There May Be a SUSU Clique: This Isn’t a bad thing.


Right after the Elections 2013 people complained on twitter about another election won by the so-called “SUSU Clique”. You can read about that term not only there. In articles in beloved publication “Soton Tab” and in comments underneath it the term will be mentioned. What is behind this? Is there a close team that always will run the Union? Yes. But is this a problem?

So for another year @YourSUSU will be controlled by the ‘SUSU clique’ who the majority oppose on major policies. #votesusu


Last year I was an Erasmus Student in Southampton. Because I am very interested in Media, I joined Surge and SUSUtv and later I wrote articles for the WessexScene as well. I thought it was very easy to get in to all of these SUSU outlets and I was welcomed by all of them with an open heart.

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Very soon I realized there is a group of people who tends to be at SUSU more often and who are engaged in Union Politics more closely than others. But I thought this was solely due to their openness to volunteer for SUSU. This is because I also saw new people joining the groups. I saw people getting involved. Everyone who got involved with the Union had the same chance to become something bigger in SUSU later on. Of course, friendships are developing between thepeople working closely together. That’s how it works.

Great to see the SUSU clique on fine form in the #votesusu elections. Glad the union budget is still spent so wisely on popularity contests.


Well. If you want to, you call the people forming the different departments of the Union the “SUSU Clique”. And you can go on record saying that these people are something like a sworn clan where outsiders don’t stand a chance. A world of its own where the needs of students are forgotten and only the needs of this special group are seen.

As an example you could take the NUS Referendum where Sabbs and the so-called “SUSU Clique” were rejected. The question is: Was it like that? I actually heard that SUSU could have done the affiliation without asking the Students in a Referendum. Still they did. But why? If it was only for the gains of the individuals they could have been quiet and just done it. But that’s not what happened. Because it was such a big decision and because they weren’t sure whether the students thought the same way they asked the Students and they voted against affiliation. To me this doesn’t look like a cliquey thing to do. It seems like a democratic thing to do. Asking the electorate if there is a controversial topic. So why create a conspiracy theory about SUSU? It is nonsense.

In my opinion it isn’t a bad thing that people who are involved with SUSU are friends and do things together. Everyone can get in if he or she wants to. It isn’t hard. Of course, if you weren’t involved with the Union before and want to be the top leader, it will be hard. But even that is possible, because the Elections are done by popular vote. The reason those who are already involved with SUSU are elected is because most voters seem to acknowledge this. It looks like this person cares for Union Politics. This person has already shown he or she cares about the Union and therefore also about the students.

This all shows to me that having a group that cares about students is a positive thing. And because this group is always open for new members and not an exclusive group, it is not bad. It is natural because people with similar interests will do things together and will most likely form a friendship group. I really don’t see anything scandalous about it.


Discussion18 Comments

  1. avatar

    There may be a clique but hey as long as they’re having fun who are we mere mortals to criticise it? It’s the circle jerk mentality of SUSU that puts so many people off. Why do you think the “beloved” tab is so popular? Because it questions what goes on in the ivory towers of susu. Creepy bum lick sycophants like yourself are only contributing to the problem


    Calling him a ‘creepy bum lick sycophant’ just undermined any rationality of your argument.

  2. avatar

    You’ve made it seem like you can just walk into a clique and join it. Inside the clique, it probably seems like you can…but consider the daunted outsider, who comes along to one meeting see’s that everyone knows each other, feels intimidated and decides to not return.

    You should be aiming to eradicate the clique, not because it is a bad thing, but because it discourages new people from getting involved.

  3. avatar

    I tend to know people around the union pretty well, yet I have met three out of seven sabb-elects during the elections fortnight and not before.
    I think these are one of the least “cliquey” elections results we have had in ages.
    I agree with you, though, a lot of volunteers give heaps of their time and energy to the union, it only makes sense that they know each other and are friends. And, as you note, people (with a few exceptions) tend to be pretty welcoming once someone wants to get involved.

  4. avatar

    Last years sabb team was very cliquey, all of them were Big Names before being elected. Now we have a much better balance of bnocs and outsiders. Hopefully this will make susu a better organisation to get involved with in the future

  5. avatar

    I personally think this years sabb team are actually less cliquey than usual. With David Mendosa Wolfson, Evan Whyte and Beckie Thomas all relative outsiders being elected…

  6. avatar
    Why so serious?

    Susu critics only seem to appear in these forums. Show your face and publicly campaign against SUSU if you are SO bothered by their ‘arrogance’.

    I’m not in SUSU and i’m not with it or against it, but people need to cut the talk talk talk talk and start doing if they think that’s the way to go.

    Sorry if I bothered/angered someone.

