The student population of the University of Surrey has decided to continue their Union’s affiliation with the NUS.
After voting over the last two days, the results were announced Friday evening with 85.9% of votes voting yes to continue the Students’ Union (USSU) affiliation with the national body.
This news comes at a time when the University of Southampton itself is amidst campaigning for and against affiliation to the NUS.
Both the ‘YestoNUS’ and the ‘NotoNUS’ campaigns have been vocal over the result, with both claiming the result as good news for their respective campaigns.
A Yes campaigner, stated this on the event:
Students’ Unions up and down the country hold regular referendums on affiliation; some hold them annually to constantly check student opinions – and like Surrey, they are almost always positive, which makes you wonder why everyone always says yes – although it is always easier to stay with the status quo.
Indeed, it was this last point which the NotoNUS team have been quick to note, claiming that the issue was different than that facing SUSU – who are asking whether to reaffilate; not just to keep affiliation – and that thus many just voted in order to keep the status quo.
NotoNUS Campaign team member Simon Boyce said:
“Surrey can rightly be proud of themselves having achieved a clear result with a record turnout for an NUS referendum within their union, without sabbaticals trying to force the issue. As an established member of NUS, it is no surprise that Surrey continue to see value in maintaining their union’s affiliation, especially as a smaller union with a lower NUS fee and without the experience of autonomy we at SUSU have. Here, the Southampton culture of self-reliance following a decade of independence ensures that we will examine the arguments in a different light.”
With a voting turnout of only 1120 students – 7% of Surrey’s 15,000 student population – there was also far less time for students to learn about the issues of NUS affiliation with the referendum announced only two weeks previously on the 3rd October.[quote align=”left” name=”Sasha Watson”]What will be really interesting, though, is at St. Andrews, another of last few unaffiliated unions, where they are holding a referendum on affiliation in November, and see how that pans out”[/quote]
A better indicator will be the upcoming referendum in St. Andrews, who are also asking their student body whether to reaffilate after a period of independence from the NUS.
This result therefore is only serves to be a snapshot of what’s facing SUSU; with a different issue, impartial Sabbs, an engagement period far less informative and shorter than SUSU hopes to achieve and, most importantly, a different union and student body.
In the run-up to Southampton’s NUS referendum, the Wessex Scene will be reporting on many other Universities’ NUS journeys; both past and present, so remember to check back for more news.