What makes the University of Canterbury (UC) and its students so politically engaged?
UC students have again proved to be the most engaged of any New Zealand university with 45 per cent voting in last week’s student elections, which is a 12 per cent increase on the 2016 figure and continuing the university’s upward trend.
The usual turnover for elections is around 20 per cent, or less while local body elections in Canterbury saw a turnout of 38 per cent, which was down from 42 per cent in the 2013 election.
One of the reasons for the UC growth has been the presence on the campus of the Students’ Association and what the outgoing president James Addington says are the best student events in the country.
UC’s list of events range from arts and musical events to addresses, concerts and student organised fun times.
One student commented to LawFuel that UC Law School was a “happy place” and with Law Dean Ursula Cheer in the chair, so to speak, she has ensured that the school makes students engaged and welcome.
Professor Cheer was the first woman dean of any law school in New Zealand when appointed in 2015. She heads the faculty with Karen Scott as head of school.
UC School of Law has a strong reputation in the traditional areas of legal study, but it also has introduced some innovative courses, such as those in Antarctic Legal Studies, Media Law, Law and Sport, and Law and Medicine.
The School also offers practical courses in legal skills such as Legal Internship, and Trial Advocacy.
About 1000 students at all levels study law at UC.