Sabbatical Elections 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

Sabbatical Elections 2019: Do you have Questions? Do we have Answers? Let's Find Out!
Or, just ask us a question...

Questions


Answers

What are elections? Why?

Elections determine who runs your Students’ Union for the next academic year. They are a chance for you to get involved in your Students’ Union to shape its direction, and to change and challenge the University. Those who are elected represent all students of the University of Wolverhampton locally and nationally.

We are also bound by the 1994 Education Act to make Elections happen, and to ensure they are free and fair.

When do elections happen?

Standing (where you can nominate yourself for a position) opens on Monday 4 March at 9am and closes on Friday 8 March at 5pm.

Training (the week between Standing and Voting, where you can prepare for the election) is the week commencing 11 March.

Voting (when all the fun happens) opens at 9am, Monday 18 March and closes at 5pm on Friday 22 March.

Results will be announced on the evening of the 22 March, in the Venue, from 8pm.

What can I run for?

There are four Sabbatical Officer positions, and two part-time voluntary roles.

Sabbatical Officers lead the Students’ Union (and are Trustees) and are elected on manifesto promises to change, challenge, shape, and develop the Students’ Union and the University. These are paid full-time jobs.

  • Union Affairs Officer
  • Academic Officer
  • Diversity Officer
  • Community Officer

Part-time voluntary positions ensure that the Sabbatical Officers keep their election promises and hold them to account.

  • Union Chair
  • Shadow Councillor (x5)

Ask us if you are interested in any more information about these roles.

Who runs the elections?

The Sabbatical Elections are run by the Student Change team at the Students’ Union. Their work is overseen by the Returning Officer to make sure the elections are open, fair, transparent, and equitable.

The Deputy Returning Officer (DRO), who makes election decisions and oversees the day-to-day running of the elections is Adam Southall, Democratic Procedures Advisor, Wolves Students’ Union.

The Returning Officer (RO), who hears appeals on the decisions of the DRO and ultimately signs off on the election being open, fair, transparent, and equitable is Emma Wedge, University Secretary.

Why do I need a manifesto? What is this?

When standing for election, you need to tell other students why they should vote for you. This is your manifesto.

Your manifesto is where you talk about what you will promise to do if elected. You should be realistic when choosing your promises because these are things students will expect you to deliver once in post. We recommend you structure your manifesto to include an introduction about you, at least three promises, and a conclusion stating why students should vote for you. Keep it short, because you'll have a word limit.

You'll also be asked for a slogan. This will be on the ballot next to your name and photograph. Your slogan should be simple and easy to remember, so that when you talk to students they can remember you.

When you Stand, we'll ask for up to five promises - you don't have to use all five but should use at least three. 

Ask us if you need any further guidance on writing your manifesto.

If I am an international student, can I run in the elections?

Yes! As a student of the University of Wolverhampton you are automatically a member of the Students’ Union and can run in the elections. All our roles are open to international students.

However, if you are currently hold a Tier 4 Visa, there are some immigration implications you should be aware of. If you hold a Visa that isn’t Tier 4 please contact the International Office to understand your options.

For Sabbatical Officer roles:

  • International students can stand for Sabbatical Officer roles and will be fully supported in doing so.
  • If you receive financial sponsorship, discuss standing in the election with your sponsor in case there are any restrictions.
  • International students on Tier 4 Visas can generally work as a Sabbatical Officer under a special provision of this Visa as these roles are recognised by the UK government. However, if you are successful in your election you will need to extend your visa at some point.
  • Wolves Students’ Union will support international students successfully elected as Sabbatical Officers who require a Visa extension through refunding the basic amount of payment due for a visa renewal and the healthcare surcharge related to the visa application. If you wish to pay for the priority service, then you will need to fund the difference in cost yourself.
  • The University of Wolverhampton remains the sponsor for your visa and is therefore ultimately responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance. The University Visa & Immigration Support Officers will support any elected officers through the visa application process. To facilitate this, if you are successful in your election Wolves Students’ Union will inform the International Office about the appointment and receive confirmation from them that the relevant information has been passed to the Home Office.
  • Wolves Students’ Union will perform the necessary right to work checks, including noting when the visa expiry date is and ensuring updated documents are seen.

