Spoiling The Ballot – CUSU Elections Blog Week 5

Click here to read the next Blog entry 13 February 2010

I turn my attention this week to the battle for the more specialist roles: Access, Student Support and Women’s.It is no secret that Andy McGowan intends to stand for Access Officer and with his past record; he should have no trouble getting elected this year. Many former JCR Access Officers are not running because they know they are unlikely to get elected and believe that McGowan would do a better job.

Of the outgoing JCR Presidents, none has a reputation for access work like Joe Farish had to beat Andy McGowan last year. Although the election is likely to be a boring uncontested race, in McGowan, CUSU will get a passionate Access Officer with a proven record of success.

Until yesterday morning, Rob Mindell, Jewish Society President and CUSU Students with Disabilities Officer, had planned to stand for the position of Welfare and Graduates Officer. In the first of the referenda run this week, CUSU lost a sabbatical officer for the first time in its history. The position of Welfare Officer no longer exists and, as a 2nd year, Mindell is unable to stand for Student Support Officer, a primarily graduate role.

Another possible contender, Amiya Bhatia, the incumbent, expressed an interest in running again, but would have been barred from running by Chigbo’s original proposal for the role to be grad-only. Chigbo’s plan was rejected by CUSU Council, which opened the election up to 3rd and 4th year undergrads as well, thereby allowing her to stand. With Mindell out the running, Bhatia may rethink her plans and decide to stay another year.

The post of Women’s Officer has been held for the last two years by Natalie Szarek. Two weeks ago, Tom Chigbo announced proudly on Facebook that he had found a loophole in the 1994 Education Act allowing Szarek to stand again for a third term. Quite how he intended to get round the clause that states “a person should not hold sabbatical union office… for more than two years in total at the establishment” and the section in the CUSU constitution that reads “no person may serve as a Sabbatical of the CUSU more than two terms” is anybody’s guess and he soon backed down.

Szarek will not be able to stand again this year and as yet there is still no obvious candidate to replace her.

Grayden Webb

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