Did you recently spend two weeks on campus fighting your way through crowds of campaigners, thrusting leaflets at you in their colourful handmade t-shirts? Have you had to sprint past the GUU/ QMU/ gym/ library headphones in, avoiding all eye contact with everyone? Or have you simply enjoyed the ridiculous amount of free food being handed out?
You have just experienced springtime elections at Glasgow University- student democracy at its finest.
I do apologise to those I have harassed, bullied, yelled ‘vote for…’ at but election time does become pretty intense. Particularly this year, with the presidential position for each of the four student bodies being contested. Congratulations to David Lockhart of the GUU, Colum Fraser of the QMU, Chris Millar of GUSA and James Harrison of the SRC for being successful in their presidential campaigns.
But elections are absolutely nothing without some element of controversy, and although the QMU and GUU elections passed by with relatively few issues, controversy arrived in the form of the SRC presidential candidate Chizzy and of the disenfranchisement of the Art School students from the GUSA elections.
After the Stuart Ritchie ordeal this year, the SRC have struggled to maintain credibility. So perhaps it was inevitable that someone like Chizzy would pop up on Facebook with a manifesto promising to rebuild the John McIntyre building entirely out of glass in order to make the SRC more ‘transparent’ and to use carrier owls instead of MyCampus. But to actually see his name on the ballot list on voting day and to be greeted by an army of his campaigners outside the library- that was a shock.
To put it in perspective, the SRC president is a paid position. Furthermore, they have to represent the entire student body, therefore what does it say about the SRC if they have a candidate running on the basis of a joke manifesto? Chizzy, however, was unsuccessful, so unfortunately we will not be adding carrier owls to our University.
The disenfranchisement of the GSA students from the GUSA elections was a further source of controversy in the student election process. This added to the recent conflict between the Art School students and GUSA resulting from a cap being placed on the number of the former being allowed to join the gym. Then on election day many Art School students were turned away from the Stevenson building and told they were not allowed to vote, despite being active members of the gym and GUSA clubs.
This decision was made because of a clause found recently in the GUSA constitution, which stated:
“Membership shall apply to all those registered students of the University of Glasgow who have paid their subscription to the Sports and Recreation Service.”
It all came down to whether they had a University of Glasgow matriculation card- those who did not were not allowed to vote. However, in previous years all Art School students who were members of the gym were eligible to vote leading to the question of why did they decide to enforce this rule this year?
However, with Chris Millar’s manifesto having stated that he was going to stand up for art school students, most GSA students are confident that in the following year, Millar will strive to solve many of the issues that have recently been affecting GSA students and their participation in GUSA. Josh Murphy, art school student and member of the GUSWPC commented:
“As an active member of GUSA I was obviously disappointed in the way that the issue of art school eligibility was handled prior to the elections, however what’s done is done and I am really looking forward to seeing what the new council will offer in the face of some difficult decisions that will be coming their way. I am confident they have the skills required to tackle the issue of art school students’ membership effectively in the coming months.”
With all the elections finally over, life on campus has begun to settle down again. Each of the four student bodies are set to tackle another year at Glasgow University.
-Image courtesy of Keith Bacongo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kitoy/)