NUS Referendum

By Benjamin Leatham


What’s Happening?

Every three years YUSU offers students the opportunity to make a decision on our affiliation to the National Union of Students (NUS). The next referendum, due in 2017, has been accelerated with the submission of a policy motion calling for the question of YUSU’s ongoing affiliation to be put to students.




Our Policy & Review Group, headed up by the elected Policy Coordinator, has decided to move forward with a referendum on whether YUSU should continue its affiliation with the NUS. This has been brought forward following the submission of an idea which the PRG felt warranted a cross-campus referendum as opposed to regular consultation.  James Humpish, the Policy Coordinator explains:

“We have decided to move ahead with this for a number of reasons. Firstly, we have noted that affiliation with the NUS affects every member of YUSU and continuing membership has become a contentious issue within campus with some voices for and against having been expressed earlier in the term. Having said this, a referendum provides the opportunity for every student to express their opinion on continued membership and by proposing this two weeks in advance, there is a healthy timeframe for both a ‘Stay’ and ‘Leave’ campaign to develop and effectively coordinate themselves so as to share their arguments for and against continued affiliation with the NUS. It was further noted that question of NUS membership has been raised in multiple universities across the country with some unions having decided to stay in the NUS and others deciding to leave. Holding a referendum provides capacity for students in York to demonstrate democratically where our university stands on the issue.”

A referendum will now take place before the end of Summer term with voting opening on Wednesday 1 June, 10am (Week 8), and remaining open until the following Wednesday 8 June, 5pm (Week 9).


What is a YUSU referendum?

A YUSU referendum is a vote that is open to every student. Students will be asked to respond ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Abstain’ to the question:

‘Should YUSU Remain Affiliated with the NUS?’

The outcome will be decided by a simple majority.  If more students vote ‘No,’ YUSU will inform the NUS that we will not be renewing the affiliation. To reach quoracy 5% of YUSU members must vote. If under 5% of members vote then no change will be made.


Key Dates;

  • Monday 23rd May - Online Campaigning Begins

  • Tuesday 31st May - Physical Campaigning Begins

  • 31 May, 5.30pm-7pm - Referendum debate (P/T/006)

  • Wednesday 1 June - 10am, Voting Opens

  • Wednesday 8 June -  5pm, Voting Closes

  • Thursday 9 June - Results Announced.  


Find Out More/Get Involved;

There’s loads more information available on our minisite, including key NUS Facts & Figures, as well as the arguments from both the Yes and No Campaign Groups (NB: If you’re interested in joining either campaign team please email


YES Campaign, led by Chris Wall

NO Campaign, led by Robin Brabham