After a motion on SUSU’s affiliation with the National Union of Students was put forward at this year’s Annual General Meeting – by Sam Ling, SUSU president – a referendum has been on the cards since May. And last Wednesday, the Elections Committee announced that the vote will take place on Thursday 6th December. Referendum 2012 is coming.
This comes after a failed vote in 2010, which saw the student body reject the move by 2 votes to 1. However, it was asserted by Ling that “the landscape of higher education has changed, as has the structure of both SUSU and the NUS”, so it was valid to raise the question again. Furthermore, he stated it would be ‘fair and democratic to ask the question to all students’ rather than a motion passed without student consent.
It is believed that the Union will try and create a more educated and informed campaign and discussion on the issue after the ‘botched’ attempt of 2010. This includes the creation of a independent trustee board sub-group which will evaluate the impact of the move; as well as a election committee working group created to help run and organised the forthcoming event.
Every student at the University will get a chance to vote whether they think SUSU should or should not join the NUS. Campaigning will also be actively encouraged with the SUSU website setting up a hub, where people can state their position on one side or the other, in the near future.
NUS is a student organisation is confederation of 600 students’ union, representing 95% of higher and further education students – more than seven million in total – throughout the UK.
NUS is a student-led confederation of 600 students’ union, representing 95% of higher and further education students – more than seven million in total - throughout the UK. SUSU, who left the body in 2002 through a AGM motion, is a sparse company joined by only 7 other ‘outsider’ University unions, including St. Andrews, Glasgow and Imperial College.
The issue is bound to cause much debate within the student community of the University, with many of the Sabbatical team also having strong opinions on the proposed affiliation. A further debate has emerged as to how and the extent to which the Sabbs should be allowed to campaign considering their elected positions, especially considering many did not include it in their election manifestos.
The Scene will be following the Referendum and the surrounding debate closely as the December 6th gets closer, so watch this space.
For more details, check out David Gilani’s – Vice-President of Communications – SUSU Blog here.
This article was edited on the 28th August, after it was revealed Durham University is now affiliated with NUS.