Sabbatical officers run the Students' Union. It is a paid role that is responsible for the strategic direction of the union and has trustee responsibilities for the charity.
What does a sabbatical officer do?
Whether you want to make meaningful change, gain unique work experience for your CV, develop skills in public speaking and negotiation, or want to learn more about how a charity works, being a sabbatical officer is a unique experience that will make you stand out.
There are four positions elected into three roles as part of the sabbatical officer elections:
To support you as a candidate The SU reimburses all expenses of sabbatical elections candidates, up to the set budget of £80. Candidates can not spend more than £80.
Key information for candidates
The following information and rules apply to the SU President Elections and have been approved by the Returning Officer*:
- A representative from NUS will act as the Returning Officer (RO).
- The SU Head of Engagement will act as Deputy Returning Officer (DRO).
Candidates will campaign on a priority which will need to be submitted for approval by the Returning Officer by the end of the nomination period. Your priority will be the focus of your time as a sabbatical officer. You won’t just be working on this though, as there will be plenty of issues you will need to be working on alongside your team when you get elected.
All candidates are expected to abide by the Election Rules and Regulations, the SU Constitution and its Byelaws and the relevant University regulations and policies.
Upon submitting your online nomination, you will be asked to complete a short survey, collecting demographic data to get a better understanding for engagement. This information will remain anonymous. You have the option to opt out of this, but this information would help us to continue exploring our diversity narrative regarding our Officer elections.
Voting is open from 12 noon Monday 26th February to 12 noon Thursday 29th February.
- Voting shall be by single transferable vote
- Voting will be via The SU website
- Only current students of Falmouth University or The University of Exeter Cornwall Campuses, who are full members of The SU, are eligible to vote in the SU Elections and can do so only once for each position.
- Each student should be allowed to decide on their own voting choices and should not feel forced, pressured, or coerced into their voting decisions.
- Each student vote should be their own and not of a third party.
- Voting must be confidential.
- Candidates and/or their campaign teams may not pressurise students into voting, nor may they check who students have voted for or keep a record of votes cast.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
The successful candidates will be expected to become Trustees of Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union and are therefore required to meet eligibility and responsibility expectations. It is expected that candidates are not prevented from acting as a trustee because they:
- have an unspent conviction from one or more the offences listed here
- have an IVA, debt relief order and/or a bankruptcy order
- have been removed as a Trustee in England, Scotland or Wales (by the Charity Commission or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator)
- have been removed from being in the management or control of any body in Scotland (under relevant legislation) or have been disqualified by the Charity Commission
- have been disqualified by the charity commission
- are a disqualified company director
- are a designated person for the purposes of anti-terrorism legislation
- are on the sex offenders register
- have been found in contempt of court for making (or causing to be made) a false statement
- have been found guilty of disobedience to an order or direction of the Charity Commission
Candidates, if elected, will become employees of The SU. It is expected that they have a right to work in the UK. Documentation will be required to prove your right to work. A full list of valid documents is available on GOV.UK.
If you are an international student and have queries about Visa eligibility, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information can also be found at the following places locations:
Equality and diversity statement
The Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union (The Students’ Union) has a policy on Equality & Diversity and this can be accessed on our website.
The Students’ Union is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and eliminating any unlawful or unfair discrimination and harassment in the Sabbatical Officer Elections.
We are committed to providing equality of opportunity for all, irrespective of:
- Gender reassignment
- Religion and belief Sexual orientation
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
Under the Equality Act (2010), these are known as protected characteristics.
The Purpose of this statement is to:
- Value diversity and promote equality of opportunity and between groups.
- Promote respect and encourage good relations within and between groups.
- Promote an inclusive and harmonious place of work where is mutual respect and where harassment and bullying, intimidation or violence is not tolerated.
- Prevent unlawful discrimination and victimisation.
- Comply with our legal obligations.
The Students’ Union will take seriously any breach of this policy. Everyone is required to promote a culture free from illegal discrimination and all forms of harassment and bullying.
Any incidents of discrimination, harassment or bullying will be investigated and may provide grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal. We will work to ensure that all our students, employees, trustees and visitors, as well as those who apply or seek to apply to work with us, are treated fairly and are not subjected to discrimination by The Students’ Union on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics listed above.
The Students’ Union will take any complaints of discrimination, harassment or victimisation seriously and they will be dealt with in accordance with agreed procedures. Any student who believes they have suffered any form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation should report this to the Chief Executive Officer. The Students’ Union will make every effort to ensure complaints are dealt with promptly and victimisation of the complainant does.
