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KU students vote in new Student Union president Sean Kelly

By River Reporter Mar 16, 2012

By Myriam Dijck

Sean Kelly was elected the new Students’ Union president after a victory of narrow margins, beating rival Jamie Pipkin by a mere six votes.

After a week of voting saw three different parties campaigning, Kelly’s team, ‘Breaking the Mould’, cleaned house, having ten out of 13 candidates elected, including Lucy Williams who will run a second term in the newly created role vice-president of Student Life position.

Breaking the mould

Kelly, 25, a second year computer science student, said: “I’m over the moon. I was confident of getting in but not complacent.

“Our whole campaign was about ‘breaking the mould’. I’m going in fresh from the Students’ Union, but I am heavily involved the academic side of the university. That’s why I think I am going to make a real change.”

The other two full-time paid positions were won by members of ‘Team Voice’. Rita Seghis was elected vice-president of Learning and Teaching, while Lauren McCormack will serve a second term as and vice-president of Activities.

Engaging students

Serghis, 21, a second year international relations and history student, said: “It would have been nice to get Jamie as president. But that is the way this vote system works.

“We went all-out, campaigning every day, every single campus, talking to people, trying to engage students into voting.”

If the SU had the first-past-the-post system – the one used in the UK general elections – Kelly would have lost to competitor third year history student Pipkin. Only after one round of redistribution of the votes under single transferrable vote system, did Kelly win, adding to the disappointment of the opposing team.

While far more candidates were running compared to last year, the number of voters still did not reach 5 per cent of Kingston students. Even the most popular position, the SU president, only saw 790 votes cast.

Turn-out appalling

According to general manager Mark Horne comparable universities have at least double the amount of students voting at their SU elections.

He said: “The turn-out is appalling. There are lots of discussions to be had as to why democratic participation is the lowest.”

Here is a full list of the election results:

Full-time sabbatical officers:

President – Sean Kelly
VP Activities – Lauren McCormack
VP Learning and Teaching – Rita Serghis
VP Student Life – Lucy Williams

Part-time positions:

Part-time Students Officer – Suvarna Paratharajan
International students Officer – Sulaimon Awodeji
Non-portfolio Officer – Denza Gonsalves
Postgraduate students Officer – Edward Hyatt
Womens’ Officer – Megan Denise Smith
Unity Officer – Ibrahim Ali
Ethical and Environmental Officer – Will Scott-Barrett
Mature Students Officer – David Moylan
Students in Professional Practice – Leanne Ewing
Disabled Students Officer – Collette Smart
LGBT Officer – Nelson Truan
Partner College Officer – David Brown
Student Media Officer – Rehat Kathuria

See for more info.

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