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Durham University

Department of Physics

Course Representative Elections

Course Representative (Course Reps) Elections 2018/19

Rules and Regulations

1. General information

These rules and regulations apply to the elections of course representatives (Course reps) for all departments at undergraduate level and are designed to provide guidance to staff, students and course reps on how to stand as a candidate and vote for their representative. For information on postgraduate representation, please contact the relevant department in the first instance.

Students interested in standing for a course rep position should also read the following documentation, if not already done so:

Course rep role description;

Principles of Student Academic Representation;

Policy Statement on Student Representation – Student-Staff Consultative Committees.

These rules and regulations are subject to amendment at any time until nominations open, where appropriate and as agreed by the Academic Officers and the Curriculum, Learning and Assessment Service; all candidates will be informed in good time of any changes. The only exception to this shall be to extend the deadline for nominations and/or voting, as outlined in Section 3.3.

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and appropriate manner when standing in a course rep election, and be courteous to their fellow candidates. All students and candidates must act in the interests of a fair and democratic election.

The course rep elections are conducted in line with the Principles of Student Academic Representation, as approved by the University Education Committee and the Students’ Union Articles of Association and Standing Orders. Candidates are expected to adhere to the principles, as well as the rules and regulations as detailed within this document. Students are reminded that their conduct must also be line with the University General Regulations and the Respect at Work and Study Code or Practice, Policy and Procedures.

2. Positions elected

The University Education Committee, in partnership with the Students’ Union, has responsibility for approving the operation of the course rep system on an annual basis. Following a detailed review of the undergraduate course representative system in 2015/16, undertaken in partnership between the Students’ Union and University, it was agreed that a minimum of two representatives, per year, per department would be elected. Where necessary, exceptions to this expectation have been agreed in advance by the appropriate Deputy Head of Faculty and the Students’ Union (in all instances this is to increase the number of representatives). Full details of how many positions are available within each department are available on the course rep section of Durham University Online (DUO).

Whilst students are elected to the position of ‘course rep’, candidates are reminded that course reps will be expected to represent the views of all students, in the same year, within the department, on the Student-Staff Consultative Committee (SSCC).

Course reps are elected in October and, if they are a continuing student, they will serve until November the following year; this is to ensure that there is a handover between outgoing and incoming representatives. It is expected that newly elected course reps will shadow outgoing course reps at the first SSCC meeting of the year (usually held in October/November).

Should you have any questions about the number of positions within your department, please contact Richard Bruce, Education Policy Coordinator (Students’ Union) in the first instance on r.s.bruce@durham.ac.uk.

3. Nominations

1. Eligibility

All students enrolled on an undergraduate programme at Durham University are eligible to stand for a course rep position. Candidates will only be permitted to stand in an election if they are studying at least 60 credits within that department. Part time students are eligible to stand in the election. Students on study abroad are not permitted to stand in the election as they will be unable to attend the SSCC meetings.

Candidates must understand what the role of course rep involves and must read the role description before self-nominating for a position. If you have any questions about the role, please contact the Students’ Union (r.s.bruce@durham.ac.uk) in good time, and before the close of nominations deadline (5pm on Friday 12 October 2018).

2. Limitations

Individuals may not stand in the election for more than one course rep position within the same department, but students are permitted to stand for a position in more than one department, if eligible to do so. Any duplicate nominations received for the same position will be manually deleted from the elections system. If candidates change their mind before voting starts and wish to stand for a different position, please contact colleagues in CIS on extn: 49178 or 42759 to edit the nomination.

3. Timing

Nominations will open for all candidates at 9am on Monday 8 October 2018. Nominations will close at 5pm on Friday 12 October 2018. The Students’ Union, in consultation with the Curriculum, Learning and Assessment Service, reserves the right to extend the nominations period and advertise this decision accordingly.

The nomination period and/or voting period will only be extended under exceptional circumstances and in consultation between the Students’ Union and the Academic Support Office, and advertised accordingly. The nomination period cannot be extended beyond the start of voting at 9am on Monday 15 October 2018. The voting period would not normally be extended beyond 9am on Monday 22 October 2018.

Voting will open for all students on 9am Monday 15 October 2018. Voting will close at 5pm on Friday 19 October 2018.

The results of the election will be announced by the Students’ Union on Monday 22 October 2018. Elected course representatives will be emailed with key information on Tuesday 23 October 2018.

4. Process

All candidates must be self-nominated. Students cannot nominate a fellow student for election but are encouraged to invite fellow students to stand should they feel that they would be good for the role.

Candidates should log onto the elections portal through DUO and select the ‘My Elections’ tab to see the elections for which they are eligible to stand in. Candidates must state their real name or the name by which they are known. Students are encouraged to submit a short manifesto, although this is not compulsory. Any manifestos uploaded by candidates should express why they wish to run and why students should vote for them, and not exceed 100 words.

