Editorial: My two cents

By

In my final year here at Durham moments pass by that make me pause and think, ‘Oh, this is the last time I’ll ever do that’. A week ago I voted in my last Durham Students’ Union election.

No one really cares about the Students’ Union anyway, do they?

So what. No one really cares about the Students’ Union anyway, do they?

Since coming to university I have existed only on the outskirts of student politics. I care about accommodation fees and I care about divestment. But who has time for that when there’s so much else to be done?  Through Palatinate I can aid some of the current issues but I don’t have the time to join in with student political campaigns as well.

I always saw myself as representative of the majority of students. I’ll mumble and complain about the ineffectiveness of the Students’ Union. I’ll get angry and share articles on Facebook about the ever increasing fees… but when the consultation meeting takes place it will coincide with another meeting and I just won’t go.

In this position I alleviate my guilt in the fact that I can vote for someone who will represent me and put in all the work I am just not quite passionate enough myself to do.

Despite feeling somewhat disillusioned with a college I don’t have much to do with any more, and a Students’ Union that I feel has underperformed every year I have been here, I vote because if I don’t there is no hope of these bodies becoming what I want them to be.

In this position I alleviate my guilt in the fact that I can vote for someone who will represent me and put in all the work I am just not quite passionate enough myself to do

Only 20.4% of us voted in the Students’ Union elections. That’s just about 1 in 5. We’ll never know what the other 4 think or why they did not vote. But if they’re also disillusioned and not sure what the Students’ Union does for them then this was an election with an candidate who agreed with them, offering an antidote to a Union that in my time here has often been criticised as ineffective and unable to function alongside the JCR system.

Regardless of my own preferences, I have a lot of respect for every candidate that did run for having the passion to do so and wish all the successful officers the best of luck.

An effective Students’ Union is the simplest means by which to get in the way of the University when they try to make changes that we aren’t happy with. The Union won’t change the world but without them the University gets free reign over our education and our finances.  Our front page story on the backtracking of the University in cutting the Durham Grant is a prime example of how the University operates.

We need a Union that can stand up and stop these changes and by voting, we strengthen their voices because their voices are our voices.

This is my two cents on a debate about student politics that featured in the section last week. If you haven’t read the articles I strongly recommend that you do.

Maybe you genuinely don’t care what the Students’ Union or JCRs do. Maybe it is all about organising the best nights out. But if you have ever felt the university is doing you or someone else an injustice (and there are plenty of examples of this) then I believe you should reconsider.

In this week’s edition we have got some more dreaded student politics; an article in the Politics section from DU Labour Club, launching their Action from Access Plan, which seeks to enhance the accessibility of Durham University to state educated students.

It’s not all political drama though. Sport have interviewed Gemma Collis, Durham graduate and competitor at the Paralympic Games in London, and an inspiration for following your dreams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.