SU elections close with worst voter turnout in four years

The new officer team was announced last night


If you’ve been on campus this week, you will have encountered students campaigning to be elected as one of the new full-time or part-time officers for the SU. The election results were announced last night, after the lowest voter turnout since 2012.

Out of more than 14,000 students at Sussex, only 3601 voted compared to 4725 last year. In recent years for these elections there were four days of campaigning followed by five days of voting. This year, the SU had two days of campaigning followed by just over three days of voting (71 hours of voting compared to 104 previously).  This may explain the lower voter numbers.

Abe Baldry, Student’s Union President, said: “This year thousands of students voted in the Union’s Full-time Officer, Part-time Officer and NUS conference delegate elections. We’re disappointed that the number of students voting has fallen this year following a period of growth in voter numbers. We’ll be thoroughly reviewing the elections to see what we can do to increase participation in future elections. If you have any feedback you can send this to [email protected]

The results of the elections were announced last night between 6 and 7pm in Mandela Hall on campus. For the first time, all six full-time officers are female, and there are two gender non-binary officers on the team.

Some are not happy with the choices, arguing that BME students and other students of colour, as well as men, are under-represented by the new officer panel.

One third-year took to Facebook, saying: “True diversity and inclusivity from Sussex?”. Another third-year said: “The uni also has more female students than male students by a fairly significant margin. Why do we actually need a women’s officer? Why is there a black students officer but not an Asian students officer?”

Speaking to The Badger, Sevenzo, the new Undergrad Education Officer said this on the issue: “This year was better than last in terms of diversity. Latisha stood for president this year. The idea of me standing was to contest that idea, and I was inspired by other people of colour, and also by all of the officers at the moment.

“I would encourage more people of colour to run but I am optimistic about the trend.”

The elected officers are as follows:

  • LGBTQ+ Students Officer – Kai Quinn Allen
  • Women Students Officer – Frida Gustafsson
  • Ethnic Minority Students Officer – Nishad Sharma
  • Postgraduate Education Officer – Rose Taylor
  • Undergraduate Education Officer – Savannah Sevenzo
  • Students with Disabilities Officer – Fionnuala Halfacre
  • Society & Citizenship Officer – Sarah Gibbons
  • Welfare Officer – Grainne Gahan
  • Activities Officer – Adéle Duvillier
  • President – Annie Pickering

A full list of election details can be found by here.