Embarrassing turnout for ‘out of touch’ Union

‘The union is terrible at communicating with students about why both they and the elections matter’

by-election communities craig law elections media officer michael gardner michael wilson stirling stirling university student union

Reports published by the student Union reveal a by-election turnout of just 4.75 per cent. 

The increase in voter engagement in Scotland generated by the Independence referendum has not been enough to get Stirling students interested in their union elections, with only 581 bothering to vote.

turnout was up from last year but still showed embarrassing figures for the union

Turnout was up from last year but still showed embarrassing figures for the union

There were four executive officer positions up for grabs but only 2 had more than one candidate. Candidates were quick to defend the poor turnout.

Michael Gardener who lost out in the fight for media officer said: “I think like 600 people voted which is well up from last year. 600 is a good number.

“People don’t care by and large. Think EU elections over national ones. I don’t think it’s an issue any more than general voter apathy is. Nothing special about this case.”

Craig Law, who was Michael’s opponent for the media officer position, declined to comment to the media. Good start.

The stress of the elections can be hard to take

The stress of the elections can be hard to take

Alasdair Ibbotson who ran unopposed for communities officer added: “It was up by around 100 votes on last year, a phenomenal increase especially when viewed proportionately.”

Voter turnout was up from last year’s embarrassing  3.47 per cent. But the meagre increase is not enough for some candidates.

When asked about the poor turnout, Ibbotson said: “I’m confident that the union will engage even more students over the course of the year.”

The union will be hoping for a better turnout in future elections

The union will be hoping for a better turnout in the sabbatical officer elections

Michael Wilson who lost out on the clubs and societies position had a different view: “Low turnout doesn’t suggest to me that students don’t care- which is often the peddled line.

“I put it down more to the fact that the union is terrible at communicating with students about why both they and the elections matter.

“As soon as the union can make students feel like their voices matter, and not just their credit cards, turnout will increase.”

Michael Wilson argues the Union need to stop chasing student money and start chasing student opinion

Michael Wilson argues the Union need to stop chasing student money and start chasing student opinion

Some students weren’t even aware the election was taking place. When asked if he had heard about it, third-year Harry Stewart said: “No. A by-election for what?”

Looks like the union has a long way to go if it wants to actually engage its students.