For voluntary part-time roles:

  • International students can stand for part-time voluntary roles and will be fully supported in doing so.

This information does not constitute immigration advice. If you require more details about your rights and options, please contact the International Office.

I’m a PGT/PGR student, can I run?

Yes! As a student of the University of Wolverhampton you are automatically a member of the Students’ Union and can run in the elections. All our roles are open to postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students. You can run for election to take up a role either at the end of your programme or as a year-out (sabbatical) year during it.

For Postgraduate Research (PGR) students, depending when you are due to submit your thesis, you should consider the following:

  • You should discuss your plans with your Supervisor to see if they have any concerns about you taking a year out from your research. Due to the importance of Sabbatical officers to University Governance, we would expect Supervisors to give serious consideration to your plans and to raise concerns because there would be legitimate implications for your research (e.g. where there are ongoing research activities which would be impractical to suspend for a year) or success on your programme and not for other reasons.
  • If you receive funding or financial sponsorship, you should check with your funding body if taking up a Sabbatical Officer position would affect your eligibility for funding. To the best of our knowledge, most Research Council funding agreements have a provision allowing for a suspension of studies of up to one year in certain circumstances and you should establish whether this provision can apply to taking up a Sabbatical Officer role.

For Postgraduate Taught (PGT) students, depending on the structure of your course, your course may be ongoing at the point you are expected to start work as a Sabbatical Officer. It is therefore important you have a plan on how you will complete your course, which is usually taken one of two ways, both of which you’ll be offered full support from the Students’ Union:

  1. Arrange to suspend your studies at the point you are due to start work as a Sabbatical Officer and resume your studies once your term of office has ended. You should talk to your Course Leader or Faculty Office about how this would work in practice.
  2. Prepare to complete your dissertation early so you can continue and finish your studies whilst working full-time as a Sabbatical Officer. As many students are in the process of writing up at the point when Sabbatical Officer roles start, it may be possible to progress on your dissertation without suspending your studies. This is a challenging route and students should only attempt it if they are confident in their ability to complete their dissertation to this timescale and that this would be permitted under any Visa or funding arrangements they may be subject to.

For voluntary part-time roles, it is completely up to you how you manage your time to fit around the role, study, and other responsibilities. Feel free to come and speak to us (or Ask us below) if you want further information about fitting voluntary roles around your life and studies.

I undertake my degree part-time, can I run?

Yes! As a student of the University of Wolverhampton you are automatically a member of the Students’ Union and can run in the elections. All our roles are open to part-time students.

For Sabbatical Officer roles, if elected and depending on how your degree is structured, you can take one of two routes, both of which you’ll be offered full support from the Students’ Union:

  1. Arrange to suspend your studies at the point you are due to start work as a Sabbatical Officer and resume your studies once your term of office has ended. You should talk to your Course Leader or Faculty Office about how this would work in practice.
  2. Continue your studies whilst working full-time as a Sabbatical Officer. It can be possible to undertake studies whilst being a Sabbatical Officer, but this is a significantly more challenging route and may have Visa or funding/sponsorship implications that should be discussed. You should talk to your Course Leader of Faculty Office to discuss working full-time alongside your part-time studies.

For voluntary part-time roles, it is completely up to you how you manage your time to fit around the role, study, and other responsibilities. Feel free to come and speak to us (or Ask us below) if you want further information about fitting voluntary roles around your life and studies.

Can I run for the same role with a friend?

Yes! This is called a job share, and you can select that option during the Standing process. This only needs to be done by one person in the job share.

Ask us if you need any further information about standing as a job share.

Can I stand for all the things?

Unfortunately, not.

