Right-wing commentator Sophie Corcoran, a frequent fixture on GB News and Talkradio, is among five candidates running for President of Durham’s Students’ Union (DSU) this month.
The first-year business management student at Josephine Butler College is expected to cause controversy in the campaign, with voting to open on Wednesday 23rd February and close on 2nd March.
Current DSU sabbatical Postgraduate Academic Officer Declan Merrington is also running for the role. The Master’s Education student previously ran for parish councillor in the Elvet and Gilesgate ward for the Labour party and has been involved in the University’s Labour Club.
The remaining three candidates are Joseph McGarry, current St Aidan’s JCR president, Aditya Lathar, who is co-president of Durham University Indian Society, an NUS delegate, and ran unsuccessfully for the role last year, and Sociology student Dan Lonsdale. The Students’ Union will formally announce the candidates tomorrow, along with candidates for the other four sabbatical positions, three of which are set to be uncontested.
This year’s elections are expected to be unusually high-profile largely due to the candidacy of Corcoran, who has 45,000 Twitter followers, and whose contributions to right-wing national media have already drawn attention to Durham University and the Students’ Union.
In November, the broadcaster’s tweets and GB News appearances helped contribute to national media coverage and criticism of the University’s safety training sessions for students involved in the adult sex industry.
The following month, Corcoran featured on several shows defending Professor Tim Luckhurst and commentator Rod Liddle following the latter’s appearance at a Christmas formal at South College.
A particularly active Twitter feed has also attracted criticism on social media, especially accusing the commentator of transphobia after consistent commentary on trans rights, including claiming that “trans radicals want to oppress women”.
Palatinate understands that no student has come forward to campaign for Re-Open Nominations. DSU election rules specify that in order for anyone to campaign for RON, they must register and so adhere to the campaign rules. If unregistered campaigning occurs, they are likely to be disqualified.
This decision came after elections in February 2020 where 58% of total votes cast were for Re-Open Nominations (RON). The SU subsequently decided to disqualify RON for campaign rules violations, with all RON votes deleted, including second and third preferences.
Image: Sophie Corcoran