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ROUND-UP: Students’ Union Elections 2018

Following weeks of campaigning, current VP Welfare Ahmed Mahbub was announced as the next President of QMSU on 9th March 2018 at the election results party in Drapers. Starting August 2018, he will be working alongside newly elected Ella Harvey (VP Welfare), Tom Longbottom (VP Barts and the London), Redwan Shahid (VP Education), and 48 new members of Student Council.

Turnout reached 21.6% this year. This was down from last year’s 26.3%, but votes cast were higher, with 5,475 compared to last year’s 5,160. This is due to the student population at Queen Mary growing.

Ahmed won on the sixth  round of voting, narrowly defeating Lewis Williams, Nadia Hafedh, Rakin Choudhury, and Silvano Guadagni.

Ahmed’s election came days after the Jewish and Israel Society issued an official apology to Ahmed after multiple accusations of anti-Semitism.

In a statement released on Facebook on 5th March, the society accused Ahmed of retweeting and sharing posts that they believed were anti-Semitic. The statement was accompanied by three screenshots. Two were posts shared on Facebook whilst another was a tweet from the official page of the VP Welfare.

The original statement from the Jewish and Israel Society has now been deleted and replaced by another stating: “After carefully considering the evidence again, we have decided that our statement has crossed a line.  In light of this, we want to extend our sincere apologies to Ahmed Mahbub. However, we still strongly believe that the posts that Ahmed shared on Twitter are very controversial.”

In an interview with The Print immediately after being elected, Ahmed said that he’s going to “do great things next year”. In his manifesto, he promised to fight for student accommodation for all first-year students, to lobby for increased mental health provisions, and fight bursary cuts.  

Ahmed is currently the VP Welfare and said: “There are still a lot of things I want to complete and I want to make sure I can do them well”. In the Queen Mary Questions interview with The Print last month, he discussed how he had been working on bringing a mental health app to Queen Mary, and increasing awareness around how students can report hate crime.

The position of VP Welfare will be taken over by Ella Harvey, who said that she is “all about sexual health and mental health” in her interview with The Print. She added, “I can’t wait to deliver all promises”.

Ella won in the first round of voting with 1410 votes.

Her manifesto focuses heavily on getting more provisions for mental and sexual health at Queen Mary, as well as increased support for when students are transitioning between academic years.

Redwan Shahid was elected as the new VP Education a few days after the scheduled results announcement due do an SU investigation into fellow candidate Muhammad Faizan following complaints. These complaints, however, were not upheld.

In the end, Shahid won on the sixth round of voting when he beat Deanna Lyn Cook. Fazian was knocked out in the fifth round.  

Redwan has pledged to increase study accessibility and space for students, improve the BME experience at Queen Mary, and expand the opening times for the Whitechapel and West Smithfield libraries, amongst other policies.

As the only candidate to run this year, Tom Longbottom was elected as VP Barts and The London. He wants to ensure there is competition for the position in next year’s elections.

Tom said,  “I am confident that next year, we will have an amazing BSLA board and amazing student council. I look forward to working with them.”

His manifesto pledges include more sustainability, the BLSA staff role to increase welfare provisions for students, and creating a BLSA Alumni newsletter.

When candidates for all full-time and part-time positions were announced in mid-February, there were 37 positions with two or more candidates running, and 11 positions where there was either only one candidate or no candidate at all. The five positions with no candidates were immediately re-opened.

The number of candidates running this year was higher than it has been for the last two years, with over 120 students wanting a position in the Students’ Union – over 75 of which were female.

Most of the votes cast, 4,389 specifically, were by students based at the Mile End campus. There were only 992 voters from the Whitechapel campus, and 53 from the Charterhouse Square campus.

Female voters outnumbered males at 3,081 votes to 2,393 votes.

Roughly 43.6% of votes cast were from students studying Humanities & Social Sciences, followed by Science & Engineering (34%) and then Medicine & Dentistry (30%).

When this is broken down, the highest number of voters from an individual department was the School of Medicine and Dentistry, with 734 voters. Biological and Chemical Sciences came in second (503 votes), followed by Engineering (448 votes).


Additional reporting by Aaminah Akram, Gevitha Anbarasu, Sophie Mitchell, and Liv Mesce


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