The manifesto should be suitable to the audience, non-offensive, and relevant to the purpose of the elections and not defame or libel any other candidates or individuals. Any manifesto not considered suitable, as assessed by the Students’ Union, in conjunction with the Academic Support Office, will be removed; candidates will be notified of this and offered the opportunity to re-submit before the close of nominations. Candidates are therefore encouraged to upload a manifesto as early as possible to ensure that any problems can be dealt with efficiently. Manifestos must be uploaded before the close of nominations on 5pm on Friday 12 October 2018. Manifestos cannot be uploaded after this time (unless the nomination deadline has been extended; see section 3.3).

If the elections system erroneously allows candidates to stand in positions that are not applicable to them they must not try to stand for those positions. Any irrelevant candidacy will be removed and this could delay the elections process. If the elections system does not show a course rep position that a student believes they should be eligible to stand in, they should immediate raise this issue with colleagues in CIS on extn: 49178 or 42759, stating which course they are studying and which elections they believe they should be eligible to stand for.

5. Withdrawal

A candidate may withdraw from the elections race at any time by contacting colleagues in CIS on extn: 49178 or 42759 at the earliest possible opportunity. For candidates decided to withdraw during the voting period, elections process will continue to run and the candidacy will be removed after the close of voting

4. Campaigning

Candidates may wish to campaign. No reimbursement will be given for campaigning material and candidates should spend no more than £20 on this activity. If they wish to campaign, they can do so from the opening of voting until the end of the voting period. Campaigning outwith this time is not allowed.

Campaigners may not use offensive, threatening or insulting conduct, behaviour or words towards other campaigners or fellow students, University or Students’ Union staff, or members of the local or university community; ‘negative campaigning’ will not be tolerated.

It is forbidden to interfere with, vandalise, damage or cover the election materials of another candidate, University or Students’ Union property, or the facilities in the local community. Campaigning must not disrupt University life or interrupt lectures without the permission of the lecturer. No mass-emailing or online spamming will be tolerated. Campaigners may not act in a manner that the University or Students’ Union considers prejudicial to the orderly conduct of the election. All candidates will be held liable for the actions of anyone acting on their behalf. Students are reminded that their conduct must also be line with the University General Regulations.

Students, candidates and members of staff are expected to raise any concerns or complaints about the conduct of campaigning at the earliest possible opportunity, and before the end of voting. Action should not be taken by students, candidates or members of staff, other than to report this to the Education Policy Coordinator at the Students’ Union on (r.s.bruce@durham.ac.uk).

Please note that should a candidate wish to lodge an appeal which relates to the campaigning period, this must be lodged with the Students’ Union (r.s.bruce@durham.ac.uk) before the close of the voting period for this to be investigated appropriately (see section 5.6). Retrospective appeals that relate the conduct of campaigning will not be accepted.

For any doubt or questions about any aspect of campaign activities, candidates can get in touch with the Students’ Union or their department in the first instance.

5. Voting and Results

1. Voting method

Voting for all undergraduate course rep elections will be undertaken online, via DUO. Each student will have one Single Transferable Vote (STV) for each election in which they are eligible to vote. Students should log onto the elections portal through DUO and select the ‘My Elections’ tab to see the elections in which they are eligible to vote. For more information on Single Transferable Vote, please visit the DUO ‘My Elections’ site.

2. Eligibility

Only students registered on an undergraduate programme at Durham University are eligible to vote. Students must be studying at least 20 credits in a department to be eligible to vote in that course rep election.

If the elections system erroneously allows students to vote in an election that is not applicable to them, they must not cast their vote for those positions. Voting in elections for which students are not eligible will delay the elections process. Irrelevant votes will be removed before the count. If the elections system does not show students an election they believe they should be eligible to vote in, they should immediate raise this issue with CIS, stating which course they are studying and which elections they believe they should be eligible to vote for. This must be done in advance of the close of voting.

3. Re-Open Nominations (RON)

In line with the Principles of Student Academic Representation, all candidates shall be required to stand against R.O.N. (Re-Open Nominations) except in the case of co-options. If R.O.N. wins, then an in-lecture election will be organised and advertised by the department as soon as may be conveniently arranged. Should an in-lecture election be arranged, and R.O.N wins, the academic and student co-chairs of the relevant SSCC will be permitted to co-opt to any remaining vacant positions. The co-chairs must agree on the suitability of the student co-opted into the position.

4. Vacant positions

If there are no nominations for a particular position (or a candidate steps down), or if none of the candidates received any votes, or in the event that R.O.N wins, the position will remain vacant. In this circumstance, an in-lecture election will be organised and advertised by the department as soon as may be conveniently arranged. Should vacant positions remain following an in-lecture election, the academic and student co-chairs of the relevant SSCC will be permitted to co-opt to these remaining vacant positions. The co-chairs must agree on the suitability of the student co-opted into the position.

