Fringe Box



Letter: I Question the Role of the University Students In the Mayoral Petition

Published on: 3 Aug, 2015
Updated on: 3 Aug, 2015

petition featureFrom Ben Paton

This letter is in response to the opinion piece: Why We Students Support an Elected Mayor Referendum by Mustie Smith, President, University of Surrey Students’ Union.

Did the Students’ Union have a proper debate about how local government should be conducted in Guildford? Did it invite members of the council to make the case for and against changes? Was the case against a referendum properly made?

What proportion of the student body are members of the Students’ Union? What proportion of the Students’ Union voted to promote a petition? Was there a vote? How many votes were cast? What majority elected the head of the student union?

Why did the Students” Union promote a policy advocated by a convicted fraud? Why did it allow Ms Juneja to advertise to its students – in particular to students from overseas?

Can any of the students who went to listen to Ms Juneja explain the merits of her petition tell us what she said? What material did she circulate?

Were the students who collected signatures really politically motivated to change the system of government in Guildford? Or were they more interested in receiving £1 per signature?

How many of the students involved actually understand the changes proposed by the referendum? Will any of them step up and explain why they collected signatures?

Why were some 1500 signatures rejected by the council? Were the people collecting the signatures negligent? Or were their instructions bad?

What does the alumni body of Surrey University across the country and around the world make of all this?

Mustie Smith has been invited to respond to these questions.

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: I Question the Role of the University Students In the Mayoral Petition

  1. Tony Edwards Reply

    August 7, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Great opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings.

  2. John Kohl Reply

    September 4, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Well good luck getting any kind of response to that. The petition took place during the previous president’s tenure and in May we when it was taking place we got this short email exchange with the Surrey Students’ Union about “cash for signatures”.

    The complete body of our email:-

    “I am interested in this quote from your Union website.
    The Union Executive recently passed a motion to support a mayor for Guildford. A local consultancy would like some help THIS WEEK in drumming up support and gauging opinions of the future of Guildford.

    “Offering £1 per signature, a £25 bonus for 100 signatures on Wednesday, and a £50 bonus for 150 signatures on Thursday!!

    “You would need to be confident, approachable and willing to use your initiative.
    If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Monika on [tel no removed].
    ** Sign up with a friend and get an extra £5 for every extra friend you bring ** .
    Would you clarify that, your Union, a charity, is associated with and actively involved with this organisation which will PAY for signatures supporting a non-charitable cause?

    The full body of the president’s response:-

    “The union’s receptionist has passed your email on to me.

    “Thanks for raising this concern. The article below explains that a company is offering students the opportunity to be paid £1 for every signature they manage to get in support of Guildford having a mayor.

    “The Students’ Union executive team voted in support of this scheme, which means that as a union, we support the idea of Guildford having a mayor at some stage in the future.

    “Therefore, I see no issue with students being employed to go out into the community and gather support for this scheme. I see this as an employment opportunity for students, which at the same time supports an idea that we believe would be good for the Guildford community.

    “I hope this clarifies the issue you raise, but if you have any other concerns please don’t hesitate to get back to me.

    “Yours, …”

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *