If you’re a returning student, you might be familiar with Surrey Decides as the election period by which students choose part-time and full-time officers to represent them within the Students’ Union. Now, for the first time, Surrey Decides has expanded to include the Liberation Committee elections in its online voting process. For the last two years since its creation, all liberation elections were voted upon with hands in the air as a caucus.
Gemma Paine, the current SU President and chair of the liberation committee, explains this change: “The Liberation Committee are an amazing recent addition to the Union committees and this year we cannot wait for the elections to be front and centre of the Union’s activities. The elections are online this year in order to breakdown any barriers there maybe to voting and we hope that anyone who identifies with one of the groups will be taking up this opportunity to influence their union and the decision it makes!”
The Liberation Committee is made up of 8 elected reps from underrepresented sections of the student community, with its main role acting to protect and advance the interests and wellbeing of these groups. Alongside the elected representatives, the President of the Students’ Union, who acts as an intermediary point between both bodies and one member from each of the SU zones sit on the committee. The available positions are:
- Black Students’ Representative
- Arab Students’ Representative
- Women’s Representative
- Trans and Non-Binary Representative
- Asian Students’ Representative
- Non-UK Students’ Representative
- LGBT+ Representative
- Representative for Disability , Neurodiversity and Chronic Illness
Diana Dakik, the current Arab Students’ Representative, explained the importance of being a rep in the committee, and her role in particular: “Being a Liberation Rep can be such a fulfilling role! You are able to turn your negative experiences into positive change and enhance the positive services at Surrey. Being an Arap Rep in particular can be challenging; the Arab community is extremely active outside of the Union/University but don’t engage with Union politics or try and enforce change within Surrey. The role of Arab Rep remains an important one in order to safeguard the interests of the Arab community but also to ensure that the systematic biases can be chipped away from the Union as well as the University.
It is a fulfilling, educational and flexible role and it is so worth it!”’
Currently, nominations are still open until the 11th of October (this Friday) at 12:00, and at 18:00 on the same day candidates are expected to attend an information session about the elections. Candidates will then have until the 14th of October to upload their manifesto, after which voters will have the opportunity to get to know the prospective representatives better in a livestream that will take place before voting opens on the 15th at 18:00. The voting period will remain open until for 72 hours until the 18th of October.
For more information on running or voting, please visit the Surrey Decides page on the Students Union website.