An online election must be held before an in-lecture election can be held; an in-lecture election must be held before co-option can be used. In any case, the names of the students elected must be communicated to students and the Students’ Union at the earliest possible opportunity.

5. In-lecture Elections

In the event that an in-lecture election is required, this should be organised by the departments as soon as may be conveniently arranged. The in-lecture election should be organised to take place where as many eligible students as possible are present. Students must be told in advance of the time, date and location of the in-lecture election so that they may attend to stand in the election, even if the lecture is not part of their study. If a student volunteers to stand for election, they should be given the opportunity to address the cohort, should they so wish. It is recommended that this speech be limited to two minutes.

If the department choses to undertake a vote by a ‘show of hands’, candidates should be asked to leave the room during the vote to ensure that students do not feel uncomfortable when casting their votes; if the department choses to undertake a vote by secret ballot, all students present should be provided with a voting ballot for each available position, in order to cast their vote. Departments may also chose to run this elections process via email, requesting nominations and exceptions to candidates via email. Should departments have any questions regarding the in-lecture election process, departments are encouraged to contact the Students’ Union as soon as possible.

6. Complaints

Candidates may challenge the elections procedure in writing, to the Education Policy Coordinator (Students’ Union; r.s.bruce@durham.ac.uk) by 5pm Friday 19 October 2018.

Please note that a breakdown of the voting will be available upon the request; this will detail the votes received by each candidate and not contain any identifiable data to the student who cast the vote.

Complaints may only be lodged in the following circumstances:

You believe there was a technical issue with the voting process;

You believe inappropriate activities or behaviour was observed during the campaigning period;

You believe a student has erroneously been able to stand an election for which you believe they are not eligible;

You believe a student has erroneously been able to vote in an election for which you believe they are not eligible;

You believe there has been some other serious breach of the election rules and regulations.

Please note that a complaint on the basis of being disappointed with the election outcome will not be accepted.

Where appropriate, the Education Policy Coordinator may seek advice or support from the Curriculum, Learning and Assessment Service in considering any complaints. Complaints will be considered within three working days of confirmation of the complaint being received. The result of the complaint investigation is final.

6. Fulfilling your role as a Course Rep

In the rare case that a course rep does not fulfil the responsibilities that the position entails, they can be dismissed by the Academic Officers (Students’ Union).

Complainants are encouraged to contact the course rep in the first instance to discuss the matter. Once this avenue has been appropriately exhausted, the complainant should then contact the student co-chair to discuss the matter. The student co-chair may arrange a meeting with the complainant to collect all relevant information. A meeting shall then be held with the course rep to discuss the matter. At this meeting the student co-chair should reiterate the details of the role description and discuss the expectations on course reps. Where necessary, other meetings may take place with relevant stakeholders to collect all relevant information before meeting with the course rep. In all cases, the student co-chair should inform the academic co-chair of matters of this nature at the earliest possible opportunity and seek support, where needed. A record of any meeting(s) and outcome(s) must be recorded and kept by all parties including the academic co-chair.

In circumstances where the matter is not resolved by the aforementioned steps taken by the student co-chair, the student co-chair must contact the Academic Officers with details of the situation and copies of the relevant records. The Undergraduate Academic Officer shall first arrange a meeting with the student co-chair (and academic co-chair, if appropriate) to collect all relevant information. A meeting shall then be held with the course rep to discuss the matter and, where appropriate, agree on action to be taken, which may include the dismissal of the course representative from their role.

Complaints regarding a course representative will normally be received by a fellow course rep, a student (or group of), or the relevant academic or student co-chair. In circumstances where the student co-chair raises concerns regarding a course rep fulfilling their role, the academic co-chair shall conduct the meetings and agree an appropriate course of action. In circumstances where the Academic Officers raise concerns regarding a course rep fulfilling their role, another Students’ Union Officer, independent to the course rep concerned, will conduct the meetings and make a decision.

Following the dismissal of a course representative, the academic and student co-chairs of the relevant SSCC will be permitted to co-opt to the now vacant position. The co-chairs must agree on the suitability of the student co-opted into the position.

If you would like to withdraw from the Course Rep role, having been elected, please contact the Students’ Union at the earliest opportunity on r.s.bruce@durham.ac.uk.

7. General provisions

The Academic Officers, in consultation with the Curriculum, Learning and Assessment Service, may deal with any unforeseen situations or conduct not explicitly dealt with in these rules as appropriate.

All student, candidate and course rep conduct must be conducted in accordance with the University’s General Regulations, and the Students’ Union Articles of Association and Standing Orders. Any breaches of the University General Regulations will be investigated, as outlined within the General Regulation IV: Discipline.