Referendum rules and regulations

To ensure that referenda carried out by The SU are free and fair, we have compiled this set of rules and regulations.
Apostrophe with drop shadow pattern.

To ensure that referenda carried out by The SU are free and fair, we have compiled this set of rules and regulations. It is impossible to provide a set of rules and regulations that will cover every potential scenario that could arise during a referendum.

When investigating conduct incidents or complaints, the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) and Returning Officer (RO) will make a judgement based on the following ethos: All campaign teams must conduct themselves in a ‘free and fair’ manner that reflects the values and policies of the Student’s Union and the regulations set out in the University’s guidelines. If in doubt, we advise you to run your campaign ideas past the Deputy Returning Officer before you put them into action.

The following rules and regulations are correct as of January 2023 and may be subject to change.

The referendum will be overseen by the Returning Officer. The Returning Officer will delegate responsibility to the Deputy Returning Officer.

Both individuals are empowered to investigate any matters related to the referendum, infringement of rules, or complaints related to the conduct of campaign teams. If they find that there has been an infringement, they may:

  1. Warn the campaigners that any future infringement will result in a campaigning ban or disqualification
  2. Issue a campaigning ban
  3. Disqualify a campaign team

The aim of campaigning

The aim of campaigning should be to engage with students to encourage them to vote for the referendum outcome you are in favour of, based on your campaign information. 
Campaigners must allow voters the opportunity to cast their vote in private, and under no circumstances must votes be cast on a voters behalf.

How can I campaign?

Campaigning can include both physical and non-physical methods. Face to face (verbal) campaigning is classed as being non-physical for the purpose of these rules.

Physical Campaigning means includes flyers, posters, banners, badges, campaign clothing, events, stalls etc.

Non-physical campaigning methods includes all digital formats such as social media, chat groups and websites.

Use of University or SU Club or Society mass email lists is not permitted for campaigning.

You may use any social media platforms/applications for campaigning, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, provided that is it an open group.

Student groups such as Clubs and Societies may, with the majority agreement of the membership, endorse a specific campaign. This includes using the group logo, posting from any social media accounts, or using group activities as a campaigning opportunity. More information about this can be found here: Student Group Endorsement

Campaign teams may spend up to £50, which The SU will be able to refund. Evidence of expenditure must be provided and The SU must have receipts to be able to refund any payments.

If you are using materials you already have, you must allocate them a realistic value.  Some things that all students have access to do not need to be accounted for. Any ‘freebies’ must be readily available to all campaign teams.

When can I campaign?

Campaigning can only be carried out during the voting period. This includes both physical and non-physical forms of campaigning.

The voting will be determined and announced by The SU.

Where can I campaign?

If you would like to display your campaign materials or carry out campaigning activity outside of The SU office, other than just speaking to students, you will need to ask permission from the relevant staff. This includes but is not limited to, the estates team or the Stannary, contact information can be provided by The SU Student Voice Team.

You may only campaign within the campus boundaries of both Falmouth and Penryn Campuses. You must not campaign on the Truro campus or outside of campus boundaries. 
The SU may provide physical ballot stations on campus for the duration of the voting period. An exclusion zone for campaigning around these stations will be made clear to campaigners.

Campaigning is also strictly forbidden in the following areas:

  1. Libraries or open access computer areas on any campus.
  2. Any active teaching space, unless permitted by the relevant academic.
  3. Halls of residence on campus
Who can campaign?

Only registered students at Falmouth University or Exeter University Cornwall Campuses can campaign in a referendum. Anyone campaigning is bound by the referendum rules. 
Permanent members of SU staff must not campaign at any time and are expected to raise awareness of the referendum from a neutral position.

Student Crew may be employed by The SU to help raise awareness of the referendum from a neutral position. Student Crew are not allowed to campaign whilst they are on duty. This includes but is not limited to wearing campaign clothing, handing out flyers, verbally endorsing a campaign. Student crew may fully participate when they are off duty.

