CUSU Council proposes further discussion on NUS affiliation

Image credit: Khushali Dodhia

CUSU Council has voted to remain affiliated with the NUS, with the provision that the issue of affiliation is returned to and debated at the start of next term.

Until this discussion at the first CUSU Council of Easter Term, CUSU President Amatey Doku has been mandated to renegotiate this year’s affiliation cost and “to seek a concrete agreement” with the NUS over next year’s fee before the CUSU budget for 2017/18 is set next term.

It was revealed last week that the NUS’s affiliation cost for this academic year was to be more than 2000% higher than CUSU had budgeted for.

The fee was expected to be £250, but CUSU were invoiced earlier this year by the NUS for £5765 for the affiliation fee.

Doku stated at the Council meeting that the NUS had reconfigured the way that they calculated affiliation fees for each student union, as a result of an internal review. The rise to the new figure can be explained by the fact that, for the first time, financial contributions from colleges to CUSU have been considered as relevant financial information by the appropriate NUS committee. He pointed out that this was an issue that does not affect most other universities, including Oxford, despite having a similar collegiate system.

It has also been suggested by the NUS that the fee may be even higher for 2017/18, quoting a figure of around £9500; however, this remains uncertain due to the suggestion of a new affiliation fee model which has not been confirmed by the NUS yet.

The Council has mandated that Doku should make clear in the negotiations with the NUS that if the new fee is not lowered, this will be considered in the Easter Term debate on CUSU’s affiliation to the national union.

The Council has the power to decide whether CUSU remains affiliated to the NUS or not, without putting the decision to a referendum vote as was done last year. The majority of those that voted last May chose to stay affiliated to the NUS, with 46.62% voting to leave, and 51.52% of voters choosing to stay. However, it has been noted that the referendum took place when £250 was assumed to be the annual affiliation fee.

Cambridge’s six NUS delegates, who will be attending the NUS National Conference in April, have been instructed to vote for any policy which would reduce the amount CUSU has to pay for affiliation.

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