Motion to disaffiliate from NUS is narrowly defeated in Cambridge


Cambridge University has narrowly voted against disaffiliation from the National Union of Students.

The student union would have become the fourth institution to leave the national body following the election of Malia Bouattia, following Lincoln, Newcastle and Hull.

Instead, Cambridge joined Warwick and Exeter universities in staying affiliated to the NUS.

The referendum, which ended today with a 29 per cent voter turnout, saw 3,183 students choose to stay in the NUS, as opposed to 2,880 who vote to disaffiliate. The No campaign triumphed by 52 per cent to 47 per cent, with one per cent abstaining.

The first point on the Yes side’s list of reasons for voters was that “many students are concerned by antisemitism perceived within NUS, including the national executive voting to remove the precedent of a permanent leadership place for a Jewish student in the Anti-Racism Anti-Facism Campaign”. The Yes team alleged that Ms Bouattia, the president-elect, had made “antisemitic comments for which she has yet to apologise”.

Adam Crafton and Jack May, the students who started the Yes campaign, said in a statement that they were “disappointed” with the outcome, but added that the debate had “awoken the Cambridge student community to the challenges facing Jewish students on British campuses in 2016”.

The co-founders said today’s revelation that Ms Bouattia was investigated for antisemitism last year behind closed doors was “appalling”, and provided “conclusive evidence that the NUS cannot be trusted to confront antisemitism.

“It is vital that the NUS do not see this vote as a legitimisation of the direction their organisation is taking but instead see it as a mandate from a very prestigious university to be allowed one last chance to secure the reforms that Jewish students deserve,” they added.

The decision of whether Loughborough University student union is to leave the NUS will be taken by the Board of Trustees after students failed to meet the required number of votes.

There were nearly 2,000 fewer voters than the amount needed for a valid referendum, which was 4,000. Of the ballots cast on Thursday and Friday, a majority voted to disaffiliate by 54 per cent to 41 per cent.

Students at Worcester University were also unable to meet the cut-off point for votes.

The students union releasing a statement explaining that because of this, “the status quo prevails and Worcester SU will remain affiliated with the NUS.”

Students at Oxford, Nottingham and York universities are due to hold referendums on disaffiliating from the NUS within the next two weeks.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive