10 BIG Talking Points in SUSU POLITICS This Year

As the ‘all-new’ Sabb team at SUSU take office, The Tab investigates what you can expect to hear debated far and wide this year.

As the ‘all-new’ Sabb team at SUSU take office for Freshers’ Week, The Tab investigates what you can expect to hear debated far and wide this year.

You should be calm... very calm.

1. NUS Referendum

Passed at last year’s AGM, it was decided that SUSU will hold a referendum in the Autumn term to re-ignite the debate and the question: should SUSU be affiliated with the National Union of Students?

There are big pros and cons, and if the referendum of 2010 which asked exactly the same question is anything to go by – this will be a huge talking point.

Furthermore – there’s integrity at stake. Top dog Sam Ling fought on the ‘no’ campaign in 2010, and he’s expected to lead the ‘yes’ campaign just two years later. Not only this, but The Tab is hearing rife rumours of fellow sabbaticals Shane and Sasha getting really rather too friendly with NUS President Liam Burns.

Whatever the case may be, around 70% of the some 4000 votes in the 2010 referendum were no’s – will the same topics of discount cards and costly membership fees be debated? We shall find out, as the official ‘yes’ and ‘no’ teams are expected to be formed shortly after Freshers’ Week.

2. NUS Demo March

The NUS has announced a protest and march in London in November – similar to the one a couple years back where the Tory party headquarters were completely trashed; back in the day when the £9k fees were just a silly proposal.

However, now the £9k nightmare is actually a reality with the new students having started, will the rally be anywhere near as popular? Is it still a case worth fighting for? Should SUSU support a campaign from the NUS? You can feel the chatter coming.

Drunken Sasha, Sam and Shane celebrating re-election. ALL the re-runners, won.

3. Should Sabbaticals be allowed to re-run?

The Tab has a slight feeling that this one will be discussed somewhat over the next year, particularly as three of the ‘new’ sabbs were actually at their posts already for a year. And once again, there are rumours (we’ll let you decide on them) that some of the new sabbs will be re-running this coming year for the big job at the top…

Again – a huge discussion with big arguments on both sides, especially if the sabbaticals would rather say nothing.

4. Union Council structure, The Chair, and more…

New VP Comms Dave Gilani had as one of his main manifesto promises to open up Union Council and make it more transparent – and this is on top of the major Union Council review from the end of the Billy Fitzjohn era in 2011. We try and make things a bit more interesting for the average student, but there’s only so much we can do!

This is met with the new Chair, James O’Mahony, and the implications of another motion that was passed at the 2012 AGM – reforming the role of the Chair at Council.

But will this make much difference? Will there be any controversial changes? Who knows, but it could be a topic to watch.

Sorry folks, Scummy Southampton's 'posh pads' aren't quite like this...

5. New SUSU Housing Agency

This is meant to have already happened – a promise from Master Ling’s first Election campaign back in 2011. So… will it actually happen this year? The old Tab favourite, new VP Welfare Chloe Green, has a whole load of housing plans, too.

As with any major new SUSU project, it’s likely to cost a large chunk of money, and come without it’s ups and downs, so expect the questions coming through thick and thin.

Even if it doesn’t happen, there’ll still be questions! It was a promise from Sam two years running, and SURELY we can’t have Sabbs going back on their word?!

6. Nightlife 

What a year it was last year for SUSU’s nightlife – a crazy Freshers’ Week, a dying Twisted, an awesome and reinvented new Nightlife… but then dwindling since! So what can be expected for 2012/13? It will also be interesting what events take place at the newly refurbished Bridge Bar – which is now ready and open.

Some have even suggested that The Cube could be due some sort of refurbishment in the future. Eagle-eyed regulars would have noticed the new lick of paint in the Stag’s Head. However likely a Cube refurbishment may be, we are sure that there will be discussions both for and against.

We're told the free-entry VIP guests at the Grad Ball this year were entitled to free food and champagne all night.

7. What makes a ‘VIP’…

Who should be entitled to VIP cards to use at SUSU events, and why? Some over the past year have been left frustrated by the ‘cliquey’ (there, we said it!) nature of the cards, not least because of the financial implications- free entry. By the looks of it, the problem has been solved by SELLING these VIP cards under a new name – ‘Platinum Passes’.

Once more, both VP Comms David Gilani and The Tab would like some clarification or a barrier to just ‘giving away‘ Grad Ball tickets willy-nilly, for free, to the people SUSU feels like selecting.

A lengthy discussion on Facebook started by the new VP Comms has already been had, and we expect more! Either way – if the system changes or stays the same – there’ll be both happy and sad faces, and the constant reminder of the c-word (clique – before you get any ideas).

8. Sabb + Student Leader + Union Councillor Elections… ALL THE ELECTIONS!

Those of you around in 2011 will remember the epic record-breaking elections that saw over 7200+ votes, and 8 President candidates. So what happened in 2012 with less votes and FAR less presidential candidates?

That’s a whole debate that’s been happening already, but it’s likely to come back up for the 2013 elections – not least because our President can’t re-run again, AND because David Gilani promised in the Elections Debate this year that he and rival Chloe had it in their sights of the golden 10,000 vote number. Can SUSU deliver?

Once more, it appears Elections was first on Gilani’s to-do list a he blogged about it just four days into the job on the SUSU Sabbs Blog. A few weeks later, and quite controversially, the decision was made to combine all the main Elections together in one in February. Good idea? Bad idea? Well, Elections Committee seems to think it’s a good idea… despite only a quarter of Councillors agreeing.

Frustration with SUSSED is at an all time high...

9. Replacement for SUSSED

Academic VP Sasha Watson has this as a big issue for this year – lobbying the university for a shiny new replacement of SUSSED. But what will the students actually want? We think something that isn’t the steaming pile of failure that is SUSSED.

Sasha can’t go at this alone, and with discussions already taking place at Council and continuing technical problems throughout the past year, this is a topical issue for all students (well, maybe not the ECS ones) and likely to have a lot of opinions as the year goes on.

10. Sam’s Union Master Plan

If you weren’t already aware, Ol’ Uncle Sam Ling has been working on a review of the Union buildings and facilities and how to make them better. It’s by no means finished, and not very well heard of either – partly as nothing exciting has been announced.

However, The Tab has heard some sneaky rumours that next year will see some exciting enhancements to various facilities… and Sam’s work is likely to be both scrutinized and praised at Council.

So, what do you think? What are you excited or concerned about, and will you be keeping your ears to the ground with SUSU policy over the year? Or, more realistically, do you not care as long as a pint in the Stag’s stays less than £2.50? Let us know in the comments below.