Second-term Sabbs: a SOLUTION
Sabbatical elections have arrived: Highfield campus is dominated by posters, banners and wacky costumes, and Jesters full of warring campaign teams drinking themselves stupid as part of the longest and […]
Sabbatical elections have arrived: Highfield campus is dominated by posters, banners and wacky costumes, and Jesters full of warring campaign teams drinking themselves stupid as part of the longest and dumbest job selection process most of us will ever encounter.
With several of this year’s team running for a second term in office, the question of whether sabbatical officers should be allowed to re-run is inevitably going to be raised yet again.
Recent years have seen a spate of sabbs having two years in office, notably the trio of Sam Ling, Sasha Watson and Shane Murphy retaining their positions in 2012, and, of course, current SUSU president David Gilani, who was previously elected VP Comms. The former group of Sabbs were notoriously difficult to work with in their final year, which some attributed to complacency, but Gilani’s time as president has so far failed to produce the sort of controversy we at the Soton Tab relish.
Sabbs are limited to two years maximum by the Education Act 1994, but many feel that re-runners have too many advantages and shouldn’t be able to continue running the students’ union for a second year.
Re-running Sabbs have the advantage that they already have their big Facebook groups, they already have a good understanding of what works in a campaign, and they know what can and can’t be done in office. It’s more difficult for an outsider to get access to figures, documents and to gather a large social media reach in a short time. Re-running sabbs don’t have their degrees to worry about and the very fact that they’re running is often enough to put many contenders off.
On the other hand, the best person for the role might well be the person who has held it for the year. A second term gives the opportunity to look at more long term projects. The fact remains, however, that they can always be beaten by a good opponent, so in real terms, the union just gains another strong candidate when a Sabb runs for election again.
Perhaps the best solution would be one of the simplest. Our Varsity opponents Portsmouth have a system where traditionally Sabbaticals don’t run again for the Vice President positions, but instead all compete with each other for the position of President. This means that all but one position are always taken by new people with fresh ideas, and the president’s role becomes one of maintaining continuity with the union’s overall and long term plans.
Whatever the solution, if you’re considering running for an election this year at SUSU, my advice would be to go for it and not to be put off by who your opponents may be!
Following the elections this year? What do you think about re-runners? Or, if you’re running, what are your thoughts on re-runners? Let us know in the comments!