Thursday 28 February Round Up

Photograph : Tyler McNally

The evening of Thursday 28 March saw the beginning of the elections in earnest as all candidates received their allocated printed materials of manifestos and posters from the Students” Union. At 5.15pm, all candidates were required to attend a briefing hosted in the Students” Union, where they were reminded of some of the key rules, and where they could pick up their materials.

Although the Students” Union prints material for candidates, each candidate is also given a budget of £60 per person to spend as they wish. Evidently, most candidates chose to spend their allocation on extra posters. It is common practice to reserve the “prime space” of the windows at the front of the Union for postering early in the day. This year, the Student Action ticket arrived at 1:00pm to mark their territory, armed with preprinted colour material. Reportedly, #Backin”Students arrived at 4:oopm, also armed with plenty of coloured posters and flyers, and some incredibly loud neon yellow posters. The helpers in the Students” Union alone numbered at least 30 – and that was a head count of the bodies at the windows only. There were teams of helpers allocated to the Union front and side entrances, as well as to The Space, the Elmwood Teaching and Learning Centre and the MBC well in advance of the announcement that postering may commence.

Strangely, this year, there was no actual announcement to commence. As the first candidates arrived downstairs after their briefing carrying boxes of manifestos, the Students” Union staff used the PA system to give a health and safety announcement reminding posterers not to place any posters above 8 feet from ground level, and not to shove. However, as soon as a voice was heard over the tannoy system, no one actually listened to what they had to say. The posterers, like tightly wound coils sprung into action and there was no turning back.

Putting up posters before the announcement is strictly forbidden, but the announcer seemed to accept their defeat gracefully, and adopted the attitude that their well intentioned announcement was a good enough substitute for “go”. After throughly defacing the SU with posters, most campaigners chose to move towards Elms Village, with RAs reporting their presence in the halls of residence.

The election campaigns are now considered to have started in earnest. Keep an eye out for the Gown”s hard copy Election Special, which contains interviews with all candidates. More importantly, watch this space, will cover every aspect of the campaign trail.

It could be said that it is overly optimistic to assume that an election will be cleanly fought with no candidate on candidate public criticism or accusations, but only the cynics and the overly excitable could claim such a thing. The main component of every election is an unhealthily quantity of Haribo sweets accompanied by an environmental disaster level of leaflets. This year is the first year that the QUBSU elections will be overseen by an independent returning officer. In previous years, the SU Deputy Director, Dominic Doherty has acted as returning officer. However, this year, following a motion passed in SU Council, NUS-USI appointed Keelin McGrogan as independent returning officer, with Dominic Doherty acting as a deputy returning officer. It falls to the returning officer to ensure that the election rules are observed and that all candidates conduct themselves accordingly. I”m sure they have a smooth sailing ahead.


Have a look at the Gown”s Facebook page for some photos of the postering of the Union. If you see yourself, get tagging!

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

One thought on “Thursday 28 February Round Up

  1. Very interested in seeing how the elections are effected by the inclusion of an independent returning officer. One of the common themes in previous SU elections was alleged voting fraud by one or more tickets and fairly compelling evidence of this was reported in The Gown, I wonder will anything be done this year to hold those willing to commit electoral fraud and cheat to account?


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