Sports Club and Societies 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 the sabbatical officer elections. This endorsement process is the perfect chance to get your group involved in the running of your Students’ Union. In order to make sure our elections remain fair and transparent; we have created this guidance to outline what your Students’ Union deems best practice in endorsements.
Endorsing a candidate means that as a student group, you believe they would be a good candidate for the role, and your group supports what they are standing for (their manifesto). What this means in principle, is you can use your platforms to openly support the candidate. 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.
Any Student Group endorsing a candidate, should review the Elections rules found on the SU website.
Please note SURF Radio must remain impartial due to the nature of their platforms and the opportunity to engage with the wider Elections.
So, what do you need to do?
- 1. Decide if as a group, you want to consider endorsing any candidates – if you don’t, then you can ignore this process.
- 2. You must not publicly endorse until candidates have been formally announced (Monday 26th February 2024).
- 3. You must hold a democratic meeting or conversation with your members to discuss if/who you endorse. You can endorse as many candidates as your group deems appropriate.
- 4. Associate members should not take part in the vote.
- 5. There must be a majority agreement of the members. If a candidate(s) is a member of the group, the decision should be made without the presence or influence of the candidate(s) in question. To vote in a meeting, the candidate/s would need to leave the meeting and a vote should be done verbally or by the hands-up function if meeting virtually.
- 6. It is recommended that associate members who are staff of either University, the SU, or FX Plus remain impartial regardless of any endorsements their club / society may have chosen.
- 7. Any form of endorsements as listed above, cannot begin until official campaigning begins, which is Monday 26th February 2024 at 12pm.
As a Representative SSLC/G you can have a large influence on campus. Endorsing a candidate in The SU’s sabbatical officer elections means that as a student Committee/Group, you believe they would be a good candidate for the role, and your Committee/Group supports what they are standing for (their manifesto). What this means in principle is you can use your public platforms to openly support the candidate. This endorsement process is the perfect chance to get your Committee/Group involved in the running of your Students’ Union. In order to make sure our elections remain fair and transparent; we have created this guidance to outline what your Students’ Union deems best practice in endorsements.
It is recommended that staff of either University, the SU, or FX Plus remain impartial regardless of any endorsements their SSLC/G may have chosen as only student members can vote in the Sabbatical Officer Elections.
Your SSLC/G can endorse as many candidates as the group deems appropriate.
We suggest that you notify the Chair to add this to the agenda or request 5 minutes at the end of the meeting to hold a vote. If you don’t have an SSLC/G in the diary you can speak to your subject chair about having an informal meeting.
Endorsements must take place in SSLC/G owned social media spaces I.e., Instagram pages, and in official and usual means of SSLC/G communication I.e., emails or newsletters.
You may write a testimonial or statement from your SSLC/G that the candidate can use in their campaign. This may be useful if your SSLC/G wished to endorse a candidate but does not have any public social media spaces.
Any SSLC/G endorsing a candidate, should review the Elections rules found on the SU website.
So, what do you need to do?
- 1. Decide if as a group, you want to consider endorsing any candidates –if you don’t, then you can ignore this process.
- 2. You must not endorse until candidates have been formally announced (Monday 26th February) and you can read all candidate manifestos, which can be found on the Students’ Union website.
- 3. The endorsing process can occur once candidates are announced on Monday 26th February 2024. Good practice is to hold a democratic meeting with your committee/group to discuss if/who you endorse. This can be done within an SSLC/G meeting or without. You can endorse as many candidates as your SSLC/G deems appropriate.
- 4. Only STUDENT representative members of the SSLC/G can take part in the vote. Staff must remain impartial as per our election rules and guidance.
- 5. There must be a majority agreement of the committee/group. If a candidate(s) is/are part of the committee/group, the decision should be made without the presence or influence of the candidate(s) in question. To vote in a virtual meeting, the candidate/s would need to leave the meeting and a vote could be done verbally or with the hands-up function.
- 6. Public announcements of endorsements cannot begin until official campaigning begins, which is the Monday 26th February at 12 midday.
- 7. If you have any queries or wish to check anything before publishing / sending, please contact email@example.com
Each of these workshops is created to give you further information and understanding of the sabbatical officer role and support your campaigning during elections week. Every one is free for any student to attend, there is no obligation for attendees to commit to nominating themselves.
Missed a session? Not a problem! You can find the slides from workshops down below.
(Manifesto and Campaigns Workshop)