Durham SU is democratic by design. Thousands of students have already voted in the 19/20 Officer and Trustee elections, using its democratic structure to express their priorities. This shows the strength of student support and a desire for a students' union that champions their interests - and it shows students' willingness to engage in Durham SU’s democracy to shape their Union. It’s clear that students want to raise their voices about what could and should happen at their SU.
While voting is live Durham SU can only respond publicly to clarify ambiguity or processes out of fairness to candidates (including the campaign for Re-Open Nominations), so the ability to engage with student campaigns and their ideas at this time is necessarily and appropriately limited. However, it is evident that Durham SU has a responsibility to recognise the strength of student concern, and to clarify what can and will be done to address it.
Durham SU wants to demonstrate integrity, openness and our confidence that the election is democratic. We also recognise that students should be able to question and seek reassurance on the democratic processes that exist to serve them. The Durham University Secretary has the power, on behalf of the University Council, to require a full, transparent review of these elections (Section D, Durham Students’ Union Code of Practice). Durham SU has asked her to exercise that power, and she has agreed. As such, Durham SU will voluntarily undertake an independent external review of the 2020 Officer and Trustee election, overseen by the University Secretary.
In the next week or so, she’ll pick the person and process for review. The selected reviewer will report to her, and her alone. Durham SU is committed to this process and will fully support the review.
- Durham SU Elections Deputy Returning Officer, Gareth Hughes