Log in

Referenda

 

A referendum (plural = referenda) is a direct vote in which all full members of the Union are asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal on a range of questions put forward by students at Sussex. Students are asked to vote “yes” or “no” to a particular question; the outcome of which shapes the Students’ Union, ensuring that it is student-led. Brexit is an example of a referendum at a national level. You can see previous referenda run at Sussex and the rules and guidelines for more information.

How to vote

log in and vote now

Make sure you're logged in to our website to vote. You can log in at the top of this page.

When you're logged in, select the referenda below you wish to vote in. You can return to this page at any time during this period to cast your votes in each referendum. Once you have voted in a referendum you cannot change your vote. 

Having trouble voting?

If you have any problems voting please email support@sussexstudent.com as soon as possible so we can resolve these for you.

 

 

Spring Referenda 2019

Should the Students’ Union create a full time International Students’ Officer role by giving the Executive the authority to change the titles and remits of the current officers?

The motion has PASSED

551 students took part

108 abstained

  • YES - 384 (70%)

  • NO - 59 (11%)

The Students' Union WILL create a full time International Students’ Officer role by giving the Executive the authority to change the titles and remits of the current officers

 


Please note: the “Executive” refers to the group of elected students who are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of the Union. It is made up of the 6 full time officers and 5 part time officers. Union Council holds the Executive accountable and is made up of over 50 elected student representatives.

Over the past few years the number of international students being admitted to Sussex has grown. Around (8684 out of 21,000 = 41%) of the student population at Sussex are International + EU students at Sussex and approximately 450,000 Students across the UK at large are facing growing anxiety from the situation which is still unfolding. To start with, Brexit has shown to be a political situation and sentiment which is dangerous from the perspectives of all overseas students alike. Essentially Brexit is a policy of exclusion and isolation from the remainder of the European continent, this threatens EU students in specific and international students in general.

Should the Student Union adopt a plastic-free policy initiative?

The motion has PASSED

596 students took part

9 abstained

  • YES - 557 (93%)

  • NO - 30 (5%)

The Students' Union WILL adopt a plastic-free policy initiative

 

Background:

Plastic is made from unsustainable materials which means that both it’s production and breakdown contribute to climate change. Not only this but because plastic is not biodegradable it releases toxic chemicals when it eventually does start to break down. These contaminate our food and water supplies and make us sick. As well as this, plastic is well known for killing wildlife and polluting our oceans. By 2050, plastic will outweigh the fish in our oceans. It is becoming more well known that recycling is no longer good enough when it comes to plastics. 66% of ‘recycled’ plastic in the UK is actually exported, with no assurance that this actually ends up being recycled. Other countries are not a dumping ground for our excessive plastic use! The best thing we can do is eliminate our use of unnecessary plastic and support eco-friendly companies promoting greener materials.

Should the Students' Union acknowledge the climate emergency as a concern of students?

The motion has PASSED

574 students took part

11 abstained

  • YES - 534 (93%)

  • NO - 29 (5%)

The Students' Union WILL acknowledge the climate emergency as a concern of students

 

Background:

The IPCC’s October 2018 report stated the urgency how we are heading for dangerous levels of global warming and need to drastic action to keep global temperatures below 1.5C to avoid catastrophic climate change. In wake of this report, a new wave of activism has erupted all over the world to address climate change. Student’s from Sussex are amongst these people who have awoken to draw attention to emergency that is climate change, to which governments have ignored. They have been involved in organising the Youth Strikes and with Extinction Rebellion, who have worked to raise attention of the inaction of governments. Already, they have campaigned Brighton & Hove City Council to become Carbon Neutral by 2030, to satisfy the recommendations of the IPCC report. It is now for the Students’ Union to have a policy that reflects the concerns of it’s students over the climate emergency.

Should the Student Union continue to boycott Coca Cola products?

 

The motion has NOT passed as it did not achieve quoracy. 

