The University of Warwick has released a joint statement with the University of Warwick Campus Trade Unions, the University College Union (UCU) and Warwick Students’ Union regarding the 12 December General Election.
The statement urges students to register to vote by the deadline of 26 November (online and postal) and 4 December (proxy) and explains why it views taking part as being important, particularly for students.
“The election is a chance for students to have their say on the sort of education system which will be in place for future generations. This is an opportunity to create a well-funded, sustainable, and accessible university system where everyone can thrive and succeed.
“Students are particularly powerful in general elections because they can register at both their home and term-time address, and thus can choose to vote in the constituency where their vote will have greatest impact.
“Thus, the University of Warwick, the Warwick Students Union, UCU, Unison and Unite are calling for a campus-wide campaign to make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote, does,” the statement outlines.
It also highlights how students can register at both their home and term-time addresses, allowing them to choose to vote in the constituency where their vote will have the most impact.
The statement also encourages students and staff to help raise awareness about the election through social media and discussion and help to educate themselves and others on the issues at stake.
The election is a chance for students to have their say on the sort of education system which will be in place for future generations
– University of Warwick, University of Warwick Campus Trade Unions, University College Union, Warwick Students’ Union
They call on people to consider: “What matters to you? What do you want to see changed? Read the different manifestoes and decide who is speaking for your interests.”
The statement goes on to outline ways staff in teaching roles can help to get students to register and encourage engagement.
It suggests “giving students five minutes at the start of class to register to vote” and “organising a departmental coffee and cake event where you can discuss the issues that matter, why it is important to register and to cast a vote, and the different ways they can cast a vote (e.g. by postal ballot, proxy, in person, etc).”
“This is the election of a generation,” the statement concluded. “Make sure your voice is heard!”
The statement comes following widespread concern that students’ choice in whether to vote at home or university will be restricted by the election date being set out of term time for many universities.
The Vote for Your Future (VFYF) campaign recently highlighted the difficulties raised by the 12 December date, suggesting that the limited time universities have to “prepare and register” students is a “disenfranchisement crisis waiting to happen.”
The Office for Students (OfS) has told universities that they have a duty to encourage students to register to vote, leading many lecturers to offer students time to register during lectures.
The UCU and NUS has also collaborated to launch a #MakeTheVoterPledge campaign, aimed at ensuring universities fulfil this duty.