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Union House

University of East Anglia



Dear Candidates,

Our Union operates under our constitution, and the electoral regulations are appendix D to
the constitution. All candidates were issued a copy of appendix D in their nomination packs,
and a full copy of the constitution is available online at

Section 124 of the constitution states:

The non-voting members of the Student Officer Committee shall be elected by ordinary
members who self-define as members of the demographic the Student Officer represent

The term ‘self-define’ is used in this context to allow students who are not registered with
the university as female but do consider themselves to be women (i.e. transgendered
students) to take part in the women’s officer election.

To encourage voters who do not ordinarily identify as women to self-define purely for the
purposes of an election is a violation of the spirit of the constitution and the electoral
regulations. The argument that this is allowed or intended by the use of the term ‘self-
define’ is disingenuous and offensive.

This is not a question of whether or not men can be involved in the feminist movement, but
of the right to autonomy which all liberation campaigns, including the Women’s Campaign,
have, and of the rules this election is being run under.

It is a perfectly valid argument that the way our officers are elected or the officer positions
should be changed, and any candidate would be perfectly entitled to make this an aspect of
their campaign and to seek to change the constitution through the usual procedure.
However attempting to undermine the autonomy of liberations groups, under our existing
rules, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

I would ask any candidates who know they have publicity that contravenes this ruling to
voluntarily remove it as soon as possible. Candidates who knowingly break the rules of this
election may be subject to consequences, at the discretion of the Returning Officer (see
section 2 of Appendix D).

This letter constitutes a ruling from the Deputy Returning Officer. Challenges may be made
in writing to Al Powell, our Returning Officer (

Yours faithfully,

Duncan Smith
Deputy Returning Officer