FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What is the Students’ Union?

The Education Act 1994 defines the Students’ Union as a “representation body whose principle purposes include representing the generality of students at an establishment … in academic, disciplinary or other matters relating to the governance of the establishment”. Birkbeck College Students’ Union is a registered charity with the Charity Commission of England & Wales (No. 1142614), and has adopted an incorporated company structure that is limited by guarantee under the Companies Act 2006. All enrolled students are (ordinary) SU members unless they have opted out.

 

Why do we have elections?

The Students’ Union is also a democratic membership organisation, and so elects leaders and representatives and votes on decisions. This is in compliance with the Education Act of 1994 in 22(2)(d) where it says "appointment to major union offices should be by election in a secret ballot in which all members are entitled to vote".

 

Eligibility to participate in this election

You must be a current and enrolled student studying at Birkbeck, University of London for the academic year of 2017/18. We will confirm your eligibility with Registry Services.

You must have not opt-ed out of Students’ Union membership. Membership is automatic for enrolled students, unless you have chosen to opt-out. If you have opted-out, you may apply to re-join by updating your “communications preferences” at www.bbk.ac.uk/mybirkbeck. You must opt back in to Student Union membership by Wednesday 17th January 10AM if you wish to stand or vote for the election.

To stand for Liberation positons or Women’s Candidates-Positions, you must self-identify for the respective liberation post and change this setting on your Students’ Union Account Profile, under “My Details”.

 

How to nominate yourself

To nominate yourself for any of the positions, you must first meet the eligibility requirements to participate in this election.

Step 1: Login

  • Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you should login to your Students’ Union account on www.birkbeckunion.org. Your username is the email address that you have registered with the College as your preferred communication preference. If you are unsure, contact the Assistant Returning Officer at pak-kwan.lau@bbk.ac.uk for support.

Step 2: Visit your Account Profile

  • Once logged in, visit “Your Account Profile” which is located on the top right of the screen. Under where your name are the options for your account profile. In the account profile section, on the left of the screen select “My Nominations”.  Alternatively, once logged in, click on this link: https://www.birkbeckunion.org/user_groups/my_nominations

  • If you self-identify as LGBQT, Black, or Disabled, you may stand for the respective positions. To stand for Liberation positons or Women’s Candidates-Positions, you must self-identify for the respective liberation post and change this setting on your Students’ Union Account Profile, under “My Details”.

Step 3: Nomination

  • You can nominate yourself for multiple positions that you are eligible to stand in, details are listed below. Eligibility for respective positions are based on self-definition. If you self-identify as LGBQT, Black, or Disabled, you may stand for the respective positions. To stand for Liberation positons or Women’s Candidates-Positions, you must self-identify for the respective liberation post and change this setting on your Students’ Union Account Profile, under “My Details”.

  • You may nominate yourself for multiple positions. However, in this election you can only stand for just one Sabbatical and/or just one NUS Delegates positions. Example:

    • You can nominate yourself for the LGBQT Members Officer, Women’s Officer, and National Conference Delegate.

    • When you stand as a candidate, you can only be stand for the LGBQT Members Officer and National Conference Delegate or as Women’s Officer and National Conference Delegate.

 

I am a part-time student studying a single module, can I stand for this role?

Any student of Birkbeck, University of London who is currently enrolled and studying at Birkbeck, University of London for the academic year of 2017/18, and have not opted-out of Students’ Union Membership. If you have opted-out, you may apply to re-join by updating your “communications preferences” at www.bbk.ac.uk/mybirkbeck. You must opt-back-in to Student Union membership by Wednesday 17th January 10AM if you wish to stand or vote for the election.

 

What qualifications and experience do I need to stand?

If you meet our eligibility requirements, that is the only qualification you will need. If you are a student at Birkbeck, your experience will give you all that is needed.

You will start learning about the role from the current officer almost as soon as you are elected. You will get a handover period from and will be given internal and external training throughout the summer to help you fully understand your roles and responsibilities. There will be opportunities for further training over the course of the year.

 

Who can vote?

