By Clara Gaspar
Durham Students’ Union has announced the results of the election for NUS delegates 2018-2019, with Matt Bonini, Sam Johnson-Audini, Tom Chapman, Kate McIntosh and Caragh Aylett elected to represent Durham University’s student body at the NUS national conference in Glasgow in March.
Matt Bonini, a second-year Chinese studies student at University College, secured the highest number of votes in the first round with 220, marginally beating second-placed Sam Johnson-Audini, who received 200 first preference votes.
After 8 rounds of eliminations, Kate McIntosh and Tom Chapman were both elected, while Caragh Aylett was elected in the eleventh and final round, according to the Single Transferrable Vote (STV) system.
The turnout of this year’s election was only 6.2%, which marks a significant 3.8% decline from the last year’s election.
It is the lowest turnout for an NUS delegate election in the past three years.
St John’s College turned out in the highest numbers, with 13.4% of students voting, while St Aidan’s College students followed with a 12.5% turnout.
Matt Bonini told Palatinate,
“I feel honoured to be elected to represent the Durham. As mentioned in my manifesto, I will work to end discrimination in the NUS, so that people feel safe in expressing their identity or faith without the fear of being excluded —especially in the light of the rising antisemitism in universities.”
“I’m personally thrilled that our platform of accessible education, safeguarding liberation and securing better pay for uni staff has resonated with students in Durham. There’s a lot of change ahead for the NUS and I’m confident that our team can help ensure this transition doesn’t disadvantage the people who need the NUS’s support the most.
She added, “The election of three progressive, committed activists represents a wider shift in Durham’s politics – we are no longer going to sit by while staff are underpaid and students are overcharged. I’m confident that this team will respond to that demand adequately.”
Meanwhile, Tom Chapman, a second-year at St Aidan’s college, stated,
“I’m delighted to receive a mandate to represent Durham at the UK’s most important student conference, especially from Aidan’s whose turnout was fantastic. My promise of serious action on accommodation fees has resonated enormously with Durham students and I can’t wait to bring back accomplishments along with Kate and Sam that will make a tangible difference on the lives of Durham students.”
Photograph: Clara Gaspar