In October 2020, students elected Leyla Hussein to be the new Rector, taking on the position from November. The Rector is a student representative, elected to serve your needs. They hold the title of President of University Court, the highest governing body of the University.

It's up to students to contact potential candidates asking them to consider running for the position, and then to create a campaign team.

Find out more about the role of Rector.

Questions about the election process should be sent to our Director of Wellbeing ([email protected]), who oversees the election process.

Year Turnout
2020 44.0%
2017 33.2%

2020 Candidates

2020 results
Stage 1:
Name Votes
Mr Ken Cochran 471
Dr Fiona Hill 1,866
Dr Leyla Hussein 2,115
RON 45
Stage 2:
Name Votes
Dr Fiona Hill 2,096
Dr Leyla Hussein 2,268 (winner)
Expired 133


Total votes: 4,497

Nominating a candidate

  1. Email the candidate's 250-word statement and photo to the Returning Officer
  2. Send a hard copy of the nomination form, including 20 student signatures, to the Returning Officer (details on form)
  3. Send a hard copy of a signed code of conduct to the Returning Officer
  4. Send a hard copy of the charity trustee eligibility form to the Returning Officer

Nomination files

Running a Rector campaign

1. Pick the right candidate

By this, we don’t necessarily mean someone famous, or even someone with a St Andrews connection. We mean someone who reflects the values and ethos you want to bring to St Andrews.

Not only will this make it easier to build a compelling narrative around your candidate, but it’ll make it easier to convince candidates to run if you can show that St Andrews is a place that could be improved by putting their values into action.

2. Do your research when creating a manifesto

Make sure everything you include within your manifesto falls within the role of the Rector (check the role of Rector page, or email [email protected] if you need clarification.) Also, speak to as many people as possible about what they perceive as problems in St Andrews, and look at how your manifesto could help solve them.

3. Once you have your manifesto, workshop it with as many people as possible

Ask for their feedback both in the ideas included, and the way they’re expressed (the last thing you want if for people to think you’re promising something you aren’t). Also, getting feedback on your manifesto is a great way to get people interested in your campaign, if you want to recruit people. Speaking of which...

4. Think carefully about your campaign team

Make sure that your campaign team isn’t solely drawn from one society, social group, or demographic. Have a think about who your Rectorial candidate could appeal to or inspire.

5. Be creative when campaigning

With social distancing and dual delivery, most campaigning is going to have to be done over social media. That means it’s going to be more of a challenge to engage the attention of students- think about how you can distil your message down to it’s essentials and use graphics, pictures and media to get it across.

6. Familiarise yourself with the election rules

A lot of campaign teams fall foul of Rectorial Election rules by accident; however, ignorance is no excuse, and there could be disciplinary consequences for anyone that breaks them. Make sure that you, and your campaign team, don’t make this mistake.

7. Remember that those who don’t usually vote make up the majority of potential voters, and could swing the result in any election

You should go out of your way to appeal to these voters – don’t just tell them it’s important to vote; find out why they aren’t voting, and see what you can do about it!

Returning Officer

The Returning Officer has the authority to reject nominations based on inelegibility to serve as a charity trustee, or inability to fulfil the requirements of the role. They will oversee the conduct of the election, directing any reports of minor rule infringements to the Election Committee, and any major infringements to the Senate-appointed advisory panel.

The University's Chief Legal Officer, Roy Drummond ([email protected]), is acting as Returning Officer.

Election Committee

The Election Committee is a student group responsible for promoting the rectorial election, ensuring the election is carried out fairly, dealing with minor allegations of infringements on election rules, monitoring and reimbursing election expenses, and arranging hustings. The 2020 committee consists of:

  • Senior Elections Officer: Emma Walsh (DoWell)
  • Association President: Dan Marshall (President)
  • School President from Arts and Divinity: Elinor Layne
  • School President from Science and Medicine: Camiel Leake
  • Honours student representative: Martin Caforio
  • Sub-honours student representative: Alasdair Richmond
  • SRC member: Anna-Ruth Cockerham