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Reaction to Student Politics

Reactions to Student Politics

To cap of this politically charged week, a reaction to politics at the University of Glasgow. Yeah, straight into the trash. I’ve heard unverified rumors that the University of Glasgow has one of the lowest numbers of political participation in student politics of all the Universities in the UK. The number that someone once tossed into the air was 18% of the student body.

As examples of this lull in voter turnout and participation, I offer some election results from the March ’09 elections for the position of SRC President, who, as head of the Council which represents every single student at the University, well, represents every single student at the University. The post is a 1 year sabbatical job. As it’s an important representative job, one would assume a large number of students would cast their vote.

Nope. Just 1050 students used their right to vote, out of 23,590 (according to Wikipedia). That’s a mere 4.45% of the student body. Another sign of political apathy may be demonstrated by the fact that the eventual winner of the SRC Presidential race ran unopposed, which might also explain the low low turnout. (Her campaign poster was in Monday’s photo.)

For the record, I’m a (soon-to-be) 2nd Year Politics student at the University of Glasgow, and elections are an interest of mine, and I think something needs to be done to increase voter turnout.

How does one increase turnout?

[Poll #3: Which Academic Faculty do you belong to at Glasgow University?]
Click on the photo above for a larger version.
© 2009

8 responses

  1. Jim Wilson has got off to a great start as the new VP for Media and Comms of the SRC. He has created an SRC Twitter, Youtube and Facebook fanpage in the last month. Hopefully this online presence can increase participation a part.

    Little things as well can be done. At election time we need volunteers advertising the elections at the start of lectures. I hope to increase awareness by coming along to LBSS Society meeetings over the year to keep students engaged. One can hope other council members do the same thing!

    August 10, 2009 at 1:44 am

    • It’d be quite interesting to see if the turnout and # of candidates can be raised in a sustainable manner, and how. I might be more inclined to run if I have competition to stir my competitive side. =)

      August 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

  2. Besides, just look back to the Rector election from alst year which had a massive turnout. And the SRC election of Spring 08 was I think the highest turnout in SRC elections for many years.

    If we can get more candidates to stand in October (here’s hoping we do!), ther will naturally be a lot more voters too.

    August 10, 2009 at 1:54 am

    • It’s good to see that social media is being used (to an extent so far), and especially the use of Twitter and Facebook can be put to good use. If you can lower the threshold of political participation, more and more people will donate their voice, and perhaps even their time.

      August 10, 2009 at 8:20 am

  3. So the SRC doesn’t have a International Students’ Officer right now? If not, who held the position last? I tried doing my research online in relation to the position but couldn’t find much as to the actual responsibilities of the person holding that particular position.

    August 10, 2009 at 9:12 pm

  4. The last proper holder of that position was Karen Jesperson (her term ended in June this year). Fida Bazai was elected to be the new International Officer in the March election, however he resigned this position before he took over in order for him to stand for VP Media and Comms (in which he came last).

    It’s basically being the person that all International Students could get in contact with if they have any concerns, and the International Officer would get a place on several welfare related university committees. You could also stand to be on additional committees (which SRC Council will vote on in October after the elections). For more info you should email Sophie Hall at (she’s the main person that deals with all the welfare convenors)

    August 10, 2009 at 11:53 pm

  5. Jackie

    I’m really surprised to hear that political participation is so low at Glasgow, as there always seem to be people canvassing for something or other most weeks – maybe there are too many positions and elections, people have voting fatigue :)

    August 17, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    • It’s one thing to have students actively campaigning for a cause or an election. It’s a whole world of a difference between that and getting students to vote in numbers or volunteer their time/money. Hence the low participation. If you look at the people campaigning/protesting/handing out leaflets, you’ll begin to see the same faces every now and then.

      August 18, 2009 at 1:12 am

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