Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) has announced by-election results for various Convenor and National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland and UK positions.
The results were announced at a sparsely-attended event in the Teviot Debating Hall on Thursday October 7.
EUSA President Briana Pegado first took the stage, followed by Vice President Societies and Activities (VPSA) Eve Livingston, then Vice President Services (VPS) Tasha Boardman, and finally Vice President Academic Affairs (VPAA) Dash Sekhar. The sabbatical officers announced results in no particular order.
The Convenor elections were marred by low turnout, with the position of Health in Social Science Convenor drawing three votes. The winner, Alan Tam, was elected with just two votes.
NUS election statistics were not projected at the event due to software limitations preventing all of the candidates’ names being displayed simultaneously.
However, full results available on EUSA’s website show that the NUS Scotland and NUS UK elections attracted 255 and 381 votes, respectively. Pegado was the only sabbatical officer to fail to be elected to either NUS Scotland or UK, where in the first round she won five and 11 votes, respectively, after not submitting a manifesto for either position.
The night was plagued by technical problems which interrupted proceedings several times. During one of the later interruptions, Sekhar asked the audience: “Why did the mushroom go to the party?”
A member of the audience called out almost instantly: “Because he was a fungi!” to much applause. The member then stood up and started walking to the exit, at which point Sekhar called out, “Why did the fungi leave the party?”
After a moment’s wait, he finished: “Because there wasn’t mushroom!” to more applause.
A further error occurred when Urte Macikenaite was announced as a winner in the NUS UK election; this nominee was, in fact, defeated, and Theo Robertson-Bonds was actually elected in the first round.
Speaking to The Student, Robertson-Bonds said: “It is shambolic that it took further enquiry to determine that the NUS delegate results were invalid, and further to this, it was embarrassing to a great number of candidates, including myself.
“This is a repeated, annual occurrence, and EUSA’s returning officer needs to take responsibility for these appalling missteps which have become normalcy in the course of EUSA elections.”
Following the event, Sekhar told The Student: “Turnout was higher than last year. Turnout was in the late 800s. This wasn’t dramatically more than last year, regardless of the fact that we had double the number of candidates. With more candidates you would expect more votes. Perhaps we need to give more support to candidates running.”