the equity of service regarding academic support across the university.” She also highlighted that some joint honours students find themselves with “various options available in one subject whilst being left unsure where to turn to in the other,” and this is something she wants to address. She spoke very convincingly and clearly throughout the debate, with her mannerism being calm even after being put under pressure from a question about AI from a member of the audience. She mentioned how: “We need to use AI in such a way that integrity is not broken,” before continuing onto saying how there need to be conversations taking place that are “open” and “transparent”. 

Hugh Southall: Hugh’s manifesto outlines supporting students with jobs, which he mentioned in Monday evening’s debate. He expanded on this point whilst linking it to the cost of living, saying how it “affects working class students, a group the University is increasing recruitment from.” He mentioned how students “need support throughout their studies, not just at the start.” Hugh sat in the middle of the three candidates, and he too defended himself effectively. He mentioned that the University should release guides on AI, and that these have to be “very clear” to avoid risks. 


House of Dragons: “Together, let’s make UofG slay,” were the words of House of Dragons Atter as they pledged to continue their campaign towards the presidential role. Dragons called out the University, claiming it has “blood on their hands and that needs to change,” as well as pledging to write petitions, campaign and hold the university accountable. They also mentioned free meals on campus for students in reference to the cost-of-living crisis. Their manifesto also outlines that “UofG Students have been repetitively sacrificed by senior management in exchange for higher profits and this has to change now.” They would also like to introduce disability-friendly housing on campus. 

Pablo Morán Ruiz: Pablo aims to amplify student voices and prioritise their needs. Having had experience in managerial positions, he believes that he can contribute to a “strong and collective force” and that he is “faithful” in the team he seeks to join. He spoke about how he has a “great understanding” of the University’s internal bodies which will allow him to make progress, something that previous presidents have been criticised for in the past. Pablo also says that he will “urge” the university to take an intersectional approach against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Tony Anderson: Tony spoke about how he has had the opportunity to interact with many teams across the University, as well as have constructive discussions thanks to his current role as SRC Vice-President Student Support. Should he be elected as SRC President, he pledges to address the cost-of-living crisis as well as oppose the University’s investment in arms. During the debate, Tony claimed to “understand the needs of students” as well as promising to be “transparent” about decisions made. He also mentioned the University’s lack of progress and the slow pace of which they work, which he feels is a key problem. He aims to make sure the university’s procedures are “watertight.”

A recording of the Sabbatical Hustings can be viewed here. Further information about the SRC elections, including all candidates’ manifestos, can be accessed here.

An SRC spokesperson said: “This election season is set to be a busy one with a great deal of debate taking place on issues that matter most to students. We encourage all students to use their vote today and tomorrow by going to gla.ac.uk/vote or using the UofG Life App.”


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