FAQ

If one of your questions isn’t answered here, feel free to get in touch with us at elections@rusu.co.uk.

You can view our Leadership Elections 2022 Live Q&A, which will include the most up-to-date answers to your questions. This is a live document that will be updated sporadically throughout the elections period.

Self-defining

Self-definition is perhaps most simply understood as an outward expression of your personal identity. How you choose to identify yourself. Self-definition is not only important in terms of defining one’s personal identity, but it can take on a political importance too, as recognition of the oppression that certain groups within our society face.

We feel it is important that these issues, and the students affected by them, are represented by students who have had first-hand experience of the oppression faced by those they represent. That is why, in order to be eligible for certain roles during elections, we ask you to self-define.

We have compiled a list of RUSU student group definitions, which should help with self-defining for RUSU elections.

Roles

This will depend on the election you are taking part in. If you are running for a Full-time Officer position, you cannot run for any other roles including other Full-time Officer roles, e.g. you cannot run for both RUSU President and Welfare Officer in an election – you will need to choose one role.

However, any eligible student can hold the following positions at the same time, and can therefore run for one or more in an election:

  • Part-time Officer (note: you can only run for ONE Part-time Officer role at a time, e.g. you cannot run for both International Students’ Officer and Women’s Officer at the same time)
  • Student Trustee
  • Senior Rep
  • Course Rep
  • NUS Conference Delegate
  • JCR Committee Rep

No. Unfortunately, mandates cannot be shared at this time.

The elected candidate for all positions will spend a year in office.

Voting

To vote online

RUSU uses the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system which provides voters with much more choice and influence. STV means candidates do not need the just a simple majority of votes to win, but instead they must meet a “quota” or proportion of the vote. The “quota” is determined by the number of votes cast and the number of posts to be filled.

When voting you will be asked to list your candidates in order of your preference (first, second, third and so on). You can vote for as many or as few candidates as you want.

When voting has closed, surplus votes can be transferred to a further competing candidate (according to the voter's order of preference) if the first choice candidate is eliminated during a count or has more votes than required for election. This means that voting for other candidates as your second, third preferences etc. will not affect your favourite candidate’s chances of being elected.

Unlike other voting systems, where only a small number of votes actually contribute to the result, STV ensures that very few votes are wasted.

You can find out more about the voting system on the How to Vote page.

Candidates

We don’t approve nominations until after the manifesto deadline – this is to allow you to be able to upload and edit your manifesto.

Remember to complete all compulsory parts of your nomination before this deadline to ensure it is approved! If you have any questions over which parts are compulsory, email us at elections@rusu.co.uk.

A manifesto gives you an opportunity to tell students why they should vote for you. It outlines what the candidate will do if elected and any relevant experience the candidate has which they feel makes them the best person for the role. For more information, see our guide to writing a manifesto.

We hope that you will be completely satisfied with our elections process. Should you have a complaint, we want to work with you to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. All complaints should be made in writing to elections@rusu.co.uk.

RUSU gives all candidates (running in the Leadership Elections ONLY) the opportunity to have a headshot photo taken on a professional camera. These photos will then be used for promotional material, such as the candidate's booklets.

You do not have to have your photo taken, but it is often a good idea because students (the electorate) will then have the ability to put a face to a name. People like to see who they are voting for!

No, not all of the candidates' meetings are compulsory. However, important information related to the elections will be given out at these meetings; check the annual elections timeline to find out when the meetings will be.

We strongly advise attending the meetings, or sending someone in your place if you can’t. That will ensure you get access to any relevant information at the earliest opportunity.

The candidates' breakfast meetings are compulsory for Full-time Officer candidates. They take place every morning during the voting week of main elections (subject to COVID guidelines – we will keep you up to date at the time).

However, if you cannot attend for any reason, you should email your apologies to elections@rusu.co.uk at least an hour before the meeting so we can send you relevant information. If possible, we suggest that you send someone along on your behalf.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria exist for each role. Please note – Erasmus students undertaking a semester of study at Reading and students studying night classes on campus are ineligible for the roles offered in our Leadership Elections.

FULL-TIME OFFICER ROLE ELIGIBILITY – You must be a current student to nominate yourself for one of these roles. You can only nominate yourself for one Full-time Officer role per year or per election – you also cannot nominate for a Full-time Officer role alongside a Part-time Officer role, Student Trustee role, or Undergraduate Senior Rep role in our Leadership Elections.

Final year students can take up a Full-time Officer role once they’ve graduated, whereas students who will still be enrolled at the University of Reading for the 2022/23 academic year will have the option of pausing their studies to take a sabbatical year.

PART-TIME OFFICER ROLE ELIGIBILITY – You must be a current student who will still be enrolled at the University of Reading for the 2022/23 academic year to nominate yourself for one of these roles. For some roles, you will need to self-define within the student group that role will be representing.

You can only nominate yourself for one Part-time Officer role in this election, but you can nominate yourself to be a Student Trustee or an Undergraduate Senior Rep (if you are eligible) at the same time. You cannot nominate yourself to be a Full-time Officer at the same time.

STUDENT TRUSTEE ROLE ELIGIBILITY - You must be a current student who will still be enrolled at the University of Reading for the 2022/23 academic year to nominate yourself for one of these roles. You can nominate yourself to be a Part-time Officer and/or an Undergraduate Senior Rep at the same time (if you are eligible), but you cannot nominate yourself to be a Full-time Officer at the same time.

