Cross campus elections are open to all students. Any registered student at the University of Bath, in whatever, year, whether postgraduate or undergraduate, home or international, may stand and vote.
Some elections are limited to the members of a particular group. For example, only postgraduates may stand for, or may vote in, elections for the Postgraduate Association Executive (not to be confused with the election for the Postgraduate Officer, where only postgraduates may stand but any student may vote).
The following rules apply to all elections, referenda and policy. The Returning Officer may stipulate further rules for individual campaigns.
Returning Officer and Chair of Elections Committee
The Returning Officer (RO) for all elections, except for a NUS referendum, is NUS.
The Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) is Andrew McLaughlin, Students’ Union Chief Executive.
The Chair of Elections Committee is Matt Hewitt.
They can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting Returning Officer
Elections which relate to a particular area and where candidates are voted for by other students within the same group, are directly overseen by Acting Returning Officers (ARO). The AROs are the SU Officers responsible for the area. Their powers are delegated by the RO and DRO and they remain responsible to the RO and DRO for the conduct of these elections.
Any questions or queries you have about an area election should in the first instance be directed to the relevant Acting RO. If there is any doubt, the ARO should consult the DRO or Chair of Elections Committee.
All rulings on the interpretation of the rules shall be made by the RO/DRO/ARO.
Any queries regarding the rules should be made to the DRO/ARO, email@example.com and before engaging in any action that may be in breach of the rules.
Within these rules, campaigns/campaigners refer to the proponents and campaign teams of all democratic processes, such as referenda, policy and elections. When dealing only with the election of a student to a position, the term candidates is used.
- Campaigners must act in the interests of a fair election.
- Campaigners must treat all others with respect. This includes engaging in healthy debate and not campaigning negatively.
- Campaigners should only undertake activity which others can also reasonably do.
- All candidates and proposers are accountable for the actions of anyone acting on their behalf.
This includes being able to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to ensure that their supporter’s actions comply with the campaign rules in the event of a complaint against them.?
- Campaigners will make no unsubstantiated claims of another campaign, person or organisation.
- Campaigners may only alter, move or remove their own campaign materials.
- Expenses can only be incurred for Policy, Referendum, SU Officer, and NUS Delegate Elections.
- SU Officer campaigns must not exceed £50 in expenditure, of which £10 will be reimbursed from the SU.
- Referendum campaigns must not exceed £50 in expenditure, of which £50 will be reimbursed from the SU.
- Policy and NUS Delegate Election campaigns must not exceed £20 in expenditure, of which none of the cost will be reimbursed from the SU
- All campaigners must submit all their campaign costs with receipts to the Deputy Returning Officer. The final deadline for expenses will be made clear for each individual election. If no expenditure is incurred this must be declared to the Deputy Returning Officer.
- Items freely and readily available to all campaigners can be used without deduction from expenses and can be used without itemisation.
- Plain shirts will be expensed at £1 each regardless of cost. Printed shirts and transfer papers must be expensed at cost.
- Campaign teams cannot exceed 15 people in total, in which a detailed list of campaigners must be submitted to the Deputy Returning Officer before campaigning begins.
Candidates, proposers and proponents are included within this limit.
- Campaigners may not use mailing lists.
- Campaigning cannot occur in the following places:
- The Library
- Outside the Advice and Support Centre
- Student Services
- Campaigners can only put up banners on campus during SU Officer Elections.
- Campaigners must allow voters to cast their ballot freely and without interference.
All electronic devices are counted as ballot papers in this context
- Student groups and SU Officers cannot endorse any candidate, but students may in a personal capacity.
This is to ensure elections remain open and accessible to all students and that the process is fair.?
- Candidates must not run on a slate.
Slates are categorised by the same platform or manifesto promises normally along with similar branding and/or asking their supporters and the electorate to support another candidate.?
- Campaigners may have to attend mandatory meetings. These will be made clear for the relevant election.
- Campaigns should be fully transparent and accountable to The SU.
- Manifestos must be submitted before the close of nominations and cannot exceed 500 words.
Breach of Rules
- All rulings on the interpretation of the rules will be made by the Returning Officer or their nominated representative. Interpretation will be in the interest of the electorate above all others.
- Elections rules are in addition to general SU and University rules and regulations, and the Law.
- If a breach of these rules has occurred, the Returning Officer or their nominated representative may apply a sanction.
- Sanctions can include, but are not limited to:
- A public warning
- Temporary campaign ban
- Complaints, grievances and appeals must follow the grievance procedure.
- Members of staff shall not become actively involved in the politics of The SU, or be encouraged to do so, and shall remain neutral during elections.
SU Staff in this context are University employees who work under the direction of the Chief Executive and do not apply to SU Officers or Student Staff when not in work. A more detailed explanation of the relationship between staff and The SU can be found in Regulation 8.
- Members of staff can be approached for professional advice and shall give information equally to all campaigners.
Any full member of the Students’ Union can submit an election grievance if they believe a candidate’s behaviour during an election is in breach of the rules.
How to submit a grievance
Grievances will normally only be accepted within 24 hours from the incident and if emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. No grievances will be accepted after 1 hour from the close of voting.
All outstanding grievances will be resolved before the conduct of the count. The only accepted grievances after this will be in relation to the count itself, and must be submitted within 1 hour of the announcement of the results.
What happens next?
Grievance submissions will be considered by the Deputy Returning Officer in consultation with the Elections Chair and Committee. They will decide whether to accept (uphold) or reject the grievance, and you will be notified in writing with any resulting action.
What information should a grievance contain?
To help the Deputy Returning Officer consider your grievance, it should be factual and contain clear evidence about the complaint. Grievances that are comprising of hearsay or activity that does not directly affect you may not be successful. The Deputy Returning Officer reserves the right to consider grievances as vexatious and may take disciplinary action accordingly.
If a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the grievance, they may be able to request the opportunity to appeal. A request for an appeal should be on the following grounds, including but not confined to:
- a review of the procedures followed at the grievance stage
- a consideration of whether the outcome was reasonable in all the circumstances
- new material evidence which the student was unable, for valid reasons, to provide earlier in the process
The appeal stage will not usually consider the issues afresh or involve a further investigation.
Appeals must be made in writing no later than 1 hour of the decision and must be submitted in the normal procedure outlined above. This will normally be considered by the Returning Officer.
They will decide whether to accept (uphold) or reject the appeal, and you will be notified in writing with any resulting action.
A member of the SU may appeal to the Board of Trustees against a ruling of the Returning Officer but such an appeal will only be successful if supported by a two thirds majority of all Trustees. The Board of Trustees’ decision will be final.