NUS figures come to Cambridge to campaign in disaffiliation referendum

Sam Harrison 26 May 2016

Figures from the National Union of Students have come to Cambridge to advocate a vote for CUSU to remain affiliated with the national organisation.

On Wednesday, the NUS Vice-President for Union Development Richard Brooks and the Wales Women’s Officer Rosie Inman, made visits to Cambridge, and they will be followed today by outgoing President Megan Dunn and Vice President for Futher Education Shakira Martin.

The visits come soon after Hull University became the third to vote for disaffiliation. Their referendum followed a vote to remain affiliated at Essex University, and the NUS will be looking to consolidate that victory with another in Cambridge in an effort to staunch the losses.

Today, an individual from the NUS accompanied Cambridge University ‘No’ campaigners to the Sidgwick Site, where the group hung up a banner and handed out leaflets. The group was unwilling to allow TCS to talk to the person from the NUS, but one official No campaigner did answer some questions about the referendum.

She conceded that the campaign for disaffiliation has made “some valid points”, but argued that her own campaign was addressing them, and emphasised the efforts of the NUS itself to respond to their criticisms, in particular its recently-announced democratic and anti-racism reviews.

She denied that problems are ingrained in the NUS, stating her belief that “The NUS is not an organisation which is unwilling to change in any way” and calling the argument that it was beyond reform “quite strange”. She also expressed concern that people are ill-informed about the referendum, saying that many of the individuals with whom the group had spoken were not aware that the referendum was taking place, but added that they were “willing to listen to the arguments on both sides” and that the task of her campaign was to inform students of how the NUS affects them.

Also on the Sidgwick Site today were pro-disaffiliation campaigners, who welcomed the arrival of the NUS officials. They said, "It's good to see them here. It shows that NUS care about the result in Cambridge but not necessarily about the concerns. That needs to be shown in real action.”