Outgoing undergraduate president Zaynab Ahmed warmly congratulated Kirman on his electionDaniel Hilton

Fergus Kirman has been elected Student Union (SU) undergraduate president for the next academic year. Turnout in the election was only 10.8%. Acknowledging this, Kirman told Varsity “we are in a pit and we’ve got to get out of it. Change is coming.”

Kirman beat Eve Blain, former co-chair of Labour club and co-chair of the SU ethical campaign, by 58.4% to 37.1% of the vote.

Voter turnout was at 10.8%, lower than 12% last year and 18% the year before that.

Kirman thanked his supporters and told Varsity: “The message for students is we hear you. We hear that you want change, and change is coming. The SU will do more for you, it isn’t just a slogan. You will find the SU can actually work for students.”

Kirman’s election was not welcomed by everyone in the room. Many outgoing sabbatical officers did not clap.

Kirman campaigned on the promise to pursue tuition fee refunds due to strike disruption. Referring to this policy, Kirman said: “It was a really opportune moment to talk to students and understand what they wanted. For too long we’ve been trapped in this denial and orthodoxy that doesn’t align with student’s interests.”.

He continued: “Education should be free but it is not. It is the job of the Student Union to put students first. I will always put students first, and that includes demanding tuition fee refunds. I don’t care about ideological debates that were fought and lost twenty years ago. I care about students now.”

Kirman is treasurer of Christ’s JCR and has been chair of the SU council. He ran on a platform of tackling health inequality. His flagship policy is free NHS prescriptions and subsidised student dental care.

He has also promised to push for the Cambridge bursary to increase in line with inflation, amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Eve Blain said: “Thanks to everyone who helped with my campaign and to everyone who voted for me - I’m sorry not to be able to deliver the changes I’d promised, but wish the committee the best for next year.”

In the other contested elections, Sam Carling was re-elected as University Councillor, fending off competition from Sam Hutton and Noah Rouse. Harvey Brown was also elected to serve as welfare and community officer in the other contested election.

All uncontested candidates were elected. Vareesh Pratap has been elected as postgraduate president. Caredig ap Tomos will serve as undergraduate access, education and participation officer. Anastasia Perysinakis was also elected in the equivalent postgraduate position. Ell Gardner-Thomas will also become disabled students’ officer.

The BME and women’s officer will remain unfilled as no candidates stood in the election. A by-election will take place in Easter term.

Zaynab Ahmed, outgoing SU undergraduate president, warmly greeted Kirman after his election. She told Varsity: “This week watching everything from afar has been really interesting and exciting. All of the candidates ran incredible campaigns, so I want to congratulate them on their hard work. And there were some incredible manifestos, and I’m incredibly excited to see what the next sabb team do next year”.