By Phillipa Wilkinson
The results of the referendum on the future of ULU, released this week, show overwhelming support among students for a democratic union. Out of 4545 voters, 86% voted yes to the question, “Should ULU’s building, activities and campaigns continue to be run democratically by students?” with 12% voting no and 2% abstaining. SOAS students were even more positive; out of 394 voters, 97% voted yes.
ULU President Michael Chessum hailed the result as “widespread support” from the student body, showing that the decision to take the Malet Street building under university management had “no legitimacy.”
However, low turnout and organisational issues have plagued the referendum, and two colleges, Heythrop and Goldsmiths have yet to carry out a vote. In other colleges, only about 4% of students voted, while SOAS had an above average turnout at around 8%. But Royal Holloway had less than 1% turnout while under 3% of University College London students participated, with a significant proportion voting no. This apparent apathy undermines the student union’s claims that the Save ULU campaign is “growing” and has students “mobilised in their thousands.”
The referendum was non-binding and University of London management has no obligation to take the result into consideration.