Corpus students vote to keep CUSU disaffiliation

Corpus Christi College's New Court
Image credit: Diliff, Wikimedia Commons

Students at Corpus Christi College have voted to remain disaffiliated from the Cambridge University Students Union in a referendum run on Saturday and Sunday. Turnout was at 48% (in line with the 40% needed for the result to be declared valid), and 83% voted to remain disaffiliated.

Corpus and Caius stand as the only two Cambridge colleges to be disaffiliated from CUSU. Corpus disaffiliated in 2010 over financial concerns, and complaints that CUSU lacked transparency over the roles and funding of its sabbatical officers - especially as Corpus students were seen to be more interested in the University Counselling Service than CUSU’s alternative Student Advice Service. In 2010, 71% of undergraduate voters chose to disaffiliate, meaning this weekend’s vote passed by a higher margin.

Another referendum was held last November, with a majority of Corpus voters choosing again to remain disaffiliated. In October 2016, Peterhouse also held its own referendum, with 61.6% of votes supporting it remaining affiliated with CUSU.

Speaking to TCS, a student at Corpus said the general consensus was that it was "not a particularly contentious vote."

They went on, "We don’t gain anything by paying for [CUSU],” with the “only argument CUSU seemed to provide” being that “other colleges felt resentment towards us for having benefits without having to pay.” CUSU tried to push its welfare training as a possible benefit, but the student wrote that, “[the Corpus] welfare team already gets training on a […] one-to-one basis anyway (which is better than a workshop with a few hundred welfare officers.)”

Corpus students are currently able to access some CUSU services without paying the annual affiliation fee. CUSU President Daisy Eyre addressed this in a talk earlier in November, where she explained that CUSU is looking to convert its affiliation fee to a levy, to avoid a loss of income associated with Colleges disaffiliating from CUSU.

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