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July 11, 2011 | by  | in News |
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To Campaign or not to Campaign?

Election years inevitably see politicians flock to university campuses in an attempt to solicit the votes of students and this year is set to be no exception, despite some claims to the contrary.

Last month, Victoria University sent a letter to the offices of all political parties asking them to inform the University if their representatives would be on campus. They also stated that “political visits to, or activities on Victoria campuses are restricted to the period 19 September to 14 October” to avoid clashing with the exam period.

What should have been a relatively straightforward issue was complicated when The Capital Times printed an article stating that student representatives were confused about whether parties were allowed to campaign in Trimester 3, which begins on 14 November.
“Whatever it [the article] says, we’re not confused,” says VUWSA President Seamus Brady.

“All the University wants is for political parties to let them know if they were coming on to campus (which is usual practice). And they asked that they avoid the campus during the study/exam period for obvious reasons.”

Some have also questioned if the restriction applies to the VUWSA-affiliated political groups on campus: Young National, VicLabour, Greens at Vic, and ACT on Campus. Brady says the restrictions were not intended for these groups.

“The letter was sent to external political party head offices and was never intended to include any activities undertaken, or guests invited, by political clubs on campus or student organisations.”

Despite political activities being discouraged during the exam period, there will be plenty of political action in the lead up to the General Election on 26 November.

“There is a lot at stake for students at the election. We are struggling with record student fees and student debt continues to rise. Students deserve to be fully informed about how political parties will deal with their issues,” says Brady.

“VUWSA is planning on hosting a number of different forums in the lead up to the Election in order for students to actively engage with the political process.”

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