Oxford undecided about NUS affiliation vote

first_imgOver 30 per cent of Oxford students are unaware that OUSU is holding a referendum on affiliation with the National Union of Students this week, while nearly 60 per cent of those who are aware are unsure whether to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and another 15 per cent have decided they will not vote at all, a Cherwell straw poll has shown. Explaining her stance, Hertford Medic Yunfei Yang, who has not yet decided how to vote, observed, “In terms of reasoning I don’t have a profound reason to vote either way. There seem to be pros and cons to both sides, but I expect that I will have made up my mind by Wednesday”. Cherwell’s results also revealed that of those aware that the referendum was taking place, approximately 23 per cent intend to vote ‘yes’ to re-affiliation with the NUS, while less than 3 per cent expect to vote ‘no’. A second-year physicist, who has decided not to vote in the referendum, explained, “I simply know nothing about it, and therefore I don’t feel the need to vote, or even that I have the right to vote. I don’t blame OUSU or anyone else, I blame myself for not showing an interest”. The large number of undecided and non-voters indicate that although the turnout seems likely to be poor, the ‘no’ campaign will have to attract a significant number of undecided voters in order to prevail. [mm-hide-text]%%IMG_ORIGINAL%%9731%%[/mm-hide-text]  However, commenting on the results, ‘no’ campaign leader Jack J Matthews remarked, “These results clearly show how the NUS has no meaningful relationship with students in Oxford. What I fear most however, is watching the NUS ride back in on a wave of apathy. If you feel the NUS does not represent you, then stand up, make your voice heard, and vote no”. Likewise, OUSU President and ‘yes’ campaign leader Tom Rutland told Cherwell, “We’re speaking to as many students as we can this week about the benefits of NUS affiliation. Whether it’s the £500,000 in access funds they saved for Oxford students alone this year, the NUS Extra discount that students can take advantage of even in the year after disaffiliation, or the support they provide for our liberation campaigns for LGBT, BME, disabled and women students, it’s clear that we’re better off in NUS.” [mm-hide-text]%%IMG_ORIGINAL%%9732%%[/mm-hide-text] Cherwell News surveyed 112 students in the vicinity of Radcliffe Square this afternoon. Voting for the referendum opened at 8am this morning, and will close at 6pm on Wednesday evening. OUSU Council decided to call a referendum last term, after the defeat of a motion to hold a Special Council, to which JCRs would have sent delegates to vote on their behalf. Proponents of a Special Council had argued that given historically-low OUSU referendum turnouts, it would have been more democratic for the debate to take place in common rooms. However, OUSU Council decided that because opting for a Special Council would exclude members of disaffiliated JCRs from voting, holding an all-student referendum was the preferable option.last_img read more