UNDERGRADUATE SENIOR REP ROLE ELIGIBILITY - You must be a current student on an undergraduate course who will still be enrolled at the University of Reading for the 2022/23 academic year to nominate yourself for one of these roles. You will only be eligible for the Senior Rep role that represents your course. You can nominate yourself to be a Part-time Officer and/or a Student Trustee at the same time (if you are eligible), but you cannot nominate yourself to be a Full-time Officer at the same time.

Yes, there is a provision within immigration law for Tier 4 visa holders to undertake Full-time and Part-time officer roles. Successfully elected Full-time Officers will be able to extend their stay in the UK under Tier 4. Further information regarding immigration issues and eligibility can be obtained from the International Student Advisory Team, email immigration@reading.ac.uk. For further guidance on working whilst on a Tier 4 visa please visit the University of Reading website.

If you are an international student you must ensure that any additional paid employment and/or voluntary work you undertake does not exceed 20 hours per week during term-time. Seek advice from the University Immigration Advisory Service if you are in any doubt about your working limits. Please email immigration@reading.ac.uk for more information.

If you are a Tier 4 student, you must ensure that you comply with the working conditions attached to your visa. For guidance on working whilst on a Tier 4 visa, please visit the University of Reading website. If you have any doubts about your working rights and limits, seek advice from the International Student Advisory Team by emailing immigration@reading.ac.uk or telephone 0118 378 8038.

For home students, please take a look at the University of Reading website for policy on how many hours full-time students are able to work during term-time.

If you have any questions or concerns relating specifically to immigration, please contact the International Student Advisory Team by emailing immigration@reading.ac.uk or telephone 0118 378 8038.

RUSU is committed to ensuring that its elections processes are fully accessible to the entirety of its membership. If your personal circumstances are such that you feel you will require extra support in order to take part in these elections, please contact Elections Team at elections@rusu.co.uk.

You do not need to have been involved in the Student Union or the NUS before to take part in any of our elections.

Students currently on an ERASMUS placement, whose home institution is the University of Reading, can run in our elections. Students whose home institution is not the University of Reading are not eligible to nominate themselves in our elections.

Yes, students studying part-time can participate in our elections. However, part-time Tier 4 students are not eligible to nominate themselves because their visa does not permit employment or voluntary work of any kind.

Yes! Students on final year placements can nominate themselves for Full-time Officer positions, and students returning to study after their placement can nominate themselves for any of the positions (Full-time Officer, Part-time Officer, Student Trustee and Undergraduate Senior Rep), as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for those specific roles.

Students enrolled on foundation courses can nominate themselves for a role at RUSU – you will need to provide evidence that you have accepted an unconditional offer to continue studying at the University of Reading following the completion of your foundation course.

Finalists can nominate themselves for a role that takes place in the following academic year if they can provide evidence that they have accepted an unconditional offer to continue studying at the University of Reading. You would also need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria of the role in question – for example, a final year undergraduate student could not nominate themselves to be an Undergraduate Senior Rep, as they would hold the role whilst studying at postgraduate level.

Yes, you can nominate yourself for a Full-time Officer position if you are on a course that finishes later than the start date of the role. RUSU will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that you can complete your studies whilst undertaking the role.

Yes, you can serve up to two terms in office (and therefore re-run for a second term) as a Full-time Officer, Part-time Officer, Senior Rep or Student Trustee.

Please note that you can only serve two terms in total for each role type, even if you want to run for a different position. For clarity, please see the following examples:

  • If you have been elected Disabled Students' Part-time Officer for the last two years, you cannot then run for any other Part-time Officer position for a third year. However, you could still run for a Full-time Officer, Senior Rep or Student Trustee role.
  • If you have been elected Disabled Students' Part-time Officer for one year, and then been elected as Women's Part-time Officer, you cannot then run for any other Part-time Officer position. However, you could still run for a Full-time Officer, Senior Rep or Student Trustee role.

Please email elections@rusu.co.uk. If you have any queries about re-running if you are currently in an elected position and are unsure about your eligibility.

Election rules

In order to make our elections more accessible to everybody, regardless of their financial background, we limit the amount candidates can spend on their campaigns. This differs per role – you can view your budget entitlement by reading our budget guidelines.

Any budget you do spend will be reimbursed by RUSU up to the budget limit for your respective role, provided it is spent on suitable campaigning materials. Make sure you keep your receipts!

Do not go over budget – you cannot spend your own money on top on your campaign.

To keep our elections fair, we do not allow for pets to be used in your campaigns.

For information on where you can put posters, please view our printing guidelines.

RUSU will display your poster virtually as long as it fits our poster criteria – it must be A4, portrait, and sent to elections@rusu.co.uk as a PDF file before the manifesto deadline. Remember to use your campaign colours, which you will choose at the candidates’ meeting!

We recommend taking a look at our elections rules to make sure you’re up to date on what candidates can and cannot do in our elections. We know rules aren’t always fun to follow, but they are important to ensure the election is fair for everyone!

Candidates Question Time

Full-time Officer Question Time is a public forum where candidates can address potential voters. It provides a chance for each candidate to explain to voters what they want to do if elected and to persuade students that they are the best candidate for the role.

For the 2022 Leadership Elections, Question Time will be taking on a slightly new format. Take a look at the Candidate Question Time page for more information.