  7. avatar

    Coming from someone who was part of the SUSUtv clique…


    I was very sad to read the comment above about the “sustv clique” I’d just like to say that I joined susutv this earlier on this year as a real susu outsider (i’m an NOC student) and I have never met a more welcoming, lovely bunch of people – if anybody wants to get involved they can and they made a real effort to include me and others that joined late. Its a real mix of freshers to so i’m saddened to see that people don’t feel the same way about getting involved – have you tried to join in? they’re lovely!

  8. avatar
    Alexander James Green

    In many ways, you’re right; it’s not a bad thing as these are the people that show they truly care, are dedicated and will do their best.

    But a clique ‘as a group who do not readily allow others to join in’ it is detrimental to SUSU. The Union has a image problem – ‘dictatorship, circle jerk, clique’ etc. etc. – and why the Tab now triumps over the Scene in many ways. Generally, there seems to be a terrible disconnection between SUSU and students. How to solve that is more complex, but there is definitely a perception that it is run by an ‘clique’ – like an elite above other students – with the belief it works against students than for it.

  9. avatar

    Interesting piece, Constantin!
    Is there not a self-fulfilling prophecy behind all this?
    If a publication names the whole of SUSU as a ‘clique’, surely all this does is to discourage involvement and in doing so perpetuate the ‘clique’ even further.
    Having said this, any suggestion of a ‘clique’ must be listened to by those in Sabb positions, and the possibility must always be remembered by those in power within media departments. Committees must be accessible to those that wish to take part, but there’s a mutual understanding that some kind of participation, however limited, will get you into a position within either a media team (The SotonTab included!) or as a Sabb.

    Oh, and explaining ‘in-jokes’ to newcomers is often good to break down the clique wall, but only if they were funny in the first place.

  10. avatar

    SUSU has always been a massive circle jerk of overinflated egos who have tickets on themselves. Going right back to the days of Tiger D’Souza and especially in the era of Andy “Worship me” Wilson et al.

    Good luck trying to change that.

  11. avatar

    I dont believe there is a clique, it is just a group of people who volunteer together so form friendships. How are we supposed to not appear as a clique, stop people from becoming friends? Stop socials? Stop people conversing in public? Yes, people have inside jokes but that’s true of all relationships and friendship groups. I have been a volunteer in multiple aspects of SUSU and never felt like an outsider, ever. And that was with many different clubs and societies (and they weren’t run by the same people either). If you really wanted to get

    involved in an activity run by SUSU then not knowing someone on the ‘inside’ shouldn’t stop you!

  12. avatar

    I think a lot of people fail to realise that when they say “clique”, what they actually mean is “group of friends who all contribute something to the community they are a part of” – what confuses me is why these folks expect to get something for nothing.

    Just as you wouldn’t agree to be my BEST FRIEND FOREVER AND EVER just because I walked up to you and asked, SUSU media departments will give back exactly as much as you decide to contribute.
    Offer to help, dedicate some time and effort to the work we do, and then we’ll talk – you don’t get to just wander into a group and expect everyone to shower you with their undivided attention, people like that are usually considered be arrogant dicks.

    And no, this isn’t some convoluted initiation ceremony or “paying your dues”, this is human interaction 101 and if you lack the social wisdom to understand it then I can only assume you’re just bitter that you don’t have ANY friends at all.


    I wish I could upvote this.

  13. avatar

    This is a very interesting article and I think it highlights some of the issues some people have with SUSU. I wouldnt agree that the Sabbs elect are particularly part of a SUSU clique. I happen to agree with Alice and think myself and Beckie are relative SUSU outsiders. My involvement with SUSU on a political level has been as a JCR – which is one of the least demanding roles in terms of responsibility. Many of the candidates had never heard of me before but by the end of elections I could honestly say I made some very good friends.
    One thing I did notice (this is highlighted in the article) was that many of the contestants who were mainly third years did know each other. This is because most of them held Student leader positions within SUSU and this sat on the same committees or Union council together. Did it mean that many of them were friends? Yes. But I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was in a group with these people. It was quite the opposite, many candidates were interested in my opinions as they realised that in some areas of SUSU the input from students outside of the ‘clique’ was quite small.
    I realise that the situation above can put people off joining in with SUSU politics. However, it is part and parcel of developing the team of student leaders and union councillors that are needed to run SUSU. I would just encourage other students to join regardless of what they might assume the SUSU clique to be like.
    Although my actual role is overseeing sport. I have a responsibilty with the rest of the team to increase the engagement of students with SUSU. Hopefully as a second year student and as someone who hasn’t necessarily been involved with the clique previously, I can provide an insight as to how we should break down the barriers stopping people from getting involved.
    I happen to think that the team this year represents a change and that we represent students from a broader range from previous years. Hopefully this alone will help dispel the idea that it is a clique that runs SUSU.

  14. avatar

    I go to Winchester and it’s pretty much the same. It’s got so bad that people stay away from the union… Someone needs to make it relevant and cool again.


    Are you volunteering yourself, James?

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