CUSU to hold referendum on NUS membership

Lili Bidwell 3 May 2016

Following a vote a Monday's CUSU Council meeting, Cambridge students will have the opportunity to vote on NUS affiliation.

The campaign for disaffilation stemmed from allegedly anti-sematic comments of the newly elected NUS president, Malia Bouattia. She has strongly denied the claims.

The motion, voted on by JCR Presidents and External Officers, was passed with 32 votes in favour, 7 against, 10 abstentions and 5 invalid papers. The referendum itself will begin on 17 May and end on 20 May. The motion also obliges CUSU Sabbatical officers to draft an open letter to the NUS condemning anti-semitism within the organisation.

Speaking in favour of the motion, Adam Crafton stressed that 85% of students present at the last Cambridge Jewish Society meeting voted in favour of a referendum, thus demonstrating their concern about the current president of the NUS.

Ex-Pal Soc President Anna Khalfaoui debated against the motion, arguing that condemning Bouattia as anti-semitic threatened debate over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Cambridge's referendum comes after similar campaigns in Oxford, York and Manchester. The University of Lincoln is currently holding a referendum on NUS membership. The President of Oxford University Students' Union Becky Howe is opposing disaffiliation, saying “We should be defending our education from marketisation – together. Disunion will, I believe, only do us harm.”

During CUSU Council, CUSU President Priscilla Mensah also spoke in favour of the NUS, particularly praising the black sabbs movement.