Spring Elections FAQs

BY-ELECTION 2021

Please see here for the notice of the By-Election.

WHAT IS A BY-ELECTION?

A by-election is an election to fill a vacant position that has arisen during an Officer’s term in Office. This by-election is being combined with the Spring Elections.

WHY IS BIRKBECK STUDENTS' UNION HOLDING A BY-ELECTION?

 One of our Student Leaders has resigned from their post and the Board of Trustees has voted to run a by-election to fill the vacant Student Leader position for the remainder of the 2020/2021 academic year.

WHAT ARE THE STUDENT LEADER'S RESPONSIBILITIES?

• Represent Birkbeck students

• Lobby the College for change

• Run campaigns, events and activities

• Attend College meetings and committees

• Sit on Academic Panels

• Student Leaders are members of Birkbeck Students’ Union’s Board of Trustees

• Student Leaders are Student Governors for Birkbeck College.

You can find more about all of the Officer positions here.

IS THE STUDENT LEADER ROLE PAID OR VOLUNTARY?

Our Student Leader positions are paid representative positions. Our Student Leaders are part-time positions, 21 hours a week and they are paid £10.85 per hour (London Living Wage). Any hours that our Officer complete in their roles as trustees are voluntary hours. This is the same for each of the roles on the Officer Team.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RUN IN THIS ELECTION?

To run in these elections, you must be a current enrolled student at Birkbeck College. The Students’ Union will run checks to ensure that all Candidates are eligible to run in these elections.

You can nominate yourself here.

HOW LONG WILL I BE IN OFFICE IF I WIN THE BY-ELECTION?

If you’re elected into the by-elected Student Leader position, you will be an Officer for the remainder of the academic year. You will finish your term on the 31st June 2021.

If you are elected into any of the Officer Team roles for 2021-22, you will be an Officer from July 1st 2021 – 31st June 2022.

If you are elected as NUS Delegate, you will be required to represent students at the NUS National Conference, 6th - 8th April 2021.

CAN I RUN FOR STUDENT LEADER IN BOTH THE 2020-21 BY-ELECTION AND 2021-22 ELECTION?

You can run for the Student Leader position in both the 2020/21 by-election and the 2021/22 election, providing you have not already completed a term as an Officer at Birkbeck Students’ Union.

Please note, any elected students are only allowed to be in office for a maximum of two terms. If you are elected into the Student Leader position for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year, this will count as one full term.

I AM CURRENTLY A MEMBER OF STUDENT COUNCIL, CAN I RUN IN THIS BY-ELECTION?

If you are a member of Student Council, you are absolutely able to run in this by-election. However, if you are elected into this position, you will have to leave your position on Council, as our Student Leaders (and other paid elected officers) already hold seats on our student Council.

I AM CURRENTLY A UNION OFFICER, CAN I RUN IN THISBY-ELECTION?

If you are currently an Officer at Birkbeck Students’ Union, you can run for this position. If you are successful, you will have to stand down from your current role and you will hold the Student Leader role until the end of this term (31st June 2021).

WHAT IF I HAVE ANY QUESTIONS THAT HAVEN'T BEEN ANSWERED HERE?

If you have any questions that have not been answered in these FAQs you can find more information in our by-election announcement. You can also head to our Elections Hub on our website and if you still have any questions you can contact the Deputy Returning Officer, Cayleigh, on c.morgan@bbk.ac.uk

ELECTIONS FAQs

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RUN IN THESE ELECTIONS?

To run in these elections you must be a current enrolled student at Birkbeck College. The Students’ Union will run checks to ensure that all Candidates are eligible to run in these elections.

WHAT IS AN OFFICER TRUSTEE?

The Students’ Union is led by the Elected Officers, who make up part of the Executive Committee, the working group that shapes the Union. The Officers are elected each year in our Spring Elections, which consists of a cross-campus ballot and any registered student is eligible to vote or stand in the elections. The Officers are elected on manifestos which highlight the priorities they want to work on throughout the year in Office. During the year, Union staff and Officers work to deliver these priorities and improve the student experience at Birkbeck. All of our Paid Officers are members of the Students’ Union’s Board of Trustees.

WHAT IS THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES?

The 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. The Trustees of the Union, are also company directors as well as charity trustees. The Trustees formally meet around six times each financial year. The Trustees are responsible for the good governance, financial stability and strategy of the Union.

WHAT IS THE STUDENT COUNCIL?

Student Council is made up of elected Student Councilors and Officers and is the major policy making body of the Students’ Union. Any student (who has not opted out of Students’ Union membership) is able to submit motions or policy to Council. Elected members of Council vote on whether or not the motions become Students’ Union policy.

WHAT IS THE NUS?

The National Union of Students (NUS) is an organisation that brings together 700 Students’ Unions around the country in a confederation that unites to create changes for students nationally. Birkbeck is one of the Students’ Unions who are affiliated to NUS.

WHAT IS AN NUS DELEGATE?

Every year NUS holds their ‘National Conference’ and each Union has an assigned number of delegates that they are allowed to send. Birkbeck has 3 delegate places at NUS National Conference. Our delegates will attend this conference on behalf of all Birkbeck Students to vote on and make policy that will lead the work that NUS carry out throughout the following years.

HOW DO I NOMINATE MYSELF?

There is a simple guide that will show you how to nominate yourself on pages 8 and 9 of this elections handbook. To nominate yourself head over to birkbeckunion.org/elections and click the ‘Nominate Yourself’ button. If you have any issues nominating yourself, please email our Student Voice Coordinator at c.morgan@bbk.ac.uk.

ARE THESE ROLES PAID?

Our Student Leaders and Liberation Officers are paid positions and they are both paid £10.85 (London Living Wage). The NUS Delegate position is a voluntary role, which means that you will not be paid in these roles. The Students’ Union will cover the costs of our NUS Delegates attending National Conference.

WHEN CAN I START CAMPAIGNING?

You can start asking students to vote for you and distributing materials from 1pm on Monday 22nd March 2021 until 1pm on Friday 26th March 2021. Any campaigning before this time is against the elections rules and could result in sanctions on your campaign or even disqualification from the elections. This is to ensure that every candidate has equal and fair campaign times. If you have any questions or doubts, email c.morgan@bbk.ac.uk.

DO I GET TRAINING?

The Students’ Union will provide training at all stages of your elections experience. There is a Nominations Workshop, Candidate training  and we will hold a briefing/training session for all successful candidates, once they have started their roles. Find details on the Elections Hub here.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I BREAK THE RULES?

The Returning Officer will review your case and grant a penalty if deemed necessary, to enforce a free and fair election. Rule breaks could potentially disqualify you or even stop the elections altogether.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SEE OTHERS BREAK THE RULES?

If you see a candidate breaking any of the election rules, you should email your complaint to the Deputy Returning Officer on c.morgan@bbk.ac.uk. One you have submitted your complaint, you will receive a response from the DRO within 24 hours. All complaints need to be submitted to the DRO by 2pm on Friday 26th March 2021.

HOW DO I GET OTHERS TO VOTE FOR ME?

Once voting is open, students can vote by going to birkbeckunion.org/elections and there will be a button that allows them to vote. We recommend that you include this link in your promotional material, so students know where to go to vote for you. Voting is only open between 1pm on Monday 22nd March and will close at 1pm on Friday 26th March 2021.

WHAT IF I HAVE A QUESTION THAT HAS NOT BEEN ANSWERED HERE?

If this handbook and FAQs leave you with some unanswered questions, feel free to email our Student Voice Coordinator, Cayleigh, on c.morgan@bbk.ac.uk.