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Yesterday, the University of Southampton’s Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative societies put aside their differences to promote democratic engagement, heading out to the Redbrick for a cross-party voter registration drive.
However, we were promptly kicked off the Redbrick by SUSU, who claimed we had not booked the space. Seeing as all we were doing was handing out stickers and leaflets to try and encourage as many students as possible to sign up and register to vote, it’s very surprising SUSU had an issue with this – and against the typical practice for using the Redbrick, where it’s fairly common to see students promoting various events and causes, with or without a booking.
We are very disappointed with SUSU’s actions. As a body supposedly representing student interests you would think they would be doing everything within their power to fulfill their duty to encourage as many students as possible to register and vote in the local elections and maximise the voice of young people – especially seeing as today is the deadline to register to vote. From housing to representation, students have a massive stake in the coming local elections. Not only have SUSU failed to hold a single voter registration event themselves, in this case they have actively prevented attempts to ensure students are registered to vote in the local elections.
This is disgraceful. Students have for far too long been treated with contempt in this country and it’s crucial that a loud student voting block exists. Hopefully, SUSU will invite us back to the Redbrick today, and send out their own volunteers to encourage students to register to vote.
This statement is approved by:
Southampton University Labour Society
Southampton University Conservative Association
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