Emma Smith withdraws from YUSU elections

Smith was running for Student Activities Officer prior to her withdrawal

Emma Smith has dropped out of the running for Student Activities Officer, saying the combination of mental health issues, campaigning, degree work and a part-time job had “got to be too much”.

Image: James Hostford

Image: James Hostford

She announced her withdrawal from elections at the start of the weekend before voting opened on Monday.

Smith said she had found campaigning “really enjoyable” but admitted: “It was just a bit unfortunate that I didn’t have much support around me as regards [sic] the making and distributing of campaign materials [which] makes it so much harder.”

Her manifesto policies included increasing the support that societies receive and removing barriers to involvement by making it easier to access information about student activities. She also pledged to prioritise RAG and volunteering if elected.

Smith told Nouse she was “very sad” to be dropping out of elections and that she would have “loved to have carried on to give it [her] best shot” but recognised that her health and degree should come first. She said: “My mental health … has been a struggle for me recently.”

Smith, who has depression, said she wanted to be “honest” about her reasons for deciding not to continue running for Student Activities Officer. She added: “Mental health is still considered a taboo and I want to contribute to removing that stigma in what little way I can.”

Speaking of the four remaining candidates, she said: “[They] all seem very capable, and whoever gets it will, I believe, I do a good job. I still think they should implement some of my ideas though – they are very simple and easy to do, would easily fit into the ideals espoused in their policies and will create a huge difference to the lives of students involved in activities. I wish them all the very best of luck.”

Voting for this year’s YUSU elections will close on Thursday. The results will be announced on Friday evening.

Students can get support for mental health issues from the Open Door Team, their GP or college welfare teams.


  1. I think that I speak for a lot of people when I say that Smith should be commended, both for her campaign and her honesty. She calls her contribution to removing the stigma around mental health little, but I really don’t think it is – that she has been honest about the difficulties she has encountered is enormously important. It’s saddening that she must withdraw, but she has greatly enriched the awareness and discussion of mental health issues in our community. Running for election to such a high-profile office is a demanding, challenging and exhausting challenge, and one that she rose to superbly well in my opinion. That her main concern is what her experience can do for others, and that she remains passionate and convinced about her policy platform, is testament to what a fine officer she would have made. I – and I’m sure so many others – wish her all the best for the future.

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  2. 25 Feb ’15 at 6:52 pm

    Harold A.. Maio

    —-“Mental health is still considered a taboo and I want to contribute to removing that stigma in what little way I can.”

    Her words, “taboo”, and “stigma” are regrettable.

    Equally regrettable is your choosing them: That she has been taught those lessons, does not mean you should.

    It is, in fact, unethical that you do.

    Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor
    [email protected]

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