Socialist Worker

Striking a blow for democracy at UCL

Issue No. 2094

Activists at University College London (UCL) were celebrating last week after they defeated the right’s attempt to suspend Sam Godwin, the student union’s general secretary, and reverse a democratic decision to block military recruitment on campus.

The annual general meeting of UCL union voted against military recruitment on 5 March. This triggered a furious backlash from right wing sabbatical officers, who suspended Sam and tried to annul the decision.

But the union’s council last week overturned the sabbaticals’ manoeuvres by 22 votes to seven.

Left wing campaigns initially came together at UCL to defeat a “governance review”.

Sam told Socialist Worker, “The right wanted to turn the union into a private company, with an unelected board of trustees, less direct democracy and more corporate control. It’s what they’re now trying to replicate on a national level in NUS.”

The campaign combined with one urging UCL’s management to withdraw investments in arms companies. This culminated with the left winning a majority on the student union council last October.

Nevertheless, the battle is not over. “The right still plans to call an emergency general meeting next month,” said Sam. “But the idea of a recruitment ban has spread and people want to see if it can be replicated elsewhere.”

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