What was that referendum about? Seriously.

Spend more time changing lives


The DSU should spend less time doing what makes them feel important, and more time improving our lives.

So it’s all happened, and when all’s said and done the student’s voted for remain, surprise surprise. The problem is, I’m not really sure what that means.

What does the DSU, an organisation that is supposed to represent the views of its students have to do with the European Union? Not much, as far as I can see.

To those who say, “students need to be represented in the debate too,” I agree. Which I why I’ll VOTE in the actual  referendum. I’ll read the articles written by people who have actual experience in the EU. I’ll watch TV debates. (I’m Remain, and I wrote why).

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All that is going to happen is that the DSU will spend OUR money on a campaign that won’t change any body’s mind because we’re all students, and we’ve all made up our mind anyway (we’re going to vote remain by the way).

On the union website, under ‘What happens next’ they have wrote:

“Depending on the result of the referendum, the Union will then be mandated to remain neutral or campaign for the voted position. This will involve working with student groups who support this position, as well as hosting an event to inform and promote the position to students. In addition, we will be working with Bite the Ballot, to encourage students to register to vote, inform themselves about the positions and engage with others about the issues.”

At the end of the day, when we’ve asked an entire student population to vote, the result is the union will host an event. Wasn’t that worthwhile?

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This is where it all boils down to the point. They are bored. They’re bored of student issues, that only matter to students at Durham University. They want to do something that “matters,” the EU debate is divisive and emotive. It’ll make them feel like they’re in the “West Wing”, campaigning to save the country.

The problem is that time (and remember time is money) and money that could be better spent on services students actually need, will be spent making fun posters.

Instead of really working on the issues that matter, the really important issues, the ones that can actually have a direct, measurable and important effect of students lives, like, and this is by no means a definitive list:

  • Improved mental health services to solve the epidemic problem in our university
  • Free sanitary items to help relieve the £493 burden female students face
  • Battling the university on college accommodation fees
  • Holding exploitative landlords to account
  • Tackling the unspoken lack of diversity on this campus
  • Improved accessibility for disabled students
  • And oh-my-God so many more

…they will spend time campaigning for a debate we’re all over-informed and sick of already.

As Editor I have quite a unique access to what students really care about, and I’ll tell you something for free. Students did not care about this debate.

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I commissioned two opinion pieces, and they amassed  1444 pageviews between them. This is not to the discredit to their authors. They were excellent. But to put this in perspective, an article we published about the removal of pictures of HERONS from Mildert received 2,201 pageviews ALONE. Clubbers of The Week regularly gets more than 4000 page views. Do students care more about Herons and Stunner of the Week than the DSU’s stance on the EU? Probably.

This was all revealed in the turnout. A mere 2336 students could sacrifice the two minutes out of their day to vote.

Our union, which is probably full of intelligent, well meaning, and hard working people, should spend less time playing politics, and more time changing lives.