Ben Wilson –
In a result that was incongruous with Womenâ€™s History Month, students at Kingâ€™s have voted in an all-male team of student officers in the 2013 KCLSU elections. However, you voted in KCLSUâ€™s first Muslim VP and international president!
The current Vice President for Student Activities and Facilities, Kirsten â€˜Kikiâ€™ Johnson, was edged out in the race for KCLSU President by Sebastiaan Debrouwere. Areeb Ullah took the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs ahead of Paul-Emile Dorsainvil (500+ votes), Becci Dyson, Zoe Hollingworth and Martina Wade. And incoming Vice President for Representation and Communications Anthony Shaw triumphed over postgraduate Law student Madeleine Timmermans. Meanwhile Liam Jackson beat the RON vote in decisive fashion for Vice President for Student Activities and Facilities.
Some commentators are already decrying such a macho-centric result, claiming that there will be a lack of representation of Kingâ€™s Collegeâ€™s female student population. However many are arguing that it is merely due democratic process, and pointing to the fact that three out of four of last yearâ€™s student officers were female. The year before that, Roar! ran with the controversial headline â€˜Bird is the wordâ€™ when an all-female team was elected.
This yearâ€™s elections saw a victory for Roar!, as three out of the four winners are on the editorial board of this newspaper, and the incoming President is a keen supporter. Roar! wishes Sebastiaan, Areeb, Liam and Anthony the very best of luck for the coming year.
Sebastiaan Debrouwere is set to become KCLSUâ€™s first international president next year, having won the election with 846 votes.
The student officer and trustee results were announced to a packed Guyâ€™s Bar on Friday 8th March, after a week of intense campaigning.
The Belgian fought a hard campaign to beat current Vice President for Student Activities and Facilities Kirsten â€˜Kikiâ€™ Johnson and KCL Economics Society President Robbie Hirst.
Debrouwere co-founded KCL Politics Society and is currently President of KCL Think Tank Society â€“ his CV has just improved tenfold with this election win.
The international flew over from Georgetown (where he is completing a semester abroad) especially for the election period. Luckily for him, the long flights and jet lag paid off.
He promises to â€˜cut red tapeâ€™ for KCLSU societies, activity groups and student media, proposing to introduce an online ticket system for requests. He also ensures students that he will address what he terms the â€˜bread and butter issuesâ€™ at the College, such as housing, employability and grants.
Two days after results night, Debrouwere was back on a plane to the US with his newly broken toes, and Roar! wishes him a quick recovery.
Anthony Shaw, having run what many perceived as a joke campaign, secured the new post of Vice President for Representation and Communications with 622 votes.
His wacky campaign posters, one of which featured Shaw in a dress, captured the imagination of an electorate. The Darwener triumphed over Law postgraduate student Madeleine Timmermans in a closely contested race, with a mere 200 votes between the two.
Shaw contributes to the Student Media Forum and currently sits on Student Council as Environment and Ethics representative, introducing College-wide policies such as double-sided printing for a reduced cost. He also edits the Features section of this newspaper.
The proud northerner vows in his manifesto to â€˜continue the great work started by the current VPSME Charlotte Richardson on the student media suite project,â€™ a long-term aim of the media societies at Kingâ€™s.
He also promises to support RAG and continue working on his vision for Strand and Waterloo RAGs to match GKT.
Shaw celebrated his win in modest style the following night, with a curry on New Cross Road â€“ chicken tikka masala, for those who were wondering.
A seasoned veteran of KCLSU student politics, having served on the Student Council for the past two years, Areeb â€˜Areeb-Springâ€™ Ullahâ€™s experience was perhaps one of the crucial deciding factors in the elections for Vice President of Academic Affairs.
The most hotly contested position in this yearâ€™s election, with 5 candidates standing, was taken by Ullah after a hard fought yet amiable campaign from all nominees.
Areebâ€™s manifesto ran on a platform of pushing for the removal of exam re-sit fees, making recording of all lectures mandatory, making access to modules in other departments and even at other University of London institutions easier, and fighting hidden course costs and cutbacks in postgraduate funding.
He was, however, forced to concede during the March 6th Hustings that mandatory recording of lectures would be problematic, if not impossible, since lectures are the intellectual property of the lecturer and there can subsequently be no obligation for this material to be recorded. But it turned out to be little more than a stumbling block, as 669 votes were enough to secure a firm victory.
Tweeting on the night of the election results, Areeb said â€œThank you to everyone that supported me and helped me through one of the most stressful times of my lifeâ€.
The position of Vice President for Student Activities and Facilities was taken this year by Roar!â€™s very own Sports Editor, Liam â€˜Re-Actionâ€™ Jackson.
Liam also comes from a position of experience with regards to student politics, having spent the last year serving in the role of Student Council NUS delegate.
Despite standing unopposed for the position he displayed great commitment and work ethic by mounting an extensive campaign to promote his policies, and was even spotted by this reporter canvassing for votes in the rain on Waterloo Bridge.
A healthy return of 1164 votes came as the result of tireless electioneering and a manifesto that pledged to further develop RAG on all campuses, to challenge the power of British Universities and Colleges Sport (particularly their desire to bring about a merger between KCL and GKT sports teams), to ensure Varsity for all sports and to find alternatives to the privatisation of halls of residences.
News of his election victory was greeted on Jacksonâ€™s Facebook page with the statement â€œThe next Vice-President of Student Activities and Facilities – I owe 1164 people a drink!â€ â€“ a pledge that will be certain to bring him a lot of popularity with his new voting base, if he is able to deliver!