All change at the top with new SU team

Although the winner of activities was not announced on the night every other position managed to avoid being steeped in controversy and were allocated as per usual.

The number of students voting was 1,921, which was a considerably higher turnout than in previous years and exceeded the SU’s aim of achieving 15% student turnout.


Ary Sharif has been elected SU president for 2011/12. Photo: Leila Fitt

The newly created part-time positions of non-portfolio officers went to two candidates; Kelly Nicholls and Gemma Cobby. The role of liberation officer went to Maryim Saghir who had no opposition, while Samuel Whewall will become the new RAG officer.

Jennine Fox unexpectedly won vice-president academic affairs after five stages of elimination under the single-transferrable-vote system, which potentially served to her benefit.

When asked about the elections being akin to a popularity contest, she said: “Hopefully they liked my manifesto in terms of representation…some people do say it’s a popularity contest, but ours went to the fifth round and was very close.”

Fox’s attitude towards lecturers striking may foreshadow the involvement she has with them during her tenure: “Lecturers and students should be building their own relationships, I can understand why the lecturers are on strike…but I don’t really agree with it.”

Her attitude towards cuts in university funding will also be important in the next year: “These cuts aren’t going to make a massive effect…what I plan to do is listen to what the students want.”

Kayleigh Taylor was re-elected as vice-president welfare with roughly a thousand votes. When asked about her lack of competition she said: “My worst fear was going up against RON [re-open nominations]”.

One of her main manifesto points is to improve representation for students who are parents, however, it appears she knows very little about the demographics of student parents, and hasn’t actually conducted any official surveys into what they want, relying instead on hearsay.

“We need to know how many we have…because we don’t…we’re not basing it on any concrete feedback, but we have heard that some student parents feel that lecturers aren’t available after hours for them,” she said.

Ary Sharif managed to trump the current vice-president academic affairs Dan Derricott to presidental position with a difference of 702 votes. He quipped that the week of campaigning was like “living in a bubble”.

Sharif has worked as a photographer in local night clubs and knows a large percentage of the student body, but commenting on the “popularity contest” claim said: “I have more experience than most candidates, I’ve been here over the past four years… If you think it’s a popularity contest, fair enough but I feel I know what needs working on.”

His manifesto states that he wants to focus on events, workshops, networking, and “not necessarily social events”. This could prove difficult as sports and societies are a huge part of the Students’ Union experience, and are often underfunded. Sharif, however, claims that he will not “shift focus”.

Another key manifesto point of Sharif’s is to improve the library; he voiced his disapproval of the cutting of the E-brary system, and said that more physical copies should be available too.

When the new officers take their roles in the summer, it looks as though it will be a very different year as the presidency of Chris Charnley comes to an end

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