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Politics

Your guide to the university elections

Elections 2019 — You want to be a good citizen of the university, and you want to exercise your democratic powers, but the elections at the university is a jungle to navigate. We’ve put together a guide to help you on your way.

Every year during the fall the university holds elections, but the process can seem confusing and complicated. Don’t worry! The University Post is here to provide you with an overview of the university elections, so you’re well-equipped when casting your votes.

Here is your University Elections 2019 FAQ:

Sorry, what are we voting on again?

Okay, don’t let this discourage you but at the university elections, you will be voting for faculty academic councils, the university board, study boards, and PhD-committees. These are all democratically elected offices at University of Copenhagen. Don’t worry, we’ll explain what they all do soon.

Am I eligible to vote?

You are! All students at University of Copenhagen are eligible to vote at the university elections. Full-time employees in scientific positions (the VIP’s) as well as the administrative personnel (the TAP’s) are also eligible to vote.

However, you cannot cast your vote in every election. Students vote for student representatives; employees vote for employee representatives. You cast your vote for the representatives in your own department/faculty—if for instance you a history student, you are eligible to vote for the Academic Council at the Faculty of Humanities, but you cannot cast your vote in the Academic Council election at the Faculty of Social Sciences. This year all students and employees are eligible to vote for the board election. Students will vote for student representatives, while VIP employees vote for VIP representatives and TAP employees vote for TAP representatives.

So…

Are you a student? You are eligible to vote in the elections for the study board, the academic council and the board of the university.

Are you a PhD-student? You are eligible to vote for the PhD-committee as well as the board of the university (as an employee of the university).

Are you a VIP? You are eligible to vote for the PhD-committee. (If you are a recent hire at the newly opened Department of Communication, you will be voting for the study board elections as well).

Are you a TAP? All you have to worry about is the election for the Board.

So, what do all the board, councils, and committees actually do?

We’ve put together a very brief introduction to every one of them below. Of course, we encourage you to click on the links for a more in-depth description of the various offices at the university, their responsibilities, and mandates.

ELECTIONS 2019

Read more about the offices you will be voting for at the elections:

The study boards

The Academic Councils

The Board

PhD-committees

The Board of University of Copenhagen is the university’s highest authority. The board has 11 members who have the power to dismiss and hire rectors. The board decides how the university is organized. Five members of the board are democratically elected, while the six remaining external members are appointed. Find out more here.

The academic councils represent each faculty at the university and have an advisory function. The councils advise the deans and affect the faculties’ development and they are responsible for the research that takes place. A council will form a committee that is responsible for hiring professors and lecturers and admitting PhD-students. Find out more here.

The study boards are housed at and represent every academic subject at the individual departments. The study board at a department are in charge of planning and developing degree programmes. The board reviews course evaluations, create study programmes, and process dispensation applications. If you’re trying to pass a particular exam that you’ve already failed three times before, you are going to want to make a favourable impression on the study board at your department. Find out more here.

The PhD-committees operate on the faculty level, just like the academic councils. The committees ensure the highest educational standard in a PhD-programme by devising guidelines for the education of PhD’s, educational counselling, and relevant course work. Find out more here.

Which “parties” can I vote for?

There are many candidates and parties on the ballot at this year’s university elections, and finding the right candidate to vote for can seem like an impossible task when you’re scrolling through the massive list of all candidates at the elections (University of Copenhagen has chosen to display ALL candidates including those who have appointed them. Candidates for the PhD-committees as well as the study boards must be appointed by ten people or have ten percent of the votes) in one harrowing PDF-file on KUnet, and we highly encourage you to Ctrl+F your way through it if you don’t want to be discouraged immediately.)

The student councils at the individual degree programmes typically have one or more candidates running for seats on the study board, and there are lots of student councils at the university. It is not uncommon for the student councils to decide on a candidate to vote for prior to the election as it is very rare that several parties are fighting for the same seat on a study board.

When students vote for candidates in the elections for the academic councils, typically the student councils run for the seats. That means the Humanities Council, the Social Sciences Council, the Science Council, United Jurists, and the Faculty of Theology study council (which is also a faculty council, as if things weren’t complicated enough already). Every faculty council oversees the individual student councils.

In addition, there are two party political student associations that you will find on most of the ballots: the social democratic Frit Forum and the conservative Konservative Studerende (the latter are also in league with Konservative Jurister).

Important dates

November 14: Deadline for objecting against candidates.

November 25: VOTE! You can cats your vote via KUnet starting at 10 a.m.

November 29: The digital voting station closes at 3 p.m.

December 4: Election results are announced 12.30 p.m.

Frit Forum and Konservative Studerende both run candidates for the board elections, as does the Student Council (which oversees the faculty councils and represents all students at the university), the Humanities Council, and Fysisk Fagråd (which support the Student Council).

How do I vote?

You don’t have to line up in the rain outside your local school/retirement home/library. In fact, the voting itself is quite easy. You can log into KUnet and cast your vote starting at 10 a.m. on November 25 and ending at 3 p.m. on November 29.

All parties administer their votes in one of two ways. The list of candidates is ranked which means the top candidate receives all votes until a seat is secured. That means the candidate likely to win a seat is the top candidate on the ballot. Alternatively, parties administer votes based on how many personal votes individual candidates receive—regardless of their position on the ballot.

With ranked parties it is, however, possible for a low-ranked candidate to ‘blow the list’, if he or she receives enough personal votes.

When is the big election party?

University of Copenhagen doesn’t have a war room or the latest exit polls, and the elections aren’t broadcast on national tv either. However, the final result is announced at a ceremony which takes place at the Board of University of Copenhagen’s lovely offices at Lindegården by Frue Plads. This is also where candidates draw straws if they have received the same number of votes. It’s definitely something to see and it all goes down on December 4 at 12 noon.

Remember to vote!

READ MORE ABOUT THE ELECTIONS at uniavisen.dk/univalg

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