Editorial 3 – Electorate: Be the change you want to see in the ‘Bridge

Ben Redwood and Ashley Chhibber 30 January 2014

While reporting this week on the uncontested elections for JCR positions at Trinity Hall and other colleges, it has become apparent that student union elections are failing to engage with students and dislodge their endemic apathy. From national politics to JCR meetings, the majority of young adults across the country remain detached and uninterested. Nevertheless, it is also plain to see the continued student engagement with a certain number of specific causes, as shown by the solid campaigning for the institution of a living wage (page 3), a better economics curriculum (page 7), or the raising of money for charity through Jailbreak (page 10, page 25). It is clear that students do care very strongly about such issues; we want to ask you – how will this translate across to the upcoming CUSU elections?

Uncontested elections are a problem, not least because they can leave those elected, as well as those around them, doubting the strength of their mandate. This doubt is often proved to be needless.

In an article on page 15, entitled ‘CUSU elections – why care?’, CUSU President Flick Osborn has urged students to consider running in the upcoming elections for sabbatical positions in the university’s Student Union. Flick herself gained experience through her college JCR; clearly, it is just as important for students to engage with politics on a collegiate level as on a university level.

There is also the risk that, as students, we may simply fall through the cracks. Page 8 indicates one threat to our medical confidentiality of which, as students, we probably would not have been informed.

If you disagree with the way in which things are being run, it’s your right and duty to make your voice heard and your opinions known. If you feel that important viewpoints are being under-represented, then run for election yourself. If you feel like your vote doesn’t count, the time is coming to put yourself into a position where you can do the counting.