We do not recommend standing for all the positions as you would be standing on several different platforms at once. Choose the role that best suits you, your experiences, and what you feel you can deliver, and create a campaign to get elected for that role. Students are more likely to be receptive if you have a coherent message and campaign for one role, rather than many.

In this election, you are limited to running for one Sabbatical Officer position. There are no limitations for part-time voluntary positions.

Help! I cannot log in

To stand, and to vote, you are required to login to the Students’ Union website with your University ID number and password. This is to ensure that you are a student and make sure the election is secure, free, and fair.

If you have difficulties logging in, we suggest attempting again in the first instance. Butter fingers do happen.

In some cases, the University has not passed student data across. This can be remedied by going to the “View/Amend Personal Information” on eVision, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and selecting that you want to be a member of the Students’ Union. It will then take the University 24-48 hours to pass this to us, after which you should be able to login.

If you continue having difficulties, contact us with your student ID number, detailing when you attempted to login to the website.

How do I campaign?

Campaigning for elections is effectively going out and speaking to as many students as possible about your manifesto and your plans should you be elected. Creating individual positive experiences with voters is – by far – the surest way to win an election.

How you make connections with voters is up to you but should rely on you being yourself and crafting a narrative around you and what you want to achieve.

Remember, to be elected you need to speak to as broad a range of students as possible. This includes students who are not like you, are not on your course, and do not frequent the same places.

When we say “speaking to students” this doesn’t just include face-to-face conversations, but other forms of communication which supplement (not replace) face-to-face campaigning. For example, you can talk to a student on campus during the day and during the conversation let them know that if they have any further questions you are also campaigning on several social media platforms. That student then comes back and asks questions on your social media posts about further points on your manifesto. Alternatively, you might have a social media presence that extends the reach of your physical campaigning so that when you speak to a student on campus they may have heard of you already. How you go about this is up to you, but successful campaigns are fun and leave voters feeling as though they’ve had a positive experience. You may also choose to do activities and games on campus and online that highlight your experience and manifesto, and help draw voters to you rather than having you chase voters.

There is no one-size-fits-all to achieve this; you should play to your strengths and the strengths of those whom are in your campaign team. If you’re great at speaking to students on social media, make sure you have people in your campaign who can pick up face-to-face campaigning and vice versa. Knowing your strengths and limitations, and being yourself, is the best campaigning tool you have.

When you stand for election, we’ll go through campaigning in your One-to-One.

Are there rules?

Yes. Our Election Principles lay out the expected behaviour of candidates during the Sabbatical Elections and you’re required to agree to them when you Stand. If you have any questions or would like a clarification, just Ask us.

How does voting work?

Wolves Students’ Union uses Single Transferable Vote (STV) for multi-winner elections and Alternative Vote (ATV) in single-winner elections. These are representation systems in which a person’s vote can be transferred to a second, third, fourth choice and so on (according to their stated preference) if their first choice is eliminated during the vote count.

If you want to understand more, have a look at Southampton’s explainer video for a STV election. The most important aspect of STV is that a voter ranks candidates in order of their preference so if you speak to a student who has already decided not to vote for you, convince them to make you their second choice – it could make all the difference when determining the result.

Who is R.O.N.?

R.O.N. (Re-open Nominations, RON) exists for disorder and chaos. They advocate a world where elections run in perpetuity; a never-ending cycle of voting and searing rejection.

A vote for RON is a vote against all standing candidates, and a request to re-open the standing process and run the election again.

If you do not think any candidates running for a position in the election are suitable, you can express this by voting for RON.

If you think only a few candidates running for a position are suitable, you can select RON after these candidates to show that if they didn't win the election, you would prefer for fresh elections to take place rather than any of the remaining candidates being elected.

This year RON is played by Derek the Badger

TL;DR: Can I have some of this information in a video format from an external organisation (say, NUS) which will somewhat partly summarise everything?

Sure *

* Not everything on this page is covered in the video; please check the Frequently Asked Questions list for specific answers relevant to Wolverhampton.


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