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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Rhiannon Ledwell elected Vice President for Education

Updated: May 13, 2023

Second year student and professional sitarist wins post by just five votes, after count was delayed by two months due to investigation

Ledwell's campaign poster from the March Elections. Photo Credit: AUSA

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Rhiannon Ledwell has been elected as AUSA’s next Vice President for Education.

After a protracted investigation into candidate misconduct concluded this week, AUSA bosses gave the all-clear for the vote count to begin on Thursday, nearly two months after the polls closed in mid-March.

Ledwell joins incumbent officers Vanessa Mabonso Nzolo (Student President) and Sai Shraddha S Viswanathan (VP for Welfare), along with newcomers Ainhoa Burgos Aguilera (VP for Communities) and Tonis Tilik (VP for Activities), who were elected in March.

The five will begin their year-long stint as Sabbatical Officers this summer.

Ledwell elected by just five votes:

Ledwell, who received 284 votes, narrowly edged out second place finisher Kirsten Koss, who garned 279 votes under the Single Transferable Vote system.

Coming in third place was Law student Naqeeb Kakar with 225 votes, followed by Stephen Obabori with 124 and Raul Placencia with 61.

Ledwell, a mature student who is also a professional sitarist and composer, thanked supporters in a statement released Friday evening.

She said: 'Thank you to all who inspired the ideas in my platform, encouraged me throughout the process, and voted! It was a very close race--There were very passionate candidates with great ideas! I'm happy that the process was fair, and that several friendships came from it.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to implement my ideas--A top priority, the one I found resonated most with students through campaign-week conversations, is the push for more practical experience, and a way to receive credit for these opportunities, in and out of the classroom--including a higher practical to lecture ratio. I'm also looking forward to working with and learning from the other sabbatical officers and staff, as well as to the creativity that will come from our collaboration.'

Her full manifesto can be viewed here.

Count delayed after investigation:

The result was delayed by two months after numerous students lodged complaints about the conduct of the current VP for Education and her campaign team.

A report from The Gaudie published after the election told how members of the offending candidate’s team were removed from Hillhead Student Village after a student alleged they had ‘harassed’ and ‘intimidated’ her.

AUSA’s investigation into these complaints concluded on Wednesday and found the current VP for Education had breached election rules.

After an appeal to the National Union of Students proved unsuccessful, the candidate was struck from the ballot, with the votes of the remaining five candidates being counted yesterday.

The full list of results can be seen here.


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