Student Union satisfaction at an all-time low

Colm Murphy 13 November 2015

Cambridge students are the least satisfied with their university student union out of any other university according to an extensive national survey.

The National Student Survey 2015, which canvasses finalists every year, shows 32% were “satisfied” with their “students’ union.”

1,867 responded out of a potential 3,132 students. Meanwhile, 40% “neither agree nor disagree.” In 2014, 37% were satisfied.

This makes Cambridge the lowest university in satisfaction rating, and fifth last in the overall table of higher education institutions. 155 universities took part in the survey.

It is also Cambridge’s lowest satisfaction figure since the question was introduced in 2012.

Oxford were the second last university for satisfaction with their student union. Bristol recorded 40% satisfaction and Durham 42%.

The University as a whole has over 60 student unions, including the uni-wide CUSU, but also JCRs, most of whom are affiliated with CUSU.

CUSU president Priscilla Mensah spoke to The Cambridge Student: “These results aren’t about this year’s CUSU … a line needs to be drawn under this in a new year.”

In March, the CUSU sabbatical elections received the highest turnout since online records began. She stated: “This year’s sabbatical team ran with the aim of changing a resistant CUSU narrative.

“We have already made significant strides in ensuring students know what we do” and are “fostering a relationship with students who hadn’t engaged with CUSU in the past.”

Mensah stressed that each team “works with little funding … and this year, we are endeavouring to be consistently strategic about how we target students.

“We’re excited to see how perceptions of CUSU have changed by July 2016.”

Meanwhile, there were more positive statistics for teaching, as 90% said they were “satisfied with the quality of my course”.

Psychology students recorded 95% History 94%, and Economics 77%; AMES students recorded 71%, higher than last year’s 55%.

However, while 98% of Classics students said their course is “well organised and runs smoothly” only 40% of Linguistics students, and 42% of Music students did so. The University was unavailable for comment on the results.

Last year, an internal report of the survey seen by TCS showed that only 38% of students agreed that they did not feel “unnecessary pressure”. Currently, the 2015 report which contains that data is not available.

This comes as CUSU Council passed a motion calling for the Tompkins Table (a college ranking table) to be scrapped, described by The Tab as “Marxist”.