THE GENERAL ELECTION – STUDENTS’ VOICES
With the 2015 General Election date less than two months away, political parties are warming up for this year’s campaigns. The election campaigns do not officially start until the 30th March with the dissolution of parliament, but battles have already begun. From opinion polls to new media promotion, we wanted to know what students at the University think about the political conversation that will shape the next two months.
I managed to speak with Michael Rubin, the president of the Leicester Students Union at the University of Leicester to find out what they were doing to get involved.
What events/activities are the University conducting to mark the upcoming general elections?
We’ve been doing a lot to mark the general election – our campaign is called ‘#MyVoteCounts’ and is all about getting students registered to votes and then shaping the policy process in a way that is beneficial to students. We’ve given every student who registers to vote a wristband, which then gives them access to a range of brilliant exclusives and discounts. We’re also producing a ‘Student Manifesto’ which we will be asking candidates to sign up to. Finally, we’re organising a Student Hustings later this month, which will be open to the public too!
Do you think students at the University of Leicester have a great concern about the general elections and if they do, what are their main concerns in particular?
Yes. I think students have seen what happens when politicians are elected who think they can ignore the views of students – or even worse, say one thing to get elected and then do the opposite once in power. It’s hard to define one thing that students care about, as different students care about different things – from housing, to the cost of living, to tuition fees to international policy. We’ll be covering a lot of these issues in our Student Manifesto.
- In an attempt to appeal to student voters Labour plans to cut University tuition fees from £9,000 a year to £6,000. If it were put into place some Vice Chancellor’s argue this could mean damaging cuts to the University, how do you think this would affect the University and its students?
The party’s proposals are fully funded, so mean there won’t be any cuts to Universities. As a Students’ Union, long-term we would like to see a graduate tax, but any proposal that reduces tuition fees is a brilliant step forward. £9k fees are leaving students with £45k worth of debt and putting thousands of students off University every year.