Vote Michael Chessum in the ULU Presidential elections

As the current Vice President of the University of London Union (ULU), I wish to publicly state my support for Michael Chessum in the ULU Presidential Elections.

Michael has been a tireless campaigner in the student movement, with vast experience as an organiser, a campaigner and as a source of ideas. He helped to found the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) in 2010 and was a central figure in the wave of student mobilisation which was sparked off by the NUS demonstration in November 2010.

Since then Michael was been key to pushing the NUS to call another national demonstration, both from his position on the NUS National Executive Committee and as a central organiser of the NCAFC demonstrations which helped the student movement maintain momentum in the absence of NUS leadership.

Michael was also an efficient and respected sabbatical officer at UCL and has a deep knowledge of the higher education sector.

These are the qualities that ULU needs to continue the work of rebuilding relationships with London students and placing the union at the heart of campaigning in the city. Michael’s emphasis on housing, liberation and anti-fascism match my own campaigning areas and together we can turn ULU into a powerful vehicle for change.

Full info on how to vote here: http://ulu.co.uk/elections

2 comments

  1. Dear Dan,
    Do you think it’s appropriate for you to be endorsing a candidate? I know that at UCL, sitting Sabbatical officers are banned from supporting any candidate who may succeed them. I’m also worried that if another candidate wins, you will have made it impossible for them to work effectively with them. I’d be interested to hear your views.
    Thanks!

    1. Hey Yisroel,

      I resigned from the elections committee before I came out in support of Michael. I have checked, and had it confirmed with the ULU Returning officer that to publicly support a candidate, once one has given notice of departure to the committee Chair, is in line with the elections rule book.

      In my election I promised to expand and improve ULU’s democratic functioning. Over the last few months I have done this rigorously. This has involved talking to universities about releasing their elections data, making sure we got all of the data in time during an irregular elections period for ULU. I have promoted the elections on campuses across ULU – we now have a record 6 candidates at a time when the consensus was that we would not be able to find any candidates at all. I have organised for student volunteers to flyer to promote the elections and hold polling booths during the elections on all but 3 of the ULU campuses. Students’ unions have been consulted, reported to, and asked for their opinions on the elections as a whole. The elections committee has a senate representative, and the elections have been made the principal business of Senate. I have done my job as ULU VP/President to fairly, openly and democratically encourage students to take up the elections, as well as vote. In fact, better than any VP has done for many years.

      But this is a political election, and a political question. There are a series of candidates with varying programmes and ideas on the future of ULU. I am not a neutral observer, or here just to put together the mechanics of the election. I want the next leader of the organisation to share my political aims. Michael fits with my vision of ULU as a credible and active organ, with a focus on housing and liberation. The election regulations avow this – current sabbatical officers are able to back candidates for elections.

      Also, I think people should declare their political affiliations, or support for a candidate. It would be worse if I pretended to be a dispassionate or impartial witness to the elections. It would be dishonest and undemocratic that members were unaware of my support for a certain candidate, and that the information was hidden. Open and publicly available information is the basis of a democratic election.

      All of this is not counterposed to the work I have done previously, and I think it is mistaken to suggest that this would “undermine” the elections. To do that would misunderstand what the election is about, and what has gone on in the months leading up to it.

      If Michael isn’t elected I will of course work with any of the candidates, and act professionally. Sure, I may not have backed them but we are grown ups and here to do a job. I didn’t share the politics of my fellow sabbs at RHUL last year, neither did I back them to get the post, but once we were there, we got on with it, recognising that the student body had chosen their lead officers. I am sure any person elected to the post would have a similar understanding.

      To come out in support of Michael doesn’t undermine the values of ULU, or mean that the elections aren’t being scrutinised properly. The elections rules have been upheld , and the elections committee is functioning properly. The committee is scrutinising the running of the elections from the start and will do to the end on Friday and, lastly, are ensuring the elections are run efficiently. In fact these have been the best run elections in years: in large part, that is down to my political commitment to making them that way.

      Cheers,
      Daniel

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