Members of the Convocation of Stellenbosch University (SU) still have time until just before midnight on Monday 7 December 2020 to vote for three members of the executive committee (EC) of the SU Convocation. The three vacancies are for the president, secretary and an ordinary member of the executive committee.
The purpose of the SU Convocation is to promote the welfare of the University by maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship between the institution and the members of Convocation, and may, where appropriate, advise Senate and Council. All persons who have been awarded a qualification at a congregation (i.e. a graduation ceremony) of SU are members of the SU Convocation; so are the rector, vice-rectors, chief operating officer and all full-time academic staff. Full-time academic staff of SU also remains members of the SU Convocation after their retirement.
Two nominations were received for the vacancy of president; four nominations for the vacant position of secretary; and six nominations for the ordinary member of the executive committee. The term of office for members of the executive committee is three years. Candidates are eligible again, but not for more than three consecutive terms.
SU received a complaint that three candidates’ vision statements exceeded the 50-word limit by between three and fourteen words, along with the insistence that they should be disqualified. SU has decided against disqualification as this does not unfairly benefit any of the candidates. References to a previous candidate who was disqualified relates to the election of council members and not for the executive committee of Convocation. His nomination was declared invalid because one of his seconders was not a SU alumnus, and not because he had exceeded the word limit.
SU has also received a complaint about emails encouraging the support for certain candidates. The complaint relates to SU’s distribution lists that had apparently been made available. It is, however, not SU’s policy to make any of its student, staff or alumni databases available to individuals or organisations, unless permission has been obtained or other grounds exist for making these available. Such circumstances were not applicable in this instance and SU did not make any distribution lists available.
The election closes on Monday evening 7 December 2020 at 23:59 and the successful candidates will be announced at the virtual Convocation meeting on 9 December 2020. The annual Convocation meeting takes place online for the very first time, giving alumni from around the world the opportunity to engage and participate in the meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 18:00 (SAST) on 9 December 2020, so 16:00 in London (BST), 17:00 in Brussels (CEST) 08:00 in Los Angeles (PST), 11:00 in New York (EST) and 00:00 in Hong Kong (HKT) on 10 December 2020. Members of Convocation have been invited to register online by Friday 4 December 2020 to attend the meeting.
It is also the first time that the election of the members for the Executive Committee of Convocation takes place on the basis of an election procedure via a digital platform. The names of the candidates, their vision statements and guidelines for the voting process are available on SU’s website. Inquiries can be directed to email@example.com.