Kemi Adediran has been elected as Newcastle University Students’ Union’s Racial Equality Officer for the 2017/18 academic year during the last Autumn elections period.
Adediran follows Safiya Robinson as NUSU’s elected officer to represent BAME students on campus, stating: “I am ecstatic to become the NUSU Racial Equality Officer, this position holds much importance to me personally and I hope while in this position my passion will show through in my work at NUSU.”
A spokesperson from the Union said “Congratulations to Stage 1 Media, Communication & Cultural Studies student Kemi Adediran, who has been elected as the NUSU Racial Equality Officer for 2017/18. With Kemi now elected to the role, we are delighted to announce that NUSU now has a full officer team for the academic year, who are all working hard to represent your interests.”
Kemi was elected with 33 votes, with the Re-open Nominations (R.O.N.) option having 1 vote. The low voting figures could be considered typical of the Autumn elections, as voting figures are consistently lower than those in March.
Last year, the Disabilities Officer, Scrutiny Officer and Students with Faith or Belief Officer positions, all contested, respectively received 196, 166 and 202 votes, although the Freshers’ Week Organiser roles often receive more votes, receiving 482 and 343 votes in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The March 2017 elections saw all but one of the eight Part-time Officer (PTO) positions achieve over 1000 votes, and the majority of those positions were uncontested. However, the year before when Sabbatical and Part-time Officer elections were separate, none of the candidates received more than 500 votes.
"We were happy to leave the majority of the elections promotion to the candidate."
George Watkins, NUSU Representation and Democracy Manager
Nevertheless, in the May 2016 PTO elections, Safiya Robinson was elected as Racial Equality Officer with 451 votes, which is still a considerable difference to this year’s Autumn’s elections.
In the first Student Council of the 2017/18 academic year, NUSU President Ronnie Reid presented Motion 303 to tackle the issues with the Autumn eections. According to the NUSU website “The Election of a vacant PTO position’ passed meaning that if the March elections fail to elect a PTO position, NUSU can now hold an less formal election before the end of summer term to fill vacant positions. This gives us the flexibility to ensure a full team of Part Time Officers at the start of the year.”
Speaking about the election turnout and the motion, NUSU Representation and Democracy Manager George Watkins stated: “A great deal of effort was put into promoting the vacant Racial Equality position during the nomination period. Once we were able to confirm that there was only one eligible candidate and this was the last Autumn elections, following the passing of The Election of a vacant PTO position motion at October’s Student Council, during the voting period we were happy to leave the majority of the elections promotion to the candidate.
However, Watkins denied that the election wasn’t promoted enough by NUSU. “The voting period was supported with a NUSU website presence and social media posts. We now look forward to and will start planning the Spring elections where we will look to elect a new officer team for 2018/19."