Caius to disaffiliate from CUSU

Image credit: Anders B

The Gonville and Caius Student Union has voted to disaffiliate from CUSU tonight following a referendum at the college.

The motion ‘Should the Gonville and Caius Student Union disaffiliate from CUSU?’ passed with 213 votes in favour (69.61% of the total vote), 91 votes against (29.74%) and two votes left blank. 306 votes were cast out of 847 (the MCR were also permitted to vote), breaking the 12% turnout minimum for a vote to be valid. Caius’ decision stands in contrast to Selwyn’s decision a fortnight ago to remain affiliated to CUSU.

The decision to have a referendum followed a meeting regarding disaffiliation at the college last Wednesday attended by President of Corpus Christi JCR, Jamie Wilman (as representative of a disaffiliated college), and CUSU President Flick Osborn, debating for and against the action respectively.

Second-year Caius Lawyer Ted Loveday said: “Most Cambridge students consider CUSU at best an irrelevance. I think this is a powerful decision, since it will send CUSU the message that they need to justify their existence, try harder to represent what the bulk of students actually want, and prove they deliver value for money.

“Caius students will lose nothing. We’ll remain members of CUSU, whilst the squeezed JCR will gain some much-needed cash to provide for welfare. And it will be free to campaign on issues that are directly relevant to Caius students. It’s a bold move, but an exciting one. 2013 is a great time to be at Caius.”

Nick Worsnop, JCR Junior Treasurer and the driving force behind the referendum, agreed: “I’m glad that Caians have voted resoundingly for disaffiliation. Following the mature yet forceful response to the excessive rent rise this year, it’s another indication that we're prepared to take our College’s future into our own hands.”

An anonymous second-year historian disagreedm however, noting that "the disaffiliation provides the university with a continuing justification of its ludicrous funding system for CUSU, and is ultimately very short sighted."

Currently, £103,000 of the CUSU budget comes from JCRS, with Caius providing in 0.56% of its total income. Affiliation fees make up for more than 15% of CUSU’s budget.

CUSU President Flick Osborn responded that “It is disappointing to learn that Caius students have decided not to remain affiliated to CUSU in 2014-15. In the face of turbulent changes throughout Higher Education, it is more important than ever to have a strongly united student voice. It is regrettable that Caius’ representatives will no longer have a part in this.”

Caius will join Corpus Christi as the only college JCRs to be disaffiliated from CUSU. Disaffiliated college MCRs include Darwin, Corpus, Downing, Magdalene and Peterhouse.

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