Sabbatical Elections

The SU Sabbatical Elections are held annually, giving students the opportunity to elect their new Presidents. The Sabbaticals lead SU activity and represent students’ views and opinions for the coming academic year.
Graphic for Sabbatical Elections 2024.

Sabbatical Elections 2024

Sabbatical Officers (Presidents and Vice Presidents) are elected by students to lead the Students' Union. The sabbatical officer elections are the opportunity for any member of the students' union to nominate themselves and then campaign to win the votes of students.

The sabbatical officer elections are a key part of union democracy and the votes of students directing what the Students' Union works on in the next academic year.

The 4 democratically elected roles are:  

Key dates

The nominations period is open from Monday 22 January to Friday 16 February.

This is a time for anyone interested in being a candidate in the election to consider what their priority would be for their time in the role and how they plan to win the votes of students.

Voting is open from Monday 26 February to Thursday 29 February.

Getting students voting is a key part of the sabbatical election. By voting in the election, you have your say on the key priorities of the union for next academic year.

Why should I vote in the elections?

The SU Sabbatical Elections are held annually, giving you, the students, an opportunity to elect your new Presidents. The Sabbaticals lead SU activity and represent students’ views and opinions for the coming academic year. Voting is important because you get your voice heard!

Rules and regulations

It is impossible to provide a set of rules and regulations to cover every potential scenario that could happen during an election campaign. When investigating conduct, incidents or complaints, the Deputy Returning Officer and Returning Officer will make a judgement based on the following ethos: All candidates must conduct themselves in a ‘free and fair’ manner that reflects the values and policies of the Students’ Union and the regulations set out in the relevant 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 2024 and may be subject to change.

1. General

The elections 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 election, infringement of election rules or complaints regarding candidate or campaign team conduct. If they find that there has been an infringement, they may:

  • Warn the candidate that any future infringement will result in a campaigning ban or disqualification
  • Issue a campaigning ban
  • Disqualify the candidate

Names will appear on ballot papers as per the candidate’s University registration, unless a candidate specifies otherwise, and this is granted by the Deputy Returning Officer.

2. Elections Campaigning

Dates will be set and published for the start of campaigning. Upon nominating themselves as a candidate via the nomination form, all candidates will agree to the Elections rules and their campaign teams are also bound by these.

All candidates will be provided with briefing information by the Deputy Returning Officer and other relevant staff members. No campaigning, physical or online, can begin until the 26th February at 12pm. Any campaigning prior to this could lead to a candidate being removed from the election.

All candidates are expected to abide by the rules and laws of the area/campus they are campaigning on and seek approval from the relevant parties when required.

The Students’ Union will provide a number of physical ballot stations on campus during the voting period. An exclusion zone for campaigning around these will be made clear to all candidates.

Candidates will be able to upload a photo to the website that will be displayed on the ballot. Candidates will be able to respond to two key questions outlining their priority and ideas and skills for their time in office, a maximum of 200 words for the priority and 300 words for ideas and skills.

All activity undertaken by candidates during campaigning, including manifestos and accompanying promotional material should be in line with the Students’ Union’s values and Members’ Code of Conduct

Campaign materials (e.g., posters, banners, social media posts/graphics) must not include branding, brand assets or variance to a brand from any of the partnership institutions, including Falmouth University, The University of Exeter, FXPlus or the Students’ Union.

Permission should be obtained from the relevant University and/or department, before placing any posters/banners etc. around managed areas of the campuses. Candidates must ensure that all publicity (including stickers) are removed from all campus locations within 24 hours of voting closing.

Campaigning is strictly forbidden in the following areas:

  • Any library
  • Any active teaching space (unless permitted by the relevant academic)
  • Email lists (i.e., mass email)

Candidates and members of their campaign team must allow voters the opportunity to cast their vote in private, and under no circumstances must votes be cast on a voter’s behalf.

