The University of Manchester is one of the UK’s top-rated universities for its political scene, the Which? University 2017 Student Survey has suggested.
The findings are most timely given the Conservative Party held its annual conference in Manchester again this year, met with thousands of protesters.
Sunday the 1st of October was the first day of the conference and coincided with two large demonstrations: an event organised by the People’s Assembly against public sector cuts, and a ‘Stop Brexit’ march organised by Brexit sceptics, both reportedly attended by over 30,000 protesters.
Students’ Union Campaigns and Citizenship Officer, Deej Malik-Johnson, commented on the various demonstrations and told The Mancunion: “As a response to the Conservative Party conference in the city this week a number of campaigning groups are holding events from the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Stop Brexit to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Momentum and Stand Up To Racism, as Campaigns and Citizenship Officer and as a Mancunian I find this a really exciting opportunity for people of all ends of the political spectrum to get engaged in a range of debates about the direction the country is going and to make their voices heard, this can only be a good thing for our democracy and for the people of Manchester.”
Alluding to the findings, he added: “As you may have seen over the weekend, the Which? University Student Survey found the University Of Manchester to be one of the leading universities in the country for student engagement in politics so as you would expect our students had a great presence at both marches.
“Various students and societies approached me and SU staff to help facilitate their actions, we hosted banner and placard making sessions, made advice packs, and co-ordinated meeting points. On the day hundreds of UoM students as societies and individuals marched, sang, chanted and gave speeches and I’m very proud of our presence.”
Deej also said that “many [students] expressed disappointment that both demos were happening at the same time as they would have liked to attend both.”
In the survey, a second-year Modern History student praised Manchester’s “strong political history” and suggested there is “huge socialist scene in the city historically and this is visible today.”
While a second-year Physics student agreed that Manchester had a strong political scene, they suggested that the “University of Manchester is so large that there are political groups of every nature.”
In the Which? Student Survey 2017, the University of Manchester also ranked highly for its diverse nightlife, varied union activities and proximity to the city centre.
A first-year German Studies student described Manchester’s nightlife as “fantastic and not too expensive”, while a first-year clinical medical student said the University’s “variety of clubs and societies on offer is amazing.”
Some downsides suggested in the survey included “cleanliness and security of the town area”, “communication between different departments” which a second year Clinical Medicine student said “could be better… [which] would allow things to run a bit more smoothly” and a comment that the “quality of teaching varies hugely between individual tutors and lecturers.”