Selwyn (Only Just) Stands by CUSU

Selwyn students vote to re-affiliate with the student union. HEATHER MCKAY reports.

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A motion for Selwyn to re-affiliate with CUSU was narrowly passed, with the support of 54.93% of students who voted. The triennial vote, required by their JCR’s constitution, followed a high-drama debate on Sunday where students were presented with the pros and cons of disaffiliation. Attended by around 40 students,  CUSU president Flick Osborn and Corpus Christi JCR president Jamie Wilman battled it out as they presented both sides.

Corpus chose to ditch CUSU following a tussle in 2009 where CUSU failed to support the college on numerous issues. Managing to back up his college’s decision, whilst neatly echoing Woody from Toy Story, Wilman said that it’s not possible to “call a friend a friend when they’re not a friend in need.”

Corpus students still remain members of CUSU via individual affiliation.

Wilman called for a federation of JCRs to replace CUSU. However, Osborn retorted that this would be “less, not more, efficient than CUSU”, and that every effort had to be made to stop the “domino-effect” of disaffiliation.

Flick’s Greatest Fear

Wilman stated that each college’s contribution to CUSU’s budget was so small as to be “negligible”.

Selwyn’s contribution of £2,600 is 0.74% of CUSU’s income. However, with no central University grant given to CUSU, the student union depends on JCR fees for 20% of its funding. Osborn stressed that losing college funding would result in a great deal of cuts on the services that CUSU can provide.

Before the vote, there were fears that Selwyn’s prospective disaffiliation would be yet another knock to CUSU’s credibility.

The question was raised as to how the money that had been previously dedicated to CUSU would be spent. Richard Cadman, Selwyn’s JCR president, shot down the argument, saying that the “no better alternative’” argument still didn’t justify the cost of CUSU affiliation.

Chilled: Artist interpretation of life at Corpus Christi

The Selwyn JCR President said after the vote “Most people seem to be in agreement that CUSU, in its current state, is ineffective and inefficient, and that we as