All four current sabbatical Officers battling for re-election were successful in their bid to retain office, after 4,725 students cast their votes in the 2015 Students’ Union Executive Elections.

Incumbent President Abraham Baldry was resoundingly re-elected, attracting 1,502 votes out of  3,288 cast.

Baldry was given a second year by voters like his predecessor Kelly McBride, who served as Students’ Union President from 2012 to 2014.

He beat his closest contender, Max O’Donnell Savage, by 1,032 votes.

Josh Littlefair won 450 votes to get him into third place and Miriam Steiner, a students’ trustee, came in fourth with 360 votes.

Abraham Baldry talked about “big and better bars” in the new £10m Students’ Union building, green energy alternatives on campus to reduce the Universities carbon footprint and a promise to lobby the University to impose rent controls on campus.

Speaking to The Badger after being reelected, Baldry said: “I feel great. I was hoping to win. A lot of the signs were there and I’m delighted that people at Sussex have trusted me to take this forward for another year.

“We have a really fantastic team. I can’t wait to work with them all.”

The presidential race was the most hotly contested in recent memory, with 10 students nominating themselves for the hustings.

There were more people called Callum vying for the Union Presidency, than women running for the role.

Overall, 35 people nominated themselves across all positions.

[counter num_start=”0″ num_end=”4725″ num_speed=”1500″ text_above=”Number of students who cast their vote in this year’s elections”]

Officer Team 2015
Full-time Officer Team 2015/2016

The sitting Welfare Officer and Education Officer, Rianna Gargiulo and Bethan Hunt, were both reelected by strong margins, having ran on a joint ticket of “Welfication”.

Hunt received 595 more votes than second place Radek Oros to become education officer.

Gargiulo was elected by a margain of 477 votes against Jamal Langley.

On their joint slate, Hunt pledged to continue her work in lobbying the University to improve transparency around tuition fee setting and Rianna promised that she would dedicate her second term to furthering the ‘I Heart Consent’ campaign by integrating consent education into freshers’ induction week.

Upon hearing the announcement that she had been re-elected, Hunt admitted that she was “relieved”, adding: “I didn’t expect to win. Last year, no incumbent got re-elected.”

Rianna said: “I feel excellent, great. I didn’t think that I was going to win, but basically I’m just really glad because people have given us the opportunity to have another year to enact everything we’ve wanted to do to make sure that the University does all the things they said they were going to do.

“I’m so happy with the new team; there’s five women.”

Bethan Hunt and Rianna Gargiulo
Rianna Gargiulo and Bethan Hunt

After a student referendum in December last year, where 60 percent of students voted for the Union officer roles to be restructured, the role of Education Officer was split into two roles: one representing undergraduates and the other representing postgraduates.

Rose Tyler was elected as post-graduate education officer. She told The Badger:

“I feel so relieved that all that hard work has paid off, and I’m just really excited to start this year be cause it is only me and one other girl who are the ‘newbies’ of the team. I’m excited for everyone else to show us the ropes.”

Sarah Gibbons was elected as the Union’s inaugural Societies and Citizenship Officer and pledged in her manifesto to improve the University’s rankings in People and Planets annual ethical and environmental league table.

Gibbons commented: “It has been an exhausting week, an exciting week, the most amazing oportunity to speak to all the students.

“I can’t wait to start this role and thank you everybody who voted and everybody who helped me this week because I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Lyndsay Burtonshaw was also re-elected as Activities Officer. She promised to work hard in bringing the Homeless World Cup to Brighton and organise more liberation conferences.

Burtonshaw said that she was glad that she would given a chance to develop the projects she has initiated this year.

Lyndsay Burtonshaw
Lyndsay Burtonshaw

In the Part-time Officer elections, Jaja Jasper Chinedum was elected as the Ethnic Minority Students officer, Pippa Sterk as LGBTQ* Students Officer, Rachel Fricker as Disabled Students Officer and Caroline Ackermann as Women Students Officer.

The turnout for the Students’ Union full time officer and part time officer election was 33.6 percent, with 4,725 out of 14,066 students casting their vote.

Turnout across individual schools at the University varied considerably.

The Institute for Development Studies, the second least populated school at Sussex behind the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, had the highest turnout across the board, with a 53.1 percent.

The Institute of Development Studies’ turnout was almost 10 percent higher than the the School of Global Studies, where 43.3 percent out of 1,293 students yielded their vote.

At the other end of the scale, only 6.8 percent of the 971 students in the School of Education and Social Work casted a vote in the executive elections; the lowest turnout of the 13 schools at the University.

A higher proportion of students studying at Sussex from European Union countries cast their ballot than UK students (34.6 percent to 34 percent respectively).

30.4 percent of International students from non-EU countries voted in the elections.

Jack Williams, Debbie Batchelor, Daniel Green and Paul Millar

Categories: News

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Students’ Union Officers elected

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