On Friday 10 March the new Sabbatical Officer team was revealed in Venue, the Students’ Union. This team will succeed the current Sabbatical Officers in July and be responsible for leading Newcastle University Students’ Union (NUSU) during the 2017/18 academic year.
The elected officials for 2017/18 are as follows:
Ronnie Reid as President of the Students’ Union
Rowan South as Education Officer
Sarah Craggs as Welfare & Equality Officer
James Sproston as Editor of The Courier
Rebecca Bainbridge as Activities Officer
Clara Pettitt as Athletics Union Officer
22 candidates ran across the six positions this year, as opposed to the 23 candidates who ran last year.
Ronnie Reid led the Presidential race from the first round with 1345 votes in the initial stage, which put him 269 votes ahead of his closest competitor, Harry Young. During the three stages of redistribution, Harry Young gained some ground but could not catch Ronnie Reid. The final vote count stood at a victorious 1663 votes for Ronnie Reid.
Ronnie Reid was unable to attend the event as he was due to run a marathon in Barcelona. Speaking after the event, he said:
“I’m absolutely delighted to have been elected President of NUSU for the next academic year. I am extremely excited to undertake the role, and I would like to thank those who ran the elections, the other excellent candidates and of course all of those who put their faith in me.”
Although there were only two candidates running for Education Officer, competition remained high. Ultimately, Rowan South won the vote with 1323 votes against competitor Liam Day’s 1290 votes.
Commenting on his victory, Rowan South said:
“It’s taken a while to sink in but now that it has, I’m very excited for what lies ahead. Election week was one of the most stressful yet rewarding experiences of my life and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of my campaigns team. I’m really looking forward to getting started on the job and working with all the other fantastic candidates.”
There were three candidates running for the position of Welfare & Equality Officer, all of whom have been heavily involved with the Students’ Union throughout their time at University. Sarah Craggs took a substantial lead of 700 votes from the very first round however it was not until round three that she reached the quota to confirm her win. Sarah Craggs took the victory and the final result of the Welfare & Equality ballot stood at 1700 votes for Sarah Craggs, with Andrew Lister in second place with 1009 votes.
The position of Editor of The Courier had the most competitors for a position this year, with five hopeful candidates. The competition for this position was very close from the beginning with only 76 votes separating the top three candidates. The result was not achieved until the fifth round of voting in which current Sports Editor, James Sproston, was elected with 937 votes.
Speaking on the evening, James Sproston said:
“Thank-you to everybody for voting and a big thanks to my girlfriend. Just thank-you to everybody!”
The battle for Activities Officer was by far the most competitive of all the ballots this year. Charlie Mason led by 43 votes at stage one and led through the next two rounds. It was in the final distribution of votes, when candidate Amy Fok was eliminated, that Rebecca Bainbridge stole the victory from Charlie by 27 votes.
When asked how she felt, Rebecca Bainbridge said:
“I am over the moon and completely shocked by the result! The three other candidates lead strong campaigns and I’m extremely grateful for all of the support I have received from friends and voters.”
In the Athletic Union ballot, Clara Pettitt led from the beginning with Peter Mairs in second place. Although there were four candidates running for this position, the fight for victory remained between Clara Pettitt and Peter Mairs throughout. The final result stood at 1261 votes for Clara Pettitt, and 1174 for Peter Mairs.
Clara Pettitt stated:
“Elections week was one of the most unreal things I have ever done. I had the best time and met some lovely people. Winning was something else; it was such a surprise and I don’t think it has really hit me yet that I’ve actually won. I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone that voted and helped me with my campaign. I can’t wait to start the job and work alongside the rest of the team.”
The March 2017 Elections also saw the election of the Part-Time Officer team for the 2017/18 academic year. This team is made up of nine different positions and alike the Sabbatical Officers, the Part-Time Officers are elected every year. All Part-Time Officer positions held candidates apart from the role of Racial Equality Officer.
The victors are: Errol Kerr as Chair of Council, Sneha Vincent as International Students Officer, Hannah Fitzpatrick as LGBT+ Officer, Emily Sherwood as Marginalised Genders Officer, Emma Dawson as Scrutiny Officer, Holly Waddell as Parents Guardians and Carers Officer, Zoe Godden as Students with Disabilities Officer and Hasham Gill as Students with Faith or Belief Officer.
The Part-Time Officer positions of Chair of Council and International Students’ Officer were the only ballots to have multiple candidates. The candidates standing for Chair of Council were Errol Kerr and William Horseman. The candidates standing for International Students’ Officer were Sneha Vincent and Ciara Henderson.
Errol Kerr, who currently shares the Part-Time Officer position of Students with Disabilities Officer with Daniel Wood, commented on his victory as Chair of Council for the 2017/17 Academic year on social media to his campaigns team, stating:
“It’s been a long and taxing week but your work all paid off – I have been elected to Chair of Union Council starting in September! I couldn’t have done this without your help. Thank-you to my campaigns team for being amazing, endlessly supportive, and suggesting so many awful photoshop ideas. I’m so glad the public will never see me as a doge meme. Shoutout to William Horseman for a nice clean, meme-filled campaigns week!”
International Students’ Officer for 2016/17 and now 2017/18, Sneha Vincent took to social media shortly after her victory, posting:
“WON THE ELECTIONS!!!! A massive thank-you to everyone who helped and supported my campaign.”
The vote to change the name of the Students’ Union bar, which is currently entitled ‘Mens Bar’, also ran alongside the elections. Students could vote on the names ‘Luther’s’, ‘The Cross & Lion’ and ‘Aelius’. Following the ballot, the new name for the bar is set to be ‘Luther’s’. Speaking on behalf of the current Sabbatical Officers, Athletic Union Officer, Sophie Matthews said: “We are very pleased with the outcome and we can’t wait to see the name change happen officially shortly.”