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Students get chance to vote on how Kent Union runs

In the biggest and most important vote at the University, Kent Union is holding a referendum on changing its democratic structures this week.

The referendum proposal suggests that Kent Union should scrap Union Council and the four Democracy Zones that currently exist, replacing them with an online ‘petition-style’ system in which ideas would need to gain signatures for them to be put to a vote. Part-Time Officer positions would remain with more focus on campaigning, as would Course Reps and other volunteering roles.

The ‘For’ campaign, led by the Sabbatical Officers at Kent Union, argues that you should vote ‘For’ if you want to “see a new 21st century style of democracy”. Additionally, it argues that “The new system will be completely online, allowing you to submit ideas to change anything at Kent from what products you want in the shop or to campaign for more pitch spaces.”

Megan Wells, current Vice-President (Welfare), told InQuire “We need a system that actually works. Over the last twelve months we have not been able to pass a single piece of policy due to ineffective and inquorate meetings. This democracy review will allow all students to have their say, regardless of whether they study at Paris or are on their placement year. Our democracy should be for 20,000 students, not just 20.”

The referendum’s ‘Against’ campaign, led by Alec James of Kent Labour Students, argues that “We need change, but that’s not what voting for this referendum will give you. For the past two years they’ve been spending time and money on a review into the democratic process. Kent Union triggered this referendum after a consultation period in which it spoke to a shocking 100 or so students. This review is their way of telling themselves they’ve been doing a good job.” InQuire attempted to speak with the ‘Against’ campaign, but a quote could not be issued before time of publication.

Voting is online and open until Thursday 21st at midday, and you can vote here

More information can be found in the referendum document, found here


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