THE two latest events in student politics have failed to interest the student population.
University College London’s annual members’ meeting was cancelled due to lack of interest and the recent University of London elections managed to attract a disappointing 1.5 per cent of its electorate.
According to UCLU, the annual members’ meeting is held to ensure that “ any member of the Union has the opportunity to vote on motions relating to something really important, when it’s necessary to be able to say that a large number of the students agree or disagree with something.”
With only approximately 45 attendees and a quorum set above 460, the annual members’ meeting was cancelled. Pi Newspaper spoke to James Skuse, Democracy and Communications Officer, who suggested that the failure of the meeting was “unfortunate but almost inevitable.” Skuse blamed its failure on the particularly high quorum which was set above 460, and stated that he intends to lower this quorum to around 114 on the 1st March, pending approval of the UCL council.
The highest turnout on record for a UCLU student political event stands at 14.7 per cent, obtained at this year’s referendum over the much-publicised vote of no confidence in Provost Professor Malcolm Grant.
In the run up to the elections of both part-time and full-time union officers, Skuse suggested there will be an array of events to try and engage the student population: “You may have recently seen the UCLU branded video featuring students expressing why they are going to vote, and I’ve also organised an election roadshow promoting both the candidates’ manifestos and the elections generally, which features laptops for students to vote. There’s also the opportunity for students say the reasons why they are voting, and for these to be put online for others to see.”
Meanwhile, the recent ULU elections, which represent over 130,000 students, had a historically low turnout of just over 1 per cent.
In the ULU Presidential election, sole and winning candidate Sean Rillo Raczka received a meagre 737 votes, while 438 were cast for RON (Re-open nominations). The student trustee category received the lowest turnout of 1149 ballots, and the most popular electoral category was for the vice president, which received a total of 1591 ballots.
Current editor of The Cheese Grater John Bell competed against four other candidates for the position of Editor of the London Student. It was the most closely contested category, but Bell was defeated in the final round by the SWP’s Jen Izaakson, with 637 votes to 572.
“UCL Memes”, however, has received over 4,500 ‘likes’ on Facebook, demonstrating a level of student engagement to which the recent political events can only aspire.