#1
So once I heard that you can get paid for working in the student parliament at my uni, I figured "hey, sounds like an easy job, I'll be part of the financial department and help manage the budget and stuff, sounds pretty interesting." and from what I can tell, the work on itself isn't bad at all.

But I also have to go to meetings.



I don't know how it is in other countries or other universities, but is it normal for a student parliament to be composed of nothing but dipshits who care about nothing other than opposing the opposition and making any decisions that the opposition is trying to pass as mind-bogglingly difficult as possible?
Is it normal that I now doubt the entire system of democracy because I was locked in a room for 9 hours with these people and had to listen to them hold a vote to see if they could hold a vote for voting to change the way the vote was counted for a vote to see if two points on the protocol could be swapped?
Are student parliaments in all countries filled with people who think they know everything about politics and are so full of themselves they put down everyone who hasn't been involved in at least 5 demonstrations as politically incompetent, while at the same time basing their views on outdated left-wing agendas that were tried decades ago and failed because the world changed?

Please, please tell me that this circus of madness is a solitary case, or just a German thing, or something.

Share your experiences with school/university politics here.
#2
My Student Union has a Sabbatical Team which is completely made up of paid students. I believe they take a year out of their course to do this because it's a full-time job. They seem quite effective and they have to do a huge voting campaign to win.

Unfortunately, out union is expensive because it's student run >.<
#3
I can tell you one thing about it for free. In the UK the "sabbatical" officers are backed up by full time permanent employees. These people do a lot of work for the sabs. OR atleast they do in the university my gf works in.

They deal with that sort of stuff day in day out Corey.

Most of the sabs I've known, infact a lot of the students I've known, have been pretty ignorant.

OF course there are also many exceptions to the rule, most of the students who post here are thoroughly well rounded decent people.

This is probably why I didn't enjoy university that much though

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#4
My experience of youth politics has been roundly the same as yours. An over emphasis on the minutiae of pointless votes, and a complete and utter lack of pragmatism.
That said, it can be a great forum for ideas and personal development. A lot of arseholes find their way into it, but then again a lot of real politicians are arseholes, so it's to be expected.
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#5
Quote by CoreysMonster

Is it normal that I now doubt the entire system of democracy because I was locked in a room for 9 hours with these people and had to listen to them hold a vote to see if they could hold a vote for voting to change the way the vote was counted for a vote to see if two points on the protocol could be swapped?
Are student parliaments in all countries filled with people who think they know everything about politics and are so full of themselves they put down everyone who hasn't been involved in at least 5 demonstrations as politically incompetent, while at the same time basing their views on outdated left-wing agendas that were tried decades ago and failed because the world changed?

sounds like US Congress.

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#6
Quote by CoreysMonster
I don't know how it is in other countries or other universities, but is it normal for a student parliament to be composed of nothing but dipshits who care about nothing other than opposing the opposition and making any decisions that the opposition is trying to pass as mind-bogglingly difficult as possible?

Just like real politics!

On topic I have no knowledge of how my schools SGB works. I never hear a word about them after elections are held, so I just assume their campaigns are full of empty promises and they get nothing done. Just like real politicians!
#7
My experience of student politics, and specifically the people who run for all the positions and campaign for them, is that I hate every single one of them
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#10
At my uni, the group of people currently on the Sabb teams, and those running for next year, are the most extreme clique I've ever seen. Come election time, they all just campaign for each other to keep the same group of mates in. It all means that none of the other students actually give a shit because they know it'll just be the same dicks in the same positions every year, just with different names. Therefore no-one votes. There are like 4,000 votes cast in total, out of 35,000 students, which is pathetic.

It all means that the same people stay in power and outsiders have next to no chance of even getting a say.

So in a way, I guess it's a successful emulation of most political systems.
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#11
Our Sabbs team are only allowed in for one year. And everyone I've spoken to on it have been really helpful. Our VP for Education and Welfare campaigns for KUSU, Equality, Students Loans, Cuts, etc, all the time.
#12
Unfortunately the answer to your question is very much yes, people involved in student politics are invariably dicks.
#13
My uni is doing a second election as they found out the winners of the first one got really drunk and forced people to vote for them, so the uni disqualified them.
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#14
yeah student political life is like this im afraid, filled with self-righteous wankers, who only deal in political buzzwords, to whom rational argument and being even a bit pragmatic or compromising is an alien concept. At my Uni we had a series of "occupations" of various uni buildings by a bunch of ultra-left wing communists. I consider myself left of centre, but these people were just something else. Anyway, they managed to lose the last bit of sympathy they had when they occupied the offices of the student services (e.g. funding, disability services, visa services, etc.), while claiming they were campaigning in "solidarity" with all the students and that those affected just had to deal with it (bearing in mind some people urgently needed say visa services or they could face losing their university place and getting kicked out of the country).
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#15
All our nominees seem to think that being elected "Head of communications" or any of the other sabaticals is suddenly going to allow them to solve world hunger, prevent sexual discrimination, stop the cuts and generally, fix every wrong in the world within a year. O)h, and they fully expect to be able to go to university for free, and that everything should be paid for them.
It's good to be ambitious, but it's just not possible. If you wanted to actually fix the things wrong with our university, I may actually be inclined to vote for you, such as bring back our Coke/Chocolate. In making the world a "fairer" place, our uni (as well as many others) decided it would be good to ban all non-fairtrade approved products being sold in our cafes. And dont get me started on our "meat free mondays" in the students union, when we specifically have a vegetarian and vegan cafe run by the union less than a 2 minute walk away.
#16
I have been a student for nearly 4 years and have never even been in any of the student union bar things, nor have I voted in student elections.

