By Clara Gaspar
Durham Students’ Union have announced the results of the election for NUS delegates 2017-2018, with Helen Paton, Tom Harwood, Clara Gallay and George Walker elected to represent the student body at the national conference in March.
Helen Paton, a Politics & History student at St. Mary’s, secured the highest number of votes in the first round with 483, narrowly beating second-placed Tom Harwood, who received 477 first preference votes.
After 12 rounds of eliminations, Clara Galley and George Walker were both elected in third and fourth place respectively, according to the Single Transferrable Vote (STV) system.
Helen Paton expressed her gratitude at this result: “I would just like to thank everyone who voted for me as well as all the other candidates who ran fantastic campaigns along the past week. I would also like to thank my campaign team for making my campaign reach as many people as possible, this win was really thanks to them and their time.”
Paton added: “My main mission as a delegate is to reach out for [students’] voices and keep them informed about what the NUS is doing as well as fighting to get a more democratic system in order for it to be more representative and clear.
“My main motive to run as a delegate was to ensure people knew what the NUS is and how it can actually be better if we try and reform those aspects that are failing within the organisation.”
Tom Harwood, who finished first in last year’s delegate elections and competed unsuccessfully for the NUS presidency at the most recent conference, told Palatinate: “I’m delighted that the two reformist candidates completely swept away the competition to win in a landslide victory.”
He continued: “This vote once again shows just how out of touch the NUS is with ordinary students. This is an overwhelming mandate from Durham for moderation, and urgent democratic reform. Students are very clearly stating that the NUS does not speak for us.”
The turnout of this year’s election was 10.0%, which marked a 0.7% decline from the 2016 election.
This year 13 students competed for the four NUS delegate positions, compared to the 15 students competing last year.
St Mary’s College, to which Helen Paton and Tom Harwood both belong, turned out in the highest numbers, making up over 30% of the overall vote, while Grey College students made up 22.5% of the votes cast.
Photo credit: Helen Paton for NUS Delegate, (picture taken by Michiko, edited by Jack Parker)