Kerry26 October 2015 16:17
24hr Library Referendum: Your Questions Answered
It’s great to see so many students already getting stuck in with discussions in this referendum. A couple of students have been posting questions, so to make things clearer; more transparent; and all in one place, we thought we’d answer them all here.
What’s the point in the referendum?
It’s as simple as we want to represent every single student on an important issue. A referendum isn’t necessarily a big, scary, contentious thing; it’s a general vote on one issue. Referenda are one of the democratic procedures we have here at SUSU in order to make decisions, and they can be called via Union Council, Trustee Board, or a petition of 250 student signatures.
We are constantly striving to improve the ways we represent every student, and not just a vocal minority. We are also trying to be braver in the ways we represent our student voice, and reach out beyond the ‘SUSU’ bubble’, and there is no better way to do this than giving every student the chance to vote.
Essentially we are using this referendum to find out what our students think, and bind us to what they say.
Why is a referendum on this topic relevant?
The library is such an important topic because it is an issue that affects every single student, and is massively important to everyone’s education.
The referendum was called because of serious concerns with the welfare provisions of the current library plans – such as no safe way of getting home, and no overnight food provisions.
We were also not prepared to back such an important decision without full and proper student consultation, which we feel has not happened.
Is SUSU backtracking on its stance?
No we are not; we don’t currently have a stance, which is why we are remaining neutral in the referendum.
Although we can see why it may have previously seemed that SUSU were campaigning for a 24 hour library, this was actually just off the back of a point in a sabbatical officer’s manifesto, 2 years ago. Of course we are in no way disrespecting his hard work, but students were never directly asked whether it was wanted, and how it would come about. Also a lot of those students have since graduated- should we not ask the new students?
Is this a worthwhile spend?
£2,100 was allocated for the referendum, you can find the cost breakdown here.
The important thing to remember is that this only amounts to 9p per student, and also that this amount of money is out of the democracy budget, meaning that it won’t take away from any other money for student groups and other projects.
A massive thing we want to do as a team this year is get more, and more diverse, students engaged in SUSU, and this is a small investment in making every student aware that they can make change. If we didn’t publicise it, then it probably would a pointless exercise.
What will the outcome be anyway?
We work closely in partnership with the university, and they really do listen to SUSU and the student voice, we can use your views and your concerns to help create better solutions either for a 24 our library, or an alternative. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, we will use it to inform and support the stance we will adopt when working with the university.
Make sure you tweet in your questions to @YourSUSU with #susureferendum, or ask us using You Make Change. You can also tune into a special broadcast about the referendum at 5pm tonight on surgeradio.co.uk