LSESU Elections — The Aftermath

So we’re finally finished with LSESU Democracy for the year and our Students’ Union is as polarised as ever. We’ve been hit by scandal after scandal. This piece isn’t about that.

The RON Sensation in Lent Term Elections Round 1

Having been in the position of both running (unsuccessfully) and being heavily involved in a campaign (#TwinsForTheWin), it’s been pretty intense. The month of March has been a wild one.

There were bad times

Not winning is disappointing, but knowing that our Union is in shambles is worse. Losing in an election doesn’t mean that I’ll stop striving for what I believe in. After all, a title is only a table place name if no one’s working behind it. Regardless of which side of the controversy you were on, it’s safe to say that the general student body was, and still is, stifled. Consciously disengaged at best. The Union became a political bubble which couldn’t be popped from the inside and everyone was interested in peeking in (think giant dome from the Simpsons movie).

Even after RON (Re-Open Nominations) was declared the victor, the bickering continued. Did RON break our LSESU political ‘haven’? Maybe, but probably not. Candidates’ manifestos ranged from touching upon the many fascets of student life to the desire of shaking up the system. Looking at the voting sheets, Busayo won by 49 votes. All candidates who made it past round 8 relied on second and third preferences. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — it’s how democracy works. However, it does mean that students may not necessarily feel that their new General Secretary represents them. Whilst the elect most adequately reflects voters through the ‘single transferable vote’ system, there’s still much room for disagreement. Perhaps fortunately, Busayo maintained her lead from round 1 and pushed all the way through. For voters, this is a positive indication of her support.

There were, and are, good times

Our Students’ Union now gets a breath of fresh air: we have the first ever full female Sabbatical Officer team, students’ issues are finally placed front and centre, and political association is less prominent. During the campaign period, the First Floor Café in Saw Swee Hock was filled to the brim with students keen to listen in on the Gen Sec hustings. Candidates actually went to halls to speak to Freshers. There were less posters around campus and more conversations. Students voted for change and full representation. I have no doubt that Busayo, Jasmina, Riham, and Julia will deliver.

So now what?

With 13 candidates having put themselves forward to take the highest student elected position in one of the nation’s most political Students’ Unions, I’m excited to see what’s to come. Busayo has a lot of prove.

The turnout was, unsurprisingly, low. We only just scraped 2,000 mark 27 hours into voting — this is normally checked off around 8 hours in. True, there are more places in normal Lent Term elections but the majority of voters would be electing their Gen Sec. Moreover, this day of voting falls on the last day of term. I agree with the Union’s decision to host them during this week; elections in the Summer Term would be ineffective.

We, as a Union, need to find ways to engage students with the platforms which we already have. Students need to use their voices in UGMs. Everyone needs to know that our SU supports campaigns with advice and resources. All students should take full advantage of the events run by our elected Officers because they are the ones who can take our policy directly to those who can change them. The Sabb Team will have to work extra hard to make sure all LSE students feel like they are part of the Union.

As reflected by the light drizzle of rain falling on Sheffield Street on the last day of voting, it’s probably time for us to take shelter from a while. We’re all exhausted from LSE (room booking) inefficiency, SU bureaucracy, and student-led politics. It’s been a difficult second half of Lent Term, but hey, at least exam timetables are out on time…

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