Three University of Sussex students are planning to create a UKIP society on campus. The Students’ Union Societies Committee has recently met with the potential President of the University’s UKIP society but has yet to make a decision as to whether or not the society will be allowed to form.
The issue of having a Young Independence Society (the current proposed name) on campus was recently brought to the Union Council for discussion. When speaking about the issue, a member of the Societies Committee said: “We obviously support representation but we have worries about what’s in the newspapers about UKIP and how they, as a society, are going to stop these issues being spread, how they are going to address these issues.”
The Committee member went on to say: “We have a problem with the society calling itself the ‘Young Independence Society”. This university has post-graduate students and mature students, students of varying ages. It feels like it’s almost UKIP trying to recruit in a young student area and we don’t like that idea.”
When asked for their opinion on the possibility of a UKIP society being formed at Sussex, the President of the Sussex University Conservative Society said: “I think a UKIP society is a step forward for Sussex, not in political terms but in its movement towards representing everyone on campus, not just those who sit on the left side.
“Whilst UKIP has made some headlines, these are individual actors who have since been removed due to the stupid things they have said. Sussex is supposedly a university that claims it is for freedom of speech, so why not prove it?”
Expressing a similar opinion, the President of Sussex’s Liberal Democrat Society added: “Definitely students should be able to form a UKIP society on campus if they want to! Freedom of speech, expression and equality of opportunity are fundamentally being undermined if they are not allowed to form.” This issue has occurred alongside the news that the Students’ Union Council, in ongoing discussions with the Politics Society, has voted to only host four candidates, leaving out UKIP amongst others from attending the campus debate between the prospective parliamentary candidates for Brighton Pavilion, to be held on 4th March.
In January, a group of students at Nottingham Trent University were banned from starting a UKIP society after students voted against it. This decision was later overturned by the Students’ Union who were facing accusations of unfairness. The Local UKIP MEP in the East Midlands, said that the original ban on the UKIP society at Nottingham Trent University “disgraceful” and “an affront to democracy”. An opinion poll conducted by Studentmoneysaver. co.uk found that support for amongst students has doubled to 8.1 percent since the 2010 general election, while support for the Liberal Democrats has decreased to 3.7 percent, an 18 percent drop since the last election.