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"Work to do": New Student Council Elected as Turnout Drops to 6.2%

Councilors Pledge to Continue Reforms Begun Last Year

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Photo by Miles Rothoerl

The results of UoA's Student Council elections have been announced.

A total of 1034 students (6.2%) voted in the election, down from 8.1% last year.

Speaking to The Gaudie after the result, current Council chair Nirvan Abedi said he was "delighted and honoured" to be re-elected to the post.

Nirvan stood as part of the "Standing for Student Voices" team, alongside Miles Rothoerl, Kaitlin Agius, and Christina Schmid.

All four candidates won their respective races.

Nirvan noted: "Even though the turnout was a bit lower, we still managed to improve our number of votes, which we are very delighted about."

Miles, who was elected Vice Chair of Undergraduate Education, also weighed in. 

He said: “I’m delighted to be able to continue on the education committee for another year, fighting for student interests. We ran a positive campaign, and it’s really encouraging to see that students agree with our vision for the union.

“I think the low turnout shows that the council has a lot of work to do in engaging the wider student body. Fundamentally, every aspect of student representation works better when we’re all involved, so making it easier for people to have their voices heard on issues ranging from exams to the cost-of-living is an immediate priority. Be that through the established channels, or, particularly, in less formal, more accessible ways.

“Continuing the ongoing reforms of the class rep system is another big focus. A good deal of progress has been made already this term, but there’s still a lot to do in making sure feedback is heard and can make a difference.”

Christina, elected as Vice Chair of Communities, added: 

"I’m quite happy to be elected for another year and able to work on the ongoing projects from last year. Besides campaigning for better cycling infrastructure and free buses within Aberdeen for all students, I want to work on improving the overall perception of the student council. We need more students interested in what we do to increase our legitimacy and power to support our goals."

Finally, Shane Painter, who was elected as Convener of Social Sciences, told The Gaudie

"I'm delighted and thrilled to be elected by my peers to represent them, especially when we had a number of strong contenders.

"The strikes and the MAB of the past year had a significant impact on students. Lectures were canceled, results were delayed and feedback for many was never received. 

"It caused anxiety and stress and led to some missing out on opportunities as they prepared to graduate because they did not have their degree classification. My priority is to work to ensure better communication between students, the UCU and university so we can play our part in rebuilding trust and hope to ensure we're not in this situation again."

With turnout down from last year, councilors now face the challenge of convincing students they are relevant and effective. 

When asked what direction he wants to take the Council this year, Nirvan said: 

"I'd like to continue the reforms we started last year, most importantly focusing on the new union strategy and working on the democratic review for the upcoming year."

"Also, I want to collaborate closely with our sabbaticals in tackling the cost of living crisis and supporting our students as we move closer to winter."


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