8:30 Good morning. Another election day is finally upon us and as always we are in the thick of it all. Follow our live blog all day from the discomfort of your own lecture or during whatever mundane exercise our beloved university has bestowed on you today.
A breakdown of the candidates and the voting halls and voting hours will follow soon.
9:00 Here is the final breakdown before voting begins!
Ballot boxes and voting hours:
Common Room 9am – 6pm
Mater Dei 9am- 5pm
Valetta Campus – 9 am -1pm
Gozo Campus 9am – 2 pm
Senate: One vacancy
Nominees: Rita Catherina Mangion Bianco, Elizabeth Micallef, Keith Pace
Council: 2 vacancies
Nominees: Rita Catherine Mangion Bianco, Elizabeth Micallef, Yanica Sant
9:30 The following are the only faculty elections that will be taking place due to more than the minimum amount of nominations:
Faculty of Education: 2 vacancies
Nominees: Karl Attard, Dexter Portelli, Andrea Abela
Voting: Common Room & Gozo Campus
Faculty of Engineering: 1 vacancy
Nominees: Andre Farrugia, Daniel Scicluna Calleja
Voting: Common Room
Faculty of Medicine and Surgery: 1 vacancy
Nominees: David Cassar, Ryan Falzon, Julia Nafisa Shaaban
Voting: Common Room & Mater Dei
Faculty of Science: 2 vacancies
Nominees: Jennifer Attard, Thomas Bajada, Daniel Mangion
Voting: Common Room
Institute of Digital Games: 2 vacancies
Nominees: Luke Mark Aquilina, David Chircop, Jean-Luc Portelli
Voting: Common Room
Institute for European Studies: 2 vacancies
Nominees: Leandro Borg, Gayle Lynn Callus, Ryan Farrugia, Andre’ Vella
Voting: Common Room
More details at http://www.um.edu.mt/registrar/students/elections-student-representatives
11:50 We have just been informed that the 15 students who make up the Institute of Digital games have just made their way up to the Common Room to vote together.
Stay tuned for comments from some of the candidates!
14:40 We have just spoken to Daniel Scicluna Calleja who is one of the two nominees hoping to be elected as a student representative for the Faculty Engineering. Here are some of his comments:
“My priorities are ultimately to be an effective voice for all students and to make actions louder than words.”
“I feel that elections seem to be going well so far. Turnout still seems a bit low but we are hopeful. I am reminding people that the election is going on but it is up to them to vote for who they feel the need to give their vote to in the voting hall. I would like to thank and congratulate all those who went to vote and I would also like to encourage all those who haven’t go to vote to do so.”
15:00 We also caught up with Thomas Bajada, a candidate from the Faculty of Science.
“The role of student representative is immensely important so that the voice and opinions of the students can reach the administration easily and can take part in the decisions taken, eventually the students are the subjects of the decisions taken.”
“Unity and better communication between science students and better collaboration with S-Cubed are my primary aims. I have already met many students throughout the past weeks from the different courses and have already quite a clear idea of where and what problems are.”
“I am quite disappointed regarding the lack of nominations in many faculties showing that activism is very slack in our University. In my opinion I am very blessed to be part of an election for the Faculty of Science for two available posts, except that all contestants are coming from the same departments. Good Luck to all candidates in the Senate, Council and Faculties.”
16:20 This year’s elections has also generated a substantial amount of interest among international students. Mostly due to the presence of Julia Shabaan on the ballot sheet. Julia is UK graduate with a different perspective on the election.
“I didn’t write lots of points in my manifesto like my opponents… I think that the points I should bring up in the faculty board should be the student’s points, not mine. I want to encourage students to speak out about their problems which will change throughout the two year term. There is no point in having a list of things to do and then finding that others problems get in the way and they can’t be fulfilled – making empty promises and that’s not what I’m about”.
“I would like to try and make sure every student’s medical school experience is the best it can be and make sure they have the opportunities they deserve. I believe strongly in student rights and fairness, good communication and tenacity!”
16:30 We have just approached Keith Pace who is a candidate for the Senate.
“My main priorities are to ensure that the senate continues to work in the best interest of all students, to ensure constant communication with faculty reps and to try to involve student organisations more where appropriate. I would also like to work on increasing student awareness with regards work done by the senate and to increase transparency and availability of important documents”
“I wish there was greater participation and I think that many students arent aware of the functions and structures of the university decision making institutions and hence don’t recognise the importance of casting their vote”.
16:45 Senate candidate Yanica Sant also expressed her disdain at the low turnout when she gave us her comments:
“It appears that these elections, despite being promoted via emails and the social media, are still not given the attention they deserve. It appears that a number of students are still not aware of the existence of the Council and the Senate. This year, in my opinion, there were also a number of candidates who did not campaign at all, and this does not help to increase student awareness.”
17:00 Voting at Mater Dei has now closed. We are now into the last hour of voting at the Common Room!
17:30 We have also managed to catch up with Dexter Portelli from the Faculty of Education for a quick chat. He seemed more optimistic about the turnout.
“I think more people are becoming interested in these elections. It is evident that more candidates are showing an interest in submitting themselves to be students representatives for their faculty. However there is still a lot of work to be done in order to improve student activism.”
When asked what he would have to offer to the faculty if elected, Portelli insisted that one of the problems education students are facing is that they find it difficult to express concerns about certain situations they experience during lectures to the lecturer.
“I try to take advantage of the good relationships I have with B.Ed students in order to pass on these concerns as well as to be able to see the situation from each students’ perspective so that they have a good University experience.”
18:00 Voting is now closed.
18:05 Votes are being reconciled.