By Amy Slack, Features Editor
If The Gown’s recent posts and articles haven’t already made abundantly clear, it’s election season again – a time which seems to come complete with its own jargon. If you’re not closely involved with SU politics, some of the terms being thrown around can seem completely alien. So here’s a few of the more unusual words you might hear, complete with explanations to help give you a sense of what’s happening in this year’s elections:
Short for Sabbatical Officer, ‘sabb’ is often used as shorthand for referring to one of the seven elected officers who make up the SU team: the President and six VPs. The terminology changes year on year – this time around the SU are calling the positions ‘Student Leaders,’ while last year they were the ‘Super Seven Student Officers.’
Since neither title includes the word ‘sabbatical,’ it’s no wonder why ‘sabb’ sometimes seems like a confusing replacement, but it basically refers to the fact that elected officers can take a sabbatical (year out) from their studies while they take on the role.
A traditional word for a debate between nominated candidates – think the SU equivalent of Question Time. Hustings are open for all students to come and ask any candidates questions about their manifestos, as well as providing a chance to put candidates on the spot about what they really think. Questions can’t be asked directly to a single candidate, but to all nominees running for the same position, meaning that students get a great opportunity to see how the candidates compare with one another.
This year’s hustings will take place tomorrow (Monday 2nd March) at 1.15pm in the SU Lounge.
Those around for the 2014 elections might be familiar with this one. An acronym for ‘Re-Open Nominations,’ it features as an alternative option in every vote. If voters are unhappy with all the candidates on the ballot, they can choose to vote RON. Should RON achieve a majority, the Union has to start the nominations process again, in the hope that new candidates will put themselves forward.
When six of the seven positions had only one candidate stand for nomination last year, many students began to promote RON as a serious alternative to these candidates essentially reaching office uncontested.
When several nominees join together to campaign, they are said to be ‘running on a ticket.’ A ticket can be anything from two candidates working together to a whole group of seven students collectively running for all available positions, with the aim of all being elected into office together.
Tickets also usually campaign under a group name: last year saw six members of the ‘Breaking Thru’ ticket reach office, while in 2013 Backin’ Students and Student Action competed for the student vote.