Who can run for an Elected Officer position?
Any current registered University of Plymouth student can run in the elections, if you are on a UoP course and have not suspended or interrupted your studies at the time of the election you can go for it! Some of the Part time positions require that students self-define as belonging to the group they would be representing, this can be updated under the 'my profile' section of the nomination module. Current Sabbatical Officers can re-run if they have only done one year, they are restricted to two years then must leave.
Does it matter if I am a first year or a final year student?
Not at all, anyone at any stage is welcome to run for the Part time roles. The Sabbatical Officer role is a full-time, paid role and it is not possible to do alongside studies. Students do run in the year they are graduating but many have taken a year out between stages of their course. If you plan on doing this we recommend speaking to your tutor or programme lead to ensure that there are no significant changes to your course planned in the future that might affect your ability to return.
I am an international student, can I still run?
The Part time roles are voluntary and unpaid, this should not have any impact on your conditions to study in the UK. Many international students on a tier 4 visa have been Sabbatical Officers, including the former President and current VP Wellbeing and Diversity. The SU and International Students Advice service firstname.lastname@example.org
can support you with this process should you be elected.
Where is the role based?
Part time roles are epected to attend both digital and in person meetings on Plymouth campus. Depending on the students the Part time role represents, there may be opportunity to visit other campuses. Sabbatical Officers are based in the Students’ Union building on the main Plymouth campus. Officers will be required to attend meetings on campus and generally make themselves available to students, both in person and digitally.
When does the role start?
Part time roles are elected for the following academic year, starting on the 1st July with official duties commencing in September. Sabbatical Officers elect start on the 15th June and their contract runs until the 1st July the following year. This allows for a two-week handover period between the outgoing and incoming teams. Please speak to the Student Voice Team email@example.com
if your course continues after the 15th June.
What experience do I need?
All you need is enthusiasm and a motivation to represent students. Full training and support will be given.
Is the role 9-5?
Most university meetings are within the typical core office hours of 9-5 but Officers are expected to be flexible around student meetings which may continue into the evening. For example, the Union Council and Sports Forums are usually 6-8pm on a weekday evening. However, these dates are set in advance so you would have notice of them.
Can I tell people I have nominated myself?
It is up to you if you tell people but the list of candidates and the number of nominations will remain confidential until nominations have closed.
Can you run for multiple roles?
You can only run for one position, if you are undecided we suggest you speak to staff and Sabbatical Officers that work with the role to find out more.
Who Can Vote In Union Elections?
Any student studying a University of Plymouth course, regardless of year, fee status, or mode of study, is a member of the students’ union and has a vote in the elections. Therefore you, as a student, are a voter!
What Am I Voting For?
Elections run every year for you to decide who represents you and your needs as a student at various levels within the university, locally, and nationally. Student Elections decide which of your fellow students will take up these positions for one year; these Part-time Officers will act on behalf of you.
So Why Should I Vote?
Only the student body of the university can decide who is trusted with each position. The winners of the election will represent you and lobby for change on your behalf; by voting, you hold the most power in deciding who works with the union and university to make changes which affect your academic, extracurricular, and community lie in Plymouth.
If you are unhappy with the elections process, you can also spoil your ballot at the point of voting or vote to Re-Open Nominations. Both options are more powerful than choosing to not vote.
How Do I Know Who To Vote For?
Vote for the candidate who you feel would best listen to you and represent your interests to the union and the university. Try to avoid voting for someone just because they are your friend; your vote is strictly your decision, and you do not have to reveal who you voted for.
Candidates will begin campaigning at the start of the voting week; you can keep an eye out for posters, on social media, and on the union’s website for their manifestos. Their manifestos explain who they are, why they are appropriate for the role, and what changes they will seek to make if they are elected.
Be as critical as possible when reading a manifesto; are the candidate’s pledges achievable within a year? Will you be able to tell if they are making any progress, or are they making generic, open-ended statements?
What If I Don’t Like Any Of The Candidates?
You can vote for RON - Re-Open Nominations. If RON is the most popular “candidate” for a position, nobody is elected into that role and the union will open nominations again.
So Do I Only Get One Vote?
You have one vote per position up for election; click here to see which positions are open for election. However, the union uses the Alternative Vote (AV) system. Unlike “traditional” voting, AV offers wider choice and means you can maximise the outcome of your vote. To give an example of how AV works, imagine your mate is nipping to Greggs for lunch, and offers to bring you back something. You reply that a steak bake would be ideal, but if they’re sold out, a sausage roll. If those are sold out too, you’ll have anything. What you’ve told your mate is that a steak bake is your first choice, or your first preference. Failing that, your second choice/preference is a sausage roll, and after that you haven’t got a preference. AV works in a very similar way:
- When voting opens, you will have the option to pick your first choice candidate (your steak bake) for each position. This is usually the first, and only, voting stage in “traditional” voting
- After picking your first choice candidates, you can also choose to allocate your second choice to another candidate (your sausage roll). This would be the person you would like to see in the role, should your first choice be unsuccessful
- You can choose to continue allocating preferences to as many or as few candidates as you like, including a choice to “RON”. Not allocating additional preferences does not automatically make your first choice less likely to win; it simply ensures that you still have a say in who represents you should your first choice receive the fewest votes
- When voting closes, first choice allocations are totalled. If a candidate does not already hold over 50% of the total number of first choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated. This is where your voice can still count!
- The eliminated candidate’s votes are then transferred to the second round of counting. If your first choice is eliminated by this stage, your vote is then transferred to your second choice
- The process continues, until a winner for that position is confirmed
What Are My Rights As A Voter?
Some areas of campus are popular campaigning zones, such the SU and outside the library. However, certain areas of campus, including the Library and open access study spaces are strictly off-limits for candidates to campaign in. You have the right to not be disturbed by campaigners in these areas.
You have the right to be treated with respect by candidates, even if you are not voting for them.
You have the right to vote freely and without coercion. Candidates are not allowed to influence you at the point of casting your vote, nor are they allowed to ask who you voted for.
Candidates will be briefed on regulations prior to campaigning.
Can I Report Candidate Misconduct?
Sounds Great - How Do I Vote?