UCL-UCU: Returning Officer’s Report on UCL UCU elections

12 July 2022

The full report from the Returning Officer on the recent Executive Committee election

At our recent AGM the election results for the new UCL UCU Executive Committee were confirmed, including confirmation of the results from the contested election for Branch Secretary.

The Returning Officer (RO), John Yandell, presented his election report, highlighted recommendations for the running of our branch elections in future, and requested that all UCL UCU members be informed of these.

The AGM thanked the RO, and agreed that the RO’s report should be distributed to all members.

That report, which includes the complete list of elected officers and members of the new Executive Committee, is copied in full below.

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UCL UCU Returning Officer’s report for AGM 2022


The following nominations were received and found to be in order:

  • Vice President - Smith, Holly, & Christidi, Ilektra (standing jointly)
  • Treasurer - Doyle, Seán
  • Equality Officer - Showunmi, Victoria
  • Anti-casualisation Officer - Tiratelli, Matteo
  • Communications Officer - Curtis, Sonja
  • Health & Safety Officer - Coker, Alun
  • Environment Officer - Tacu, Anca
  • Postgraduate Officer - [no nomination received]

Since there was, in effect, only one nomination for each of the above posts, in accordance with rule 9.4, I declare that those nominated are elected unopposed. The post of Postgraduate Officer remains vacant. Nominations for this post may be submitted at the AGM.

Two nominations were received for each of the following posts:


  • Wallis, Sean
  • Meckled-Garcia, Saladin


  • Brown, Tony
  • Meckled-Garcia, Saladin

After the close of nominations, Saladin Meckled-Garcia withdrew his nomination from the post of President. There was thus a need for an election only for the post of Secretary. The election opened on 13th June 2022 and closed on 27th June 2022.

The results were as follows:

Brown, Tony186 votes
Meckled-Garcia, Saladin372 votes

Saladin Meckled-Garcia is therefore elected branch secretary.

Ordinary members of the committee

The following nominations were received:

  • Friedrich, Bettina
  • Donoghue, Helen
  • Kahn, Lily
  • Lane, Majella
  • Newman, Mark
  • Vivat, Bella
  • Brown, Tony
  • Vittal, Nalini

There being fewer than 15 nominations, in accordance with rule 9.4, I declare that the above members were elected unopposed as ordinary members of the committee.

(Sean Wallis, Sean Doyle, Ilektra Christidi and Saladin Meckled-Garcia were also nominated as committee members, but were elected as officers.)

Since the rules allow for the election of up to 15 ordinary members, a further 7 ordinary members of the committee may be elected at the AGM.

The conduct of the election

I feel I should also take this opportunity to report on the conduct of the election, since this has been neither smooth nor uncontentious. I appreciate that it may have been some time since the last contested election in this branch, and thus colleagues may have grown unaccustomed to dealing with the issues of fairness and transparency that are likely to arise in such moments.  But there are, in my view, lessons to be learnt from this election – lessons that need to be learnt if the branch is not to risk significant reputational damage.

One area of difficulty relates to possible conflicts of interest in the conduct of the election. My view is that it would have been preferable, once it was clear that the position of Secretary was to be contested, for the current Secretary to have played no part in the administration or oversight of any aspect of the election process.  

Concerns have been raised by members about the way in which canvassing has been carried out by supporters of both the individuals standing for Secretary. These concerns have been about the content of statements made in relation to the candidates and their suitability or otherwise for the position, but also about the legitimacy of canvassing by email that would appear to have involved the use of some form of mailing list. The provenance of such mailing lists remains unclear to me – and that is, in itself, a cause for concern.

It was also unfortunate, to say the very least, that the election statements produced by the two candidates for the Secretary position were not distributed to members before voting began. The statements were accessible via the Choice Voting platform, but were not presented there in such a form that their existence would have been obvious to voters. The significance of this is heightened by the fact that almost a third of the total votes cast (183 out of 558) were entered on the first day of voting. Those members may, of course, have amended their initial votes at some later stage in the process; my hunch, however, is that most voters are unlikely to have done so.

For what it’s worth, I think it is a pity that a hustings was not held. Election statements are all very well, but a hustings provides the opportunity to scrutinise the candidates, to see how they respond to questions and to understand more about the basis for their candidacy. I wonder if such an event might be built into the timetable for any future contested elections.

John Yandell

Returning Officer

27th June 2022