Friday, 27 February 2009

Who wants to be a student politician? No-one

Published in The Student (note the new definite article) 24/2/08

Apathy towards student politics has again become a key feature of the EUSA [note: Edinburgh University Students' Association] elections, as a lack of candidates means that of 126 positions, only 41 will be filled by contested elections – one fewer than the number without any candidates.
The situation, which leaves postgraduate students in particular severely under-represented with only three candidates for 15 available seats after nominations closed on Thursday, has been branded 'disappointing' by senior EUSA figures.
Despite a high-profile poster campaign urging students to stand, even senior positions such as Societies' Convenor, Accommodation Officer and Postgraduate Convenor will be filled by uncontested elections.
There are no candidates for the posts of Community Officer and Schools and Induction Officer, which will go to by-elections in October, when the vacant postgraduate representative seats may also be filled.
Only five students are standing for 17 available seats for representatives from the Law School, with the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer all left vacant.
This year's situation is a slight improvement on 2008, in which only 29 seats were filled by elected representatives, but is unlikely to be welcomed by EUSA figures, especially since it comes in the same week as an inquorate General Meeting.
One leading student politician told the Student: “After the effort we've put into trying to get people to stand we're disappointed. It needs to be better.
“I'd like to see many more contested elections, because they increase the validity of student representation, and allow candidates a platform put forward their vision for their position to the electorate.
"There are a low number of postgraduate representatives, which although higher than last year, is still a disappointing result. Having said that, postgraduates will not go unrepresented; the current cohort of 17 postgraduate reps will continue in their current positions until the summer, and many more postgraduate reps are likely to be recruited in the October by-elections."

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