LUU should do more to engage students politically

Passed: March 2018 (12th)

What's It About?

  • The Union to encourage the political participation of students mainly by promoting its current poorly advertised existing political structures.

  • The union should publish the results of democratic pan-union votes, clearly on its website, increase the publicity of votes, advertise all forums more publically and generally aspire to be more transparent and encouraging in its democratic activities.

  • The LUU website to be clear and more coherent as it is the where the majority of LUU’s democratic structures are promoted and advertised.

Why Have You Proposed It?

  • As someone who has been very involved in the union since joining Leeds University, I was not aware of forums and what their purpose was as well as the many democratic structures that exist in the union.

  • It is incredibly important that young people engage in politics. Many often assume politics is just party-political but politics is an everyday issue. For example, young people overwhelming supported Britain staying in the EU but only 64% turned out to vote compared to 90% of over 65’s (Opinium, 2016).

  • This national trend has been evident at university - I have witnessed low turnout at forums, votes and elections. For example, there were only 89 votes in a December 2017 referendum and this low turnout is exacerbated by the inaccessibility of finding the polls and/or results on the website, poor advertisement of forums and the low publicity of the votes.

Expires: March 2021 (12th)

Submitted By: Lydia Okoibhole

Officer: Union Affairs / International

Area of Work: Democracy

Updates

January 2021: First round of Better Forums for 2020/21 term took place digitally, as did our VC Q&A that we hosted with LSTV. New staff members all in post within the Political Engagement Team - Liberation Project Worker and Forums & Policy Coordinator have been added to the team with an aim of improving political and campaigning engagement.

October 2020: The Political Engagement Team are working on the first round of Better Forums, to be held digitally, as well as a series of debates ahead of referendum in November. The team is also working with Union Affairs Officer Izzy and LSTV to host the new Vice Chancellor in a Q&A session. Black History Month is currently underway, and planning is starting for Disability History Month in November. In addition, the team has hired a Liberation Project Worker and is in the process of recruiting a Forums & Policy Coordinator to help develop our political engagement and campaigning work.

August 2020: As below, Democracy Manager back at work and planning has started for Black History Month 2020. Exec training around democracy at LUU has taken place, as has LibCo training. This is a priority for Union Affairs Officer Izzy this year, and Franks your International Officer is keen to explore how we better engage with our International members in this area.

June 2020: Unfortunately there are no major updates to this work over the summer as a result of lots of LUU staff being furloughed (ongoing), as well as the LUU building and campus being closed. As staff return to work and the new Officer team settle into their roles this will be picked up again.

  • From June, Democracy Manager is back at work and planning is starting for Black History Month, Liberation Coordinator Training, Student Exec democracy training and more.

See also updates to Registration and Student Turnout policies.

March 2020: LeadLUU 2020 is all over, as is LGBTQ* History Month. Upcoming plans include a Give & Take for International Women's Day, working with Extinction Rebellion and other campaign groups to use the Rep Room as a meeting space, hosting an event looking at Indian Citizenship Laws and recruiting a new set f Liberation Coordinators for 2020/21 (as well as supporting the current and incoming officers with their manifesto pledges). The Political Engagement Team also offered support to students and Exec during the most recent round of strikes.

December 2019: Latest VC Q&A branded under Give & Take name, and more G&T planned for the new year (alongside core strand). P&C Coffee afternoons have continued, and LibCos have been linked up with wider campaigns and University boards.

November 2019: LUU and UoL ran lots of voter registration outreach, with materials available across campus and digitally as well as information hosted on our website. We teamed up with an impartial campaign group, Vote for Your Future, to pay some student doorknockers to get people registered to vote and will do the same on polling day. We also hosted a Hustings Event in LUU with LSR and LSTV, featuring all of the candidates from Leeds Central and Leeds North West. We're also looking at making our NightBus available on polling day to take students from campus to their polling station.

October 2019: The Political Engagement Team has been working to develop more relationships with the Political & Campaigning groups, running a coffee catch-up in Freshers' Week that was well attended and likely to be continued through the year. The Give & Take series is likely to be expanded to include the VC Q&A as well as election hustings events. The team has also been planning for a possible General Election and working with the University on a registration drive, as well as with the NUS. The team is also working with the Student Exec and with Marketing to work out how to better promote Better Forums, Policy etc.

May 2019: This is an ongoing piece of work. We're continuing to partner with UoL and LCC on voter registration through student enrolment, have worked together on additional registration drives for local elections and MEP elections as well. The Give & Take events have tackled a range of topical and political issues, attracting over 400 people across three debates. The Give & Take will continue n the 20

June 2018: Lots of work has been done on the Democracy/Representation sections of the website, including this new Policy minisite and upgrades to election pages and ideas submission to make them more accessible. Other recent policy to run Question Time events forms part of the work to engage more students.

May 2018: Two referendum took place across May, and were our first quorate referendum in some time thanks to a revised marketing approach and Exec leadership, in sharp comparison to the unsuccessful December 2017 referendum.

  • At the end of the forum cycle for 2017/18 only one of twelve forums wasn't quorate for ideas.

  • Forum results now (as of the start of 2017/18) appear on LUU's news page, and link directly from Representation as well. Forum results have always appeared on the LUU site, but they haven't always been easy to find, the new site should make them much more accessible.

March 2018: Councillors Surgery took place in Unipol Outlet. Plan is to put a timeline of surgeries in place across the next year (maybe one or two a term).