An early poll of NUS Referendum voting intentions has revealed a staggering lead for the Leave campaign, with 65 per cent of respondents declaring that they will vote to disaffiliate from the Union, compared with 35 per cent opting to vote Remain.
The poll recorded 273 responses, opening the day before campaigning began and closing on Sunday. It appeared publicly on the Nouse website for the duration of the period.
Turnout for the Referendum itself was recorded as being just short of 2000 on Saturday, and passed the 5 per cent quoracy boundary within the first days of voting being open to the student population.
Poll data shows that the main reason students wanted to leave the NUS was that “the NUS does not adequately represent me and my views as a student”, closely followed by “the NUS is fundamentally undemocratic and too resistant to reform”.
The Remain vote showed a more varied set of motivations, with the top main reason being that “opposing higher education reforms requires collectivity of the kind that the NUS provides”. The second most popular reason for voting Remain was that the NUS is “a vital institution for the support and furtherment of Liberation Networks and their aims”.
The Referendum was accelerated earlier this term following a policy submission from lobbyists that brought forward the review of York’s NUS affiliation from the autumn term. Campaign groups No2NUS and York Says Yes To NUS have since contested the vote, led by University of York Green Party leader Robin Brabham and YUSU Activities Officer Chris Wall respectively.
At last week’s Referendum Debate, which pitted Wall opposite Brabham, a statement from the University of York Jewish Society was read out declaring that the group believes the NUS “does not guard our welfare”.
Incoming YUSU Activities Officer Alex Lusty, who presented the letter to the debate, commented that “the letter speaks for itself”.
“The NUS has, since the eighties, repeatedly admitted to having problems with anti-Semitism, repeatedly said it will tackle it, and repeatedly failed to do so,” he said.
Newcastle, Lincoln and Hull universities voted to disaffiliate from the Union last month, following a string of controversies at the recent conference that centred around newly elected President Malia Bouattia and the dismissal of a proposal for a One Member One Vote election structure. However Exeter, Oxford and Cambridge all recently voted to remain within the Union.
A Leave vote at York would see the University join Southampton, Newcastle, Glasgow and Imperial College London as the only Russell Group member universities outside of the NUS.
York’s results will be announced on Thursday, with referendum voting closing tomorrow.