Following a vote by Student Forum, the process of holding a referendum into LSU’s affiliation with the NUS was passed unanimously. Students and Executive Members at Student Forum today debated the need for a referendum about the LSU’s affiliations with strong arguments being presented from both sides.

The motion was submitted to Student Forum by Matt Gill, Union Affairs EO elect. He said: “we’ve submitted the motion as a number of the student body and a number of delegate team and delegate team prior have all voiced an aspiration to question their NUS affiliation. It is believed we should have a referendum in which the students are more informed than simply ticking a box after the executive elections.”

Students of Loughborough only recently voted on LSU’s membership of the NUS, back in February, where 6689 students voted; of which 5053 students voted to stay in the NUS, whilst only 268 voted to leave. While it was argued that while an overwhelming majority voted to stay in the NUS the students of Loughborough were not informed enough.

Dan Leedham spoke about this issue saying “putting this [voting numbers] into perspective I draw upon the words of a report by the NUS ‘Democracy is Dead! Long live democracies’, a paper that seeks to assess the democratic deficit within the student movement. Within it a number of democratic good are identified: ‘inclusiveness, popular control, considered judgment and transparency’. The argument against the debate we had, or didn’t have, over NUS affiliation – I argue it did not fit these guidelines as suggested as key for democracy, even guidelines from the NUS”.

Along with the idea that previous votes on LSU’s membership have not been truly democratic, some argued that with the NUS currently in national headlines and with 14 other students’ unions having a vote on their membership, now is the perfect time to discuss LSU’s affiliation.

There were also arguments for why a referendum should not be held, and student engagement was brought up. With only 6689 students voting in the exec elections, is it truly feasible to get 4000 voters needed and for them to be truly engaged in the discussion surrounding LSU’s affiliation? Also, with only a few students calling for a referendum, is it really democratic to have one?

A vote was put to the voting members of Student Forum, who voted unanimously in favour of having a referendum about LSU’s affiliation with the NUS. Following this vote the Union Affairs Committee will move forward, with a week of campaigning, debate with both sides of the argument into staying or leaving the NUS and a three day voting period at a time yet to be confirmed.

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Jack Berisford

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