Surrey Decides Referendum 2019 – Guide to the rules

The referendum process is part of the Students' Union's election rules.  Therefore, each side of the referendum debate can have a spokesperson, who we treat as the election candidate for that campaign.  The following rules must be read and understood by all candidates.  Please email to confirm that you have read and understood these rules.

As a candidate, you are expected to follow the rules of the election.  Not doing so will result in action being taken against you by the independent Returning officer. 

During the election the Students' Union will communicate with you via email on

The Students' Union's Byelaws have a section (part 3) which describes the rules of all elections, and which should be read alongside these specific rules for this referendum.


The Referendum Question:

‘Is the performance and leadership of the governing bodies of the University of Surrey satisfactory?’


Referendum timetable:

Referendum eventConfirmed date
Announce referendum question and open nominations28th March
Close nominations and brief the candidates10th May, 12 noon, Students' Union Committee Room

Campaigning period starts

Statement submission deadline 9am

13th May 12noon

Statements due 9am 13th May via

Question Time event6pm 14th May, 03 MS 01
Budget form deadline7pm 16th May, via

15th-17th May online

Results published at 7pm on 17th May.


Campaign statement submission

The Students' Union will publish the two campaign statements which will set out the argument for each side of the debate – yes or no.   A limited supply of printed statements will be produced for Question Time.

Any submission which is not submitted to in the correct format by the deadline (9am on Monday the 13th of May) risks not being included in any Students' Union produced materials.

Election budget

Candidates' campaign costs cannot exceed £100.  The full amount of £100 can be claimed back from the Students' Union.  Candidates must supply receipts in order to prove their spending and claim campaign expenses. 

Budget forms and receipts must be emailed to by 7pm on Thursday the 16th of May.  Forms must be returned even if nothing was spent on the campaign. 

Campaigning and Organising

For the purpose of the referendum, 'campaigning' refers to actively soliciting votes from students.  Campaigning for votes may begin from midday on Monday the 13th of May.  Campaigning for votes is not allowed before this point, in person or online.  The campaign period is stated on the referendum timetable. 

Prior to the campaigning period, potential candidates may organise in the form of conducting research, gathering information, or assembling a team. In doing so, you should only focus on developing your campaign and/or team; directly advertising your campaign statement or your intention to represent one side of the argument in the referendum may be interpreted as early campaigning.   Any action that could be interpreted as early campaigning for votes will be investigated by the Returning Officer and action may be taken against you. If it is unclear whether preparation activity will be considered as early campaigning, please contact

Once the campaign period has begun, posters and other campaign materials are allowed throughout the University estate, apart from the entire Library building (including the ground floor area outside Simply Fresh).  Candidates are permitted to walk through the ground floor foyer but must do so directly and must not campaign or leave any publicity in the building. Any reports of campaigning or advertising material left in any area of the Library building will be treated seriously.

Campaign publicity should not obstruct the normal workings of the campus, for example do not obstruct vision panels in doors or obscure a fire exit sign.  Campaign materials must not be placed in hard to reach or dangerous areas. Candidates may not use stickers. Those who are campaigning must not block access to University buildings, or otherwise disrupt the academic activities of the University.  All campaign material must be removed from campus before the votes are counted.

Question Time

Question Time will take place at 6pm on the 14th of May in 03MS01.  It will be chaired by a student and live streamed.

Attendance at Question Time is advisable but not compulsory.  Candidates who wish to be present and are unable to do so will be offered the opportunity to submit a video and have the option to answer questions via skype. 


Voting in the referendum will be via cross campus ballot and the first past the post method.

It is against the election rules to cast a vote with another person's log in details.  Every student has the right to vote secretly.  Any evidence of candidates interfering with another student's vote will be taken very seriously by the Returning Officer.

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