At a Company Board meeting on the 26th November 2015 the decision was made that any referenda with the potential to have a significant financial effect on the Trading Company of the Students' Union should have a quoracy of 10% of the student population in order to pass. (Quoracy is the total number of votes needed for the motion to pass).  

574 students took part

34 abstained

  • YES - 471 (82%)

  • NO - 69 (12%)

The Students' Union will NOT continue the boycott of Coca-Cola

 

 

Background:
In 2005, students at the Students’ Union’s Annual General Meeting voted to boycott Coca-Cola products in our shops & bars on ethical grounds.The two issues raised were firstly, claims of violence from 1995 and 1996 towards members of Colombian trade unions; and secondly, alleged bad effects on the local water of Coke's bottling plants in India.The Union replaced Coca-Cola with other drinks brands and has not sold Coca-Cola products since 2006. They also receive the worst rankings for tax avoidance and palm oil on Ethical Consumer, and in November 2017 it was reported that a subsidiary of Coca Cola was using structures from the overturned Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia to prevent workers’ right to organise (under the “Workers’ Rights” tab on the above link).

Should the Student Union continue to boycott Nestle products?

The motion has NOT passed as it did not achieve quoracy. 

At a Company Board meeting on the 26th November 2015 the decision was made that any referenda with the potential to have a significant financial effect on the Trading Company of the Students' Union should have a quoracy of 10% of the student population in order to pass. (Quoracy is the total number of votes needed for the motion to pass).  

567 students took part

37 abstained

  • YES - 464 (82%)

  • NO - 66 (12%)

The Students' Union

Background:

In 1992, students voted to boycott Nestlé products in our shops & bars on ethical grounds.The policy was based on their aggressive and irresponsible marketing strategy as the world’s largest baby food company which was felt to encourage use of formula baby milk, especially in the third world, and undermine a mother’s confidence in her ability to breastfeed. Nestle continues to be one of the most boycotted brands in the UK and also has been criticised on Ethical Consumer for exploiting scarce water sources in indigenous communities and palm oil practices. The boycott has since been upheld at concurrent referendum.

 

Key referenda information and dates

Monday 1st of April - Deadline to submit referenda topics for the Summer Referenda 

Monday 8th of April   - Referenda questions announced

Monday  15th of April - deadline for arguments for/against the motion

Wednesday 24th of April 12:00 midday - Voting opens

Wednesday 1st of May 5pm  - Voting closes

Wednesday 1st of May  6pm - Deadline to submit complaints to the Returning Officer (returning@sussexstudent.com)

 

 

You can find lots of information on how to submit a referenda and key contacts and dates in the Referenda Rules and Guidelines.

View referenda rules and guidelines »

View previous referenda »

If you have any complaints about the conduct of campaigners or the referenda process, you can contact the Returning Officer at returning@sussexstudent.com. Compalints about campaigners must be raised no later than one hour after the close of voting, and complaints about the referenda process must be raised no later than one week after voting closes. You can find out more about complaints under section 4.40 of the Rules.

 

What is a referendum?

A referendum (the plural of which is referenda) is a vote that all students can take part in. The Students' Union has two referenda periods, one in the Spring Term and the other in the Autumn Term. Students can put a question to referendum through gathering 150 signatures on the online petition system. Any petition which receives 150 or more signatures will be considered first by a Policy Panel. This panel will consider the factual accuracy and legality of the question. If the panel is satisfied, the question will be sent to referendum. The result of a referendum is only binding if it receives 450 or more votes. 

View referenda rules and guidelines »

How do I suggest a referendum?

Any student can suggest a topic for a referendum online or create a petition and gather at least 150 students' signatures. The easiest way to do this is to use our online petition system.

You can also contact one of your Full-Time Officers to ask them to submit it through Executive Committee, or you can contact one of your Councillors to ask them to take it to Union Council before the deadline for submitting referenda.