Scores of people turned out to the Copper Rooms on Friday 28 February to see Cat Turhan elected as Warwick Students’ Union (SU) president for 2014/15.
Ms Turhan takes the now well-trodden path of welfare and campaigns officer to president, following in the footsteps of incumbent Ben Sundell, and 2011/12 president Leo Boe.
She is also the first female SU president since 2006, when Kat Stark held the position.
Approximately 200 students turned up to the elections results night where all seven winning candidates for the sabbatical positions were announced, as well as the part-time officers.
The presidency was declared last on the night, with Ms Turhan giving a passionate acceptance speech that thanked her supporters, fellow 2013/14 sabbatical officers and second-place candidate Aaron Bowater.
Mr Bowater came second for the third time running, losing by 273 votes, a significant improvement on last year’s campaign when Ben Sundell beat him to first place with a majority of 1,033 votes.
Mr Bowater said: “I am so relieved… no, scrap that. I am disappointed that I didn’t win. I hope that hope will have a candidate to carry the course forward.
“The candidate that I hoped would carry hope forward has been told that he can’t come back in, i.e. Carl Mohr.
“However, we’re going to enjoy our evening, we’re going to be the last ones to leave, and roll on the rest of my life.”
Voting was down compared to last year, with only 5,554 Warwick students voting compared to last year’s total of 6,699.
The narrowest margin of victory came in the election for welfare and campaigns officer. Bebe Husakova took the position, with 1357 votes, beating nearest rival Shadi Brazell by only 161 in the first round of voting.
Cosmo March, democracy and development officer, spoke the Boar about the lower turnout: “Figures are always linked to the number of candidates as ultimately they’re the ones getting people to vote.
“Last year we saw 29 candidates compete in what was one of the fiercest and hardest fought sabbatical elections in a long time, with some candidates going to extreme lengths to get more votes.
“In light of that, I think the intensity of the election might have put a lot of people off, as we saw the number of candidates drop to only 18.
“In addition, the mobilisation of clubs and societies is often a big factor in the turnout, but given the reduced competition for sports officer and societies officer, with societies being unopposed, we did not see that level of activity that we normally do.
“Given that the number of candidates reduced by almost 40 percent, to have a turnout rate of 24 percent when last year was 29 percent is definitely reassuring.
“One key success to come out of this year’s election is that we now have one of the most diverse sabbatical teams we have ever seen, and the first female president in nine years!”
There were technical difficulties during the announcement of the democracy and development officer when the winning candidate – Rob Ankcorn – was shown on-screen before presenter Tom Davies revealed the results over the microphone.
James Anderson, a first-year History student, commented: “I think that it’s a bit rubbish for the SU to do that kind of thing, it’s not very professional but at the end of the day I’m not that surprised that it happened.”
- What will the 2014/15 sabbatical team do for your SU?
- Diversity across new sabbatical team
- Fall in number of SU sabbatical candidates