Any student of Birkbeck, University of London who is currently enrolled and studying at Birkbeck, University of London for the academic year of 2017/18, and have not opted-out of Students’ Union Membership. If you have opted-out, you may apply to re-join by updating your “communications preferences” at www.bbk.ac.uk/mybirkbeck. You must opt-back-in to Student Union membership by Wednesday 17th January 10AM if you wish to stand or vote for the election.

 

Why am I receiving a message about voting?

This is in compliance with the Education Act of 1994 in 22(2)(d) where it says "appointment to major union offices should be by election in a secret ballot in which all members are entitled to vote". Birkbeck Students’ Union aims to ensure that you, as members of the Students’ Union, will be given enough notice and opportunity to vote for student representatives in our election, who will represent you at Birkbeck, University of London.

If you do not wish to receive a message about elections, you must opt-out of the Students’ Union by updating your communications preferences at www.bbk.ac.uk/mybirkbeck. You must opt-out to Student Union membership by Tuesday 17th January 10AM if you wish to stand or vote for the election.

 

Why am I allowed to vote for a Women’s Officer, if I’m not even a woman?

The Liberation Officers (Black, Disabilities, LGBQT, and Women) are paid positions and play a major part in the running of the organisation, their positions are open to all voters, as a result these positions must be open for all students to vote. This is in compliance with the Education Act of 1994 in 22(2)(d) which reads "appointment to major union offices should be by election in a secret ballot in which all members are entitled to vote".

All students who meet our eligibility requirements are eligible to vote for all paid positions. You may vote or abstain from voting these positions if you do not wish to cast your ballot for any of the liberation roles that you do not self-define in.

 

How does voting work?

The Students’ Union uses Transferable Voting. This means you rank candidates in order of preference. This means that you place a 1 next to your favourite candidate. 2 against your 2nd favourite etc. You can rank a single candidate and choose not to rank any other candidates for that given position.

 

Who oversees the elections?

All SU elections are overseen by a Returning Officer who makes sure that they are fair, transparent and successful. The Returning Officer also has an onsite Deputy Returning Officer who runs all of the Elections and ensures that the Elections are fair.

 

Being a Trustee

Birkbeck College Students’ Union is a registered charity with the Charity Commission of England & Wales (No. 1142614), and has adopted an incorporated company (No. 06661477) structure that is limited by guarantee under the Companies Act 2006. It is governed by a Board of Trustees. As well as being a Student Officer, you will also become a trustee of the organisation. Read this article about what a Trustee does!

 

What do Student Officers do?

Please refer to the job descriptions here.

 

Does the elections have rules?

The Students’ Union has a set of elections rules, which ensure that we conduct a free, fair and legal election. Guidance will be issued to cover items such as campaigning etiquette, statement/manifesto word limits, publicity, and conduct of supporters.

  • Only members of the Student Union are able to vote, nominate or be a candidate in this election.

  • Only positive campaigning is allowed in this election. Any candidate who makes negative comments about another candidate may NOT be allowed to take part in the election.

  • Flyers and posters must be pre-approved by the Returning Officer or their agent (Deputy Returning Officer).

  • No expenses are granted for this election. However, the Students’ Union will print up to 300 double sided black and white flyers or equivalent combination of posters and flyers (for free). Flyers and posters may only be printed on the Student Union photocopier. Posters and flyers should be submitted to Sean Fitzpatrick at sean.fitzpatrick@bbk.ac.uk

  • Voting will take place online from Monday 19th February 10AM to Friday 23rd February 1PM.  Each student who is eligible to vote will receive an email with a link to the voting pages of the Students’ Union website (this is the easiest way to vote as there is no need to login). Students will also be able to login to the Students’ Union website to vote. Each student will only be able to vote once. Candidates should encourage students to visit the website www.birkbeckunion.org/elections to vote as part of their campaigning.

  • For the purposes of this election all computers will be considered a polling booth. Both candidates and supporters are not allowed to campaign next to a computer or to stand over a computer whilst a student is using it for voting.

 

If you have any queries please submit them to the Deputy Returning Officer at y.joondan@bbk.ac.uk.

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