The winners celebrated in Falmer Bar on Thursday 10 February. Clockwise L-R: James Hickie (Activities), Indi Hicks (Welfare), Becca Melhuish (Operations), Poppy Firmin (Education), Ariel Cohen (Communications), David Cichon (President). Elected by union members, they will begin their full-time posts in early July this year. Photo: Polina Belehhova
Following a lively evening in Falmer Bar, the winners of the full-time Students’ Union officer elections were announced on Thursday 10 February.
The candidates had been campaigning in full force for the six Union positions since Thursday 3 February, both on campus and online. This included hustings at East Slope on Monday 7 February. Several campaign teams stated that they were canvassing in residences up until voting closed.
The bar began to fill from 6pm and by 9pm, over 300 students were present. As Biz Bliss, current Operations Officer and returning officer for the elections this year, was preparing to announce the results, attendees watched Hosni Mubarak, the President of Egypt, give a speech to the Egyptian people in which he refused to step down.
The announcement was met with jeers from the crowd of students. Amid the tense atmosphere, Biz revealed the results of the referendum regarding the future of the Students’ Union’s constitution before divulging the Union election results.
First, she announced that James Hickie had been elected as Activities Officer; secondly, that Ariel Cohen was elected Communications Officer; thirdly, that Poppy Firmin was elected Education Officer; next, that Becca Melhuish was elected Operations Officer; that Indi Hicks was elected Welfare Officer and finally, that David Cichon had been elected President.
David, who is currently the Chair of the Students’ Union’s Council, won with a comfortable majority of 1280 votes, 529 votes ahead of his competitor, Jian Farhoumand.
Statistics later showed that, with over 2000 votes cast in the presidential election and just 1301 cast in the referendum, more students voted for their choice of president than for the referendum on the future of the Students’ Union.
Immediately after learning of his victory, David said: “I think it’s incredible. We have an amazing team for next year.”
Future Operations Officer Becca Melhuish, who was elected by 201 vote majority in the final round of voting over her nearest competitor, Michelangelo Fano, commented on the night’s results: “What a good team! I’m looking forward to continuing the work from this year.”
Meanwhile, Activities Officer-elect James Hickie said that he was “absolutely ecstatic to win; we have an amazing team, and I’m lookingforward to next year.” He was elected by a 244 vote majority.
Indi Hicks, future Welfare Officer, commenting on her victory stated that: “I’m just really grateful for the support from my campaign team and from all the students I’ve met and also the other candidates.” She won the second landslide of the night, being elected with a majority of over 500 votes despite being one of six candidates standing for the role.
In contrast, the statistics showed that the votes cast for Communications Officer were much closer, with less than 100 vote difference between the four candidates. However, the victor was Ariel Cohen, who is also the current Pulse editor-in-chief.
After the result was announced, he said: “I feel elated to have been elected and excited to work with everyone but also full of respect for my competitors.” Poppy Firmin, future Education officer, elected with a fairly narrow majority of 151, said: “While on an international level it’s a shame about Mubarak, as it puts a downer on these amazing results, I’m motivated for a really progressive year in student democracy and can’t wait until June to see what we can achieve.”
When asked for her reaction to the results, Jo Goodman, the current Welfare Officer, said that: “It looks like it’s going to be a really good team. “The campaigns of all candidates were really impressive this year andall the candidates should be proud of themselves.”
The overall turnout for the election was 2638, which presents a drop of 430 votes from last year’s 3068. This is first time in recent years that the amount of votes cast has not broken the record set by the previous year.
However, Falmer Bar reported that their revenue could be as high as £5,500 for the election night. Adam Dodson, bar supervisor, claimed that “it was definitely the biggest night of the year”.