After the results and the initial uproar following the elections, things went quiet for a while. I assumed that the right action had been taken and those who were involved had been spoken to and it had been dealt with.
Then a few weeks after it all calmed down, I received an email that I was not expecting.
The university Board of Governors had met, and they had a discussion about the DSU elections for 2018/19 and the concerns involved; particularly about the voting system and the use of iPads and other electronic devices.
They were concerned that the votes weren’t fairly and properly conducted, and they weren’t satisfied with the overall outcomes. Understandable.
They deliberated about the possibility of a full re-election. However, that decision was still to be drawn.
Before this decision was discussed and made, either way, the full-time and part-time electives were asked to write a form of written feedback and statement based on their thoughts of a re-election. Though I was considerably anxious about what was going to happen, I did appreciate that they did value our voices and opinions.
Though I appreciate this, I was sad that I couldn’t make it to Leicester personally to give my opinion in person. It was short notice and the way the trains work in the UK meant that I could not travel without a longer notice period so the station could get a ramp onto the train.
On the other hand, when I explained the situation to the SU, they arranged a phone call with me instead.
I cannot remember the phone call conversation that followed. It was just a buzz while I was trying to comprehend everything that I was told. I was on the phone with her for over an hour and I came off absolutely drained, I just hope I was able to make my point.
I submitted a statement against a re-election…
I expressed my dismay and great upset at a delay of decision about the student elections. As it had been such a long time since the elections and we had not heard anything, I assumed that those roles where candidates have clearly cheated had been dealt with and the rest of the roles stood as they were.
Now over two months later, it has been decided that there is going to be a re-election. A shock and a crushing blow. It felt like I was being punished for a few people’s actions. Maybe I am a little prejudice here as I was successful but this re-election is going to have a huge impact on the successful and honest candidates.
Many of the students who voted last time would have graduated by the time the re-election takes place. The first years have only just arrived, terrified out their wits and trying to settle into the Uni world. They’ll have too much to think about without worrying about an election.
This would affect the record-breaking 6,000 votes that were cast and result, which leads to an overall unsatisfactory result.
I am just upset that the majority of candidates are being punished and penalised for the actions of a few candidates when there is no proof that the majority of us have acted otherwise. Every candidate put a lot of time and energy into the original elections and now I feel all that time and effort count for nothing.
The re-election would reduce the number of time candidates could not engage with their fellow students and express their stances behind the role they have chosen to run for to the level they intend to. This greatly disappoints the candidates themselves as well as the potential voters. I also felt if there was a re-election, I would lose faith from a number of students because of the actions of others.
I hoped it was the end of it months back. As the new Disability Representative, I already started pre-planning my aims and goals that I had promised the students in my manifesto.
There will be a significantly reduced amount of time after the re-election and this will affect my aims and goals. I feel this will affect my ability to assist and support disabled students and as a result, affect my chances of being elected again.
I know from personal experience that disabled students would benefit from all of the support possible at the beginning of their university experience to enable them to hit the ground running with minimal difficulties. I also think it’s going to be easier and more beneficial to support them if I can solve issues and problems as they arise as opposed to allowing them to escalate and become harder to solve in the time there is.
I will not say any problem or issue in unmanageable. I am not easily defeated.
I am not one to play the ‘disability card’ but I expressed that I am a disabled student with mental health issues and it would take me more time and concentration to organise everything associated with a new election. I agree that if I had won originally, I would have a great deal of work to do as part of the role but I would have had the necessary training and time to prepare and I would be able to manage it. But with a re-election, I feel it would have a negative effect on my university experience.
Once I submitted my statement regarding the possibility of a re-election, I anxiously awaited a response. There was such a delay in a response, I was unable to attend the elective training, which was a disappointment. I really was ambitious about this training and couldn’t wait to do it. But oh well. I had bigger items to occupy my mind.
The longer the time went on, the more anxious I became. A part of me just wished for a decision. I wanted it to be over.
A bigger crashing blow came in a form of an email.
The Board of Governors had come to a final decision regarding the elections. The Board of Governors had decided that the results of the elections in March would not stand which would prevent us from taking up our role and there will be a re election. Although the Board of Governors considered my frustration that I felt and my statement they feel that this would be the fairest way forward to deal with the predicament that it was.
I can not even describe how much anger and upset I felt towards the decision. For a long time I felt numb, like I couldn’t process it right.
Although I was expecting this decision, I couldn’t help but hope it would turn out the other way. I was unable to manage the disappointment and upset within me and I realised that this amount of disappointment and upset intensified by the fact that I began to hope for the other alternative.
The Student Union offered us support following this announcement and I appreciated this, but I was too upset to pay attention to any of that as the news had come at a sudden and painful hit.
However, I will keep this offer of support in mind in case I need to access it before I start back at De Montfort University after summer. I may be able to think more clearly then and find it somewhat useful.
I am massively disappointed by these turns of events and I have anxieties about what is to come. I have tried to live in the moment, and not think to hard about everything else. I have been attempting to find comfort in the university’s offer to help, while more discussions are taking place, but it is difficult to manage my emotions towards all of this.
I understand that the university has a great number of students to cater for but my mind focuses on my own journey as well as a group of friends that ran. I feel only by focusing on ourselves first can we help and support our fellow students in their university experience.
I am not exactly aware of when the re-elections will take place and how it will happen to prevent this happening again. Although I am getting Impatient and want to receive some news regarding the new date, I guess I understand that various more meetings are yet to be had to healthily discuss any suitable plans have been put into place to ensure there is no repeat of what happened originally.
All I can do now is anxiously await correspondence of details regarding the re-election process and where we all stand.
Thinking it through, over and over again, I have decided on standing for the role of Disability Representative once again. I agree that it is going to be challenging, especially embarking into my 3rd year but I earned that role and my conscious in clear and I really want to feel a sense of pride when I become a candidate in the elections.
But. Of all years, why did this have to happen on the year I won the role of Disability Representative. Why?