Employees of the SU, the Universities and FXPlus, who are not students, should remain impartial at all times. This includes (but is not limited to), not sending out communications on behalf of individual candidates, not wearing any candidate campaign merchandise and not verbally endorsing individual candidates in taught sessions.

Societies, Clubs, SSLCs/SSLGs can vote to endorse candidates, and, if passed, may then use their communication streams to promote them.

3. Finances

The maximum amount of money for a campaign budget is £80, this is reimbursed by the Union on submission of full receipts.

Financial declaration forms (including all receipts) must be submitted to the Deputy Returning Officer by 9am on Thursday 29th February. Any queries will be investigated as required.

Candidates may not accept material sponsorship from any source to assist with their campaign that would not have been available to other candidates unless it is accounted for in their £80 budget.

4. Complaints

All complaints must be submitted within 24 hours of the alleged incident, by 12pm on Thursday 29th February 2024 at the latest, via an email to the and must include the following information:

  • Name and contact details of person making complaint (anonymous complaints will not be considered)
  • Name of person being complained about
  • Details of incident (including time and date)
  • Details of any witnesses
  • Details of which rules have been broken
  • 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).

Any decisions made by the Returning Officer are final.

All complaints must be received within one hour of voting closing. Any complaints considered after this time will not be investigated as part of the elections process (although they may be considered under the disciplinary procedure outlined in the Students’ Union Constitution).

5. Additional information

  • A student may only submit one valid online nomination and must be a full member of the Students’ Union to be eligible.
  • All nominees for the President Falmouth role, must be a current student at Falmouth University.
  • All nominees for the President Exeter role, must be a current student of the University of Exeter Cornwall Campuses.

Elections statistics

One for those of you who love numbers - these are the live statistics from the sabbatical officer elections 2024.

Total voters: 1043

Any Other Questions?

We understand that you might have more questions regarding how the elections are going to work this year - thats why we've made a handy guide full of FAQs. You can read these below!

If you have any questions that are not answered in our FAQs, please feel free to get in contact with us at, or pop into The SU office for a chat! We're always happy to hear from you.

Are the roles of Sabbatical Officers paid jobs?

Yes! They are 12 month full time paid positions.

I am an International Student, can I still apply?

Yes you can! Find out more information at UK Council for International Student Affairs 

Immigration Rules: Student 

What experience do you need to be a Sabbatical Officer?

None! You don’t need any previous experience, you just need skills that will help you achieve your priority for the year and represent the student voice! If you are successful in getting elected, you will be trained, mentored and supported throughout your time as President so you can excel in your role.

What year of studying must I be in to be a candidate?

You can be in any study year! Basically you need to be a current student at Falmouth University or University of Exeter, Cornwall Campuses. You can either take a sabbatical, a year out of your studies, to be a Sabbatical Officer. Or you can do it after your studies have finished, as long as you’re a current student when you get elected.

Why do I want to be an SU Sabbatical Officer?

There are so many reasons why this is an amazing opportunity! But here’s just a few:

  • It’s a paid job! For a year you will be paid to work full time on improving the student experience.
  • The experience and training you will gain during your role will greatly increase your employability options.
  • You will have the opportunity to sit in meetings with top university staff who will listen to you as one of the key representatives of the student voice.
  • You will be working and collaborating with a variety of SU staff with a wealth of experience
  • As President you will also be a Sabbatical Trustee. As member of the SU’s board of trustees you will gain invaluable experience of setting direction and strategy of a charity whilst ensuring the SU’s work is effective, responsible and legal. This is amazing for you CV!
  • You can make a big difference! You will help improve the student experience so that even if you’re in your final study year and therefore not benefitting from the change directly, there’s thousands of students who will!

Who is R.O.N?

R.O.N stands for Re-Open Nominations, and is a valid option for all roles in our Sabbatical Election. The purpose of R.O.N is to give all students an alternative option if they do not feel that there is a candidate who represents them effectively, has a manifesto they support or if they feel that none of the candidates are a viable option to get elected.

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