Staff of Falmouth University, The University of Exeter, Cornwall, FXPlus or non-members are expected to remain neutral and to not publicly support or endorse a stance in the referendum.

Campaigners must not seek endorsements from staff members of The SU, Falmouth University, The University of Exeter, Cornwall, FXPlus or non-members.

Anyone who is not a member of Falmouth and Exeter Students' Union cannot campaign in a referendum.


Student group endorsements

As an affiliated Society or Club with the Students’ Union, you can have a large influence on campus, and we understand that you may wish to use this influence to support a particular outcome in a referendum. This endorsement process is the perfect chance to get your group involved in the running of your Students’ Union. In order to make sure the referendum remains fair and transparent; we ask you follow this simple process when choosing which outcome to endorse.

Endorsing a Yes or No vote in the referendum means that as a student group, you believe that would be the best outcome for the student body. What this means in principle, is you can use your platforms to openly support the outcome that you would like to see.  

All members of the society must be given the opportunity to have their say on the endorsement. Endorsements must take place in Student Group owned social media spaces I.e., Facebook pages, and in official means of Student Group communication I.e., emails or newsletters. This means no private group chat functionality should be setup for the use of endorsement or campaigning.

Any breach of this information or process, could result in an investigation against the group and any campaigners involved. Any Student Group endorsing a referendum outcome, should also review the Referendum rules.   

Please note Falmouth Anchor, SURF Radio, Kosel, Voices and Penryn Press must remain impartial due to the nature of their platforms and the opportunity to engage with the wider referendum.

What to do to submit your endorsement

Decide if as a group (not just as a committee), you want to consider endorsing any motion – if you don’t, then you can ignore this process.

You must not endorse until voting opens.

You must hold a democratic meeting with your members to discuss if/what you endorse.

Associate members should not take part in the vote.

There must be a majority agreement of the members. If a member of either the Yes or No campaign is a member of the group, the decision must be made without those individuals present. To vote in a meeting the campaigners would need to leave the meeting. The vote in the meeting can be verbally, or by show of hands/hands up function if the meeting is taking place virtually.

Associate members who are staff of either University, the SU, or FX Plus must remain impartial regardless of any endorsements their club / society may have chosen.

Send details of the voting method used and your results to including date of vote, a register of attendees, and the results; you should do this even if you have decided not to endorse anyone as a result of your vote. All information must be sent in by midday on the day before voting closes to be checked and confirmed by the Elections team.

Any form of endorsements as listed above, cannot begin until official campaigning begins and when you have a response from the Elections team confirming receipt of the above information.  


What can I do if I have an issue?

Contact The SU Student Voice Team at

All complaints must be submitted within 24 hours of the alleged incident, via an email to the and must include the following information:

  1. Name and contact details of person making complaint (anonymous complaints will not be considered)
  2. Name of campaign team being complained about
  3. Details of incident (including time and date)
  4. Details of any witnesses
  5. Details of which rules have been broken
  6. Details of the action requested

All complaints will be investigated by the Deputy Returning Officer, who will consider the facts and make an appropriate decision. This ruling will be communicated to all parties involved and included in the annual Returning Officer’s Elections Report.

Any decisions made by the Deputy Returning Officer can be appealed via a written statement to the Returning Officer (but must include factual information as to why the original decision is considered unjust).

It is each campaign team’s responsibility to raise any issues within the 24-hour time limit. All issues must be resolved prior to votes being counted.

Once the votes have been counted and results announced, no new issues will be heard unless they are specifically in relation to the count of the vote.

Any decisions made by the Returning Officer are final.

All campaigns teams are expected to abide by the Referendum Rules and Referendum Guidance, The SU Constitution and its Bye-laws (found on the Governance page), Code of Conduct (found on the Policies page) and all regulations and policies of your respective University. These Rules are the headline principles and will be explained in more detail at training. If at any time you are in doubt, please ask for clarification.

Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union logo

Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union
Penryn Campus
Penryn, Cornwall
TR10 9FE

© Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union 2021

Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) registered in England and Wales, charity number 1193045