Election Myths

Thinking about standing in the Student Elections but feeling a bit unsure? Worried about running a campaign? Download our TOP TEN myths about running in the elections to see that it's really not so scary! We also have some case studies (below) based on former successful officers who won despite conventional wisdom (seemingly) being against them.

I won’t win because I’m standing against a current officer... Pete did!

It is normal to think that when an officer is standing for re-election that they have a big advantage. However, this isn’t necessarily the case and there are a number of factors that count in your favour. Most notably, if the current officer graduated last year then many of their friends and supporters will have left GCU and now that you have seen them in the role for the best part of a year you can say what you would do differently!

In 2011, Pete Hollier was successfully elected as a Full Time Officer having stood against the current officer in that role. Following a strong campaign by both sides, Pete came out on top winning by 74 votes, with 1,634 cast in total.

I won't win because I have a smaller campaign team... Danielle did!

You might think from the groups of students standing at the entrances to campus and the colourful handmade posters up on every other window that a lot of time was required to campaign in elections. This might have made a difference in the past when our elections took place over one day and everyone had to use a paper ballot paper at a polling station. Now students can vote online from anywhere on campus or in the world at any time of day over the five days of voting. So it is important that candidates have a good manifesto and spend their time speaking to students.

In 2012, there were five candidates running for a Full Time Officer position and although she didn’t have the most posters or supporters out on campus, Danielle Borrett was successfully elected because she spent most of her time speaking in front of lectures and talking to students.

I won't win because I won't be on campus... Neill did!

You might think that you must be on campus to run in the elections. However, we have lots of students on placements and studying abroad.

In 2013-14, Neill was successfully elected as a Full Time Officer. At the time of the elections, he was on a Study Trip in Spain and could not campaign using traditional methods. An example of how we was innovative was to buy a Facebook campaign targeted at students studying at GCU.


I won't win because I am an international student... Yetunde did!

You might think that as an international student you might not be able to stand as a candidate in our Full Time Officer elections due to VISA issues. A Tier 4 visas allow students to work full-time as a paid Full Time Officer (as known as a Sabbatical Officer), plus up to 20 hours per week additional employment during term time. Students can work as a Full Time Officer as a break during their course or at the end of it. Students cannot, however, study part-time whilst working as a Full Time Officer. The University remains the Tier 4 visa sponsor even though the employment as a Full Time Officer is with the Students’ Association.

Yetunde was the first international student to be a Full Time Officer. She was elected as Vice President SHLS during the academic years 2016/17 and 2017/18. Yetunde is from Nigeria and was studying MSc Clinical Microbiology, that involved compulsory lab work during the summer. Working closely with the University we were able to obtain a Tier 4 Visa for her and Yetunde successfully completed her studies with no hindrance. Yetunde found it to be a great opportunity to get involved and encourages others to do the same.

I won't win because I'm not from the Business School... Jack, Jas, Michael and Andrew did!

Although many of our Full Time Officers have studied within the Glasgow School for Business and Society, coming from this School doesn’t actually give candidates an advantage. The fact is that students from the School of Health & Life Science and the School of Engineering & Built Environment are just as likely to win - if they stand!

Yes, the reason that we have fewer officers from these Schools is that in the past they have been less likely to stand. But when they have stood we've seem them win too. 

Jack Johnston from the School of Engineering and Built Environment who was a Full Time Officer in 2014-15 and Andrew Smith was a Vice President in 2011-12.

Michael Stephenson was a student from School of Health and Life Sciences and was elected Student President in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and Jas Sangha was a Vice President in both 2009-10 and 2010-11.


Sometimes courses with professional body accreditation make it more difficult to take a year out of studies but its not necessarily impossible.



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