The gerbil who won a UEA election

From The Associated Press, February 13, 1988

Ken The Gerbil Wins Student Election At University


A gerbil named Ken, campaigning on a platform of free beer and soft toilet paper, beat five other candidates to become president of the Student Union at the University of East Anglia. Ken’s owner, chemistry student Julian Campbell, 21, said he entered his pet as a joke and was amazed that the mouselike rodent won the job, which pays $94.50 a week.

The university is in Norwich in northeast England. Ken polled well over a third of the 1,500 votes, beating his nearest competitor by 194 votes. He celebrated his victory Friday night with sunflower seeds and a sip of vodka from a water bottle.

“I think he’ll make a great president. And he definitely won’t be making any boring speeches,” Campbell was quoted as telling The Star.

But outgoing Student Union president Rob Davies, 23, was not amused.

“The students have not taken the vote seriously,” Davies was quoted as telling the Daily Mirror. “I don’t think many know how much hard work goes into the job.”

Ken was named after Education Secretary Kenneth Baker, whose education reform bill is currently being considered by Parliament. But it turns out the name is somewhat of a misnomer.

Campbell found out during the campaign that Ken is actually a female and is pregnant.

Source: Nexis

The election was overturned and a fresh election held, in which Ken’s owner, Julian Campbell, was elected.