To sum up: I'm a student who hates students. Don't get involved in that shit, son.
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#17
Quote by l3vity
And dont get me started on our "meat free mondays" in the students union, when we specifically have a vegetarian and vegan cafe run by the union less than a 2 minute walk away.

WHAT. THE. ASS.


goddamn hippies, stupid college know-it-all hippies.
#18
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To sum up: I'm a student who hates students. Don't get involved in that shit, son.

I fully agree with this. I look forward to graduating in a couple of months so I can go back to hating students without sounding hypocritical.
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#19
Just to clarify for brits there are 2 separate things being talked about here

1) Student Unions/JCRs = the people who run the student union, normally elected sabbatical roles (i.e. a paid job for the year after you graduate)
2) University politcial unions (i.e. debating societies), normally unpaid, people use them to air political views/practice debating/making contacts. Many UK politicians have been senior figures in these unions in the past (Tony Blair, David Cameron, William Hague)

Student unions tend to be pretty well run and non-obstructive, though often unproductive in the last 3-4 months of each year as people prepare to leave/get bored/get bogged down in endless paperwork

Debating Unions are more about people making contacts and honing debating skills and are thus often more about being obstructive and getting your way rather than progressing the society itself...
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#20
Quote by l3vity
In making the world a "fairer" place, our uni (as well as many others) decided it would be good to ban all non-fairtrade approved products being sold in our cafes. And dont get me started on our "meat free mondays" in the students union, when we specifically have a vegetarian and vegan cafe run by the union less than a 2 minute walk away.


Not sure how it works at your uni but at mine anything like this would have to be passed through one of the union's general meetings and is voted on by students. People complain of a left wing bias but really they're the only ones who ever show up in large numbers so.
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#21
I just know when they campaign, they annoy the piss out of me. Anyone that happy about standing out in the snow and handing out fliers that 95% of people throw away at the first chance deserve to die.
#22
There are these couple of guys who keep on trying to push having anti-discrimination, anti-sexism and anti-nazi departments and who viciously attack everyone who opposes their ideas (everyone else). Their argument is that they feel the students need to be educated about discrimination and nazism and blablabla.
The thing is, we already HAVE departments who deal with issues like that, professionals who have been trained in ways to solve disputes and investigate claims of discrimination and stuff. They're just not populated by students and they have no power over those departments, which of course these guys use to argue that the students have no control and can't do anything if these departments abuse their power.

Well here's a bright idea: Maybe students don't have control over certain things because those are things that need to respond quickly and accurately without having every Tom, Dick and Harry putting their mustard into the salad.

EDIT: just had a fortune cookie, it said "New ideas could be profitable." ಠ_ಠ
#23
Quote by CoreysMonster
Maybe students don't have control over certain things because those are things that need to respond quickly and accurately without having every Tom, Dick and Harry putting their mustard into the salad.

...hot...

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#24
I went to my student election speech thing. There was like 20 people in the audience lol

All the speeches were basically about how they were going to "address" or raise "awareness" of certain issues like rape/discrimination.... And how they were going to lower tuition and increase services despite our school's multi million dollar deficit and vanishing student body lol
Last edited by Steel8909 at Apr 1, 2011,
#25
Many people who get involved in that kind of thing are dickheads. However there are some lovely people in it also. I just came from a meeting with a number of Sabbatical Welfare officers from various Colleges and some of them are the nicest most caring people you could ever meet.
Unfortunately my university's one is a dickhead, and kind of corrupt to be honest (although the student body don't know about it as they're not involved in the funding aspects of it).
There is also a large amount of bitching, infighting, fake niceness, etc going on. It's not in my experience usually political (from a "my views are different than your's sense), it's just people hating other people for personal reasons. I've seen completely sensible ideas get shot down because the person proposing it was a dick to the wrong people in the past.

Equally though some of the anti-SU whingers are just as unpleasant at times. I know SU Officers who won't look at certain internet forums anymore because of the slanderous hurtful comments that people put on there. Especially annoying are the people who complain about decisions that were made when they didn't give a shit about the issue when it was being debated and voted on (for example the banning of coke on our campus for years because of Coca Cola's treatment of workers). Also, people who think that certain officers are ineffectual when they have no understanding of University Bureaucracy. I remember complaints about one officers inability to get a service online that people felt could be easily done, but I myself had been trying to do the same thing with a different organisation and there was a mountain of bullshit legal stuff that the University itself wanted before it would allow it.
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#26
I was freshman class president in my high school. I ran a laissez-faire administration where my only true involvement consisted of me dressing up as the school's mascot during the homecoming game.

it was a perfect system.
#27
Ah yes, University Politics. The fighting so fierce, because the stakes are so low.
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#28
Quote by CoreysMonster

Is it normal that I now doubt the entire system of democracy because I was locked in a room for 9 hours with these people and had to listen to them hold a vote to see if they could hold a vote for voting to change the way the vote was counted for a vote to see if two points on the protocol could be swapped?


Here they're paid (rather well) by the hour for sessions of student parliament so they drag things out at every availabe chance + another 60€ per month for being a reprasentative.
The president has somehow found a loophole to still be "studying" even if he's like 32 (and not a postgraduate student or anything).
#29
I'm in swansea uni and we've just had the elections, but they seem really pointless. Most of the people promise things they have no control over (i.e, someone's poliecy was to get the cap on the resit exams to be raised, and theres no way they can change that. Its like asking for a 3 day weekend)
All the people up for elections just swarm the main bit of the campus and just get in the way, bombarding you with flyers and such.
As of the positions they're up for, just seems like something for the cv and not to actually do anything.
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