Exclusive: Colleges Clamour for CUSU Disaffiliation

Days after leading a student march against fee rises, CUSU could face cuts of their own as colleges renew the debate over disaffiliation.

Days after leading a student march against fee rises, CUSU could face cuts of their own as colleges reignite the debate over disaffiliation.

Corpus are holding a vote to determine whether they should remain affiliated with CUSU, whilst students at Selwyn and Queens’ are campaigning for a break from the student union.

Corpus’ JCR president Rhys Grant confirmed: “We are having a vote on whether we should disaffiliate from CUSU at some point in the near future, though I have no idea what the result of the vote will be.”

But Corpus is not the only college considering disaffiliation. Rumour has it that the debate at Selwyn is getting quite rowdy, with disaffiliation t-shirts being worn around college.

Second year Selwyn student Rosie Cavill explained that the t-shirts are linked to the JCR presidential elections which just happened.

She told The Tab: “Because the college is so poor at the minute, students are being over-charged a fair amount and the current president doesn’t really fight our corner, so the nominees for next year were pretty eager to bring this up in their campaigns.”

CUSU president Rahul Mansigani argues that CUSU provides value for money to colleges.

Selwyn JCR’s current External Officer Paul Jefferson, however, denies the existence of such t-shirts. “No-one we have spoken to has seen any t-shirts or protests.”

Ben Gliniecki, who will be Selwyn’s JCR president next year, explained that Selwyn had a debate about CUSU affiliation last week. “The debate arose from a discussion about our JCR budget and some people were questioning why we were paying what is almost a third of our budget to CUSU for what are essentially unquantifiable benefits – a perfectly valid question.”

However, 20 Selwyn students who attended the debate voted in favour of remained affiliation, whilst only 12 voted in favour of disaffiliation. Controversially, Ben voted for remained affiliation. “It would be a very selfish act to remove our funding and yet still expect the same services from CUSU as everyone else was given and expect all other JCRs to fund them for us.

“Personally, I’m glad we remained affiliated. Although the cost is significant, it all goes towards what are really important services for Cambridge students: welfare, access, education support and representation to the university council.”

Meanwhile, the Queens’ JCR website is polling students about whether CUSU disaffiliation is “still thought necessary when considering Queens’ already stretched resources?” To date, 56% of votes cast say ‘no’, and 44% say ‘yes’.

Queens’ JCR president Charlie Bell commented: “As a representative body, we should make the time to find out our students’ views on a variety of issues, especially in straightened financial times. Anything springing from this will be fully debated at a later point.”

Every Cambridge undergraduate is automatically charged £6.70 to be a member of CUSU, although students are offered the option of opting out at a later date.

JCR affiliation with CUSU is optional, and any JCR can withdraw at any point, removing all of its students’ contribution to the CUSU budget. Currently, all college JCRs are affiliated with CUSU, but Downing and Magdelene’s MCRs are disaffiliated.

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