The SA Elections have come and gone, and many have opinions about the results. IGNITE spoke to past and current SA Executives, as well as students, to get their thoughts on the elections.
Aqeel Deen (SA President 2015/16)
Former SA President, Aqeel Deen, believes that the Election Commission (EC) and the election candidates themselves deserve credit for ensuring that the elections were carried out in good spirits. He admits that it is difficult to get every student invested and involved unless they have a personal reason to do so. He says:
“It is crucial that more students put their hands up and get involved. Sadly there can be only one elected officer but the elections provide a good platform to voice student concerns as well as for students to improve on their presentability.”
Aqeel also adds that, “I myself gained invaluable experience in my first attempt at the SA and this experience helped me succeed the following year. This year’s results didn’t surprise me, except for the close tie between the ISO candidates. I am pleased to see female leadership going strong at UNMC, and now having another female SA President encourages more girls to take up these positions. The Student Association is a representation of the entire campus and those who’ve been able to appeal to the entire student body could be seen as the successful executives-elect.”
Additionally, Aqeel believes that the hustings should be more concise, as students do not have the time to attend and participate for a long period.
Sheryar Nawaz Khan (Presidential Candidate)
Presidential candidate Sheryar Nawaz Khan offered his congratulations to the winners. He also gave his commiserations to those who were defeated in the elections. He says:
“I would like to extend my sincerest support and wishes to all of the new SA Execs. And to the candidates, who lost, I would like to say there is always a dawn after every twilight.”
Miflal Fayaz (Returning Officer)
Returning Officer, Miflal Fayaz had this to say regarding the elections:
“In my opinion, this year’s elections was a great success. We had minimal complaints and the voting period was much smoother compared to last year’s elections. The overall voter turnout was 33.5 % which isn’t so bad, when compared to last year’s 35.9% especially considering this year’s voting period has only 4 days while last year had 6 days.”
Miflal believes that there were significant differences between the number of votes obtained by the winning candidates and their closest competitor for most of the positions, with the exception of the ISO. He says:
“I believe next year’s SA Executive team shows a lot of potential and promise to the students of UNMC. Hopefully they will be able to achieve their manifesto goals and improve the student experience in UNMC.”
Ollie Ross (UK Campus Exchange Student)
Ollie Ross, an exchange student from the UK campus, voiced his concern about some of the limitations of the elections.
“I had already ‘registered to vote’ from the email sent out after some people didn’t receive their email initially. It still didn’t work and they sent me an email in response. I spoke to last year’s returning officer and he said they had the same IT problem. It was hundreds of students last year that didn’t get to vote. It seems like it must have been a pretty simple error to solve.” He adds:
“I saw a friend vote, and he was really annoyed that there was no abstain vote, so he voted to re-open nominations for some positions, which he didn’t really want to do.”
Saajit Irfahn (Presidential Candidate)
For Saajit Irfahn, who ran for the position of SA President, taking part in the SA elections was a special experience.
“It was really fun as I learnt the process that goes into campaigning. Although I didn’t win I am really glad that I took part as I managed to meet lot of new people.” He also says that:
“For the candidates who won, I wish them the best of luck and I see lot of potential in them, as all of them seemed very enthusiastic during their hustings.”
Although not elected, he hopes that he will be able to talk to the management and push through some of the promises that he had made in his manifesto.
Sasha Amira Home Students Officer 2016/17
Current Home Students’ Officer, Sasha Amira, was melancholic as she reflected on the time she has spent as an SA Executive.
“When the elections were over, it felt empty. Not because my term was ending but because my time with the other executives were coming to an end. Some of them I won’t spend as much time with, but some I probably won’t ever see again (as they’re graduating and heading back to their respective countries).”
However, she has high hopes for the incoming batch, and she believes that they will work hard. She says:
“With this year’s batch, I hope they have each other’s backs and create plenty of memories together while growing and learning more and more each day. They are good people, and I believe they will work hard too.”
Suma Khalid Mohamed (Faculty of Science Representative)
Suma Khalid Mohamed, the representative of the Faculty of Science, believes that the elections this year were successful.
“There were a lot of candidates applying for positions, especially for the position of Vice-President and President. I also noticed that the many of the candidates did a lot of research. They put in a lot of effort into their campaigns and hustings. Most of them knew what they were doing and were well prepared to further elaborate on their manifestos.”
What are your thoughts on the elections? Let us know!
Written by Saran Anandan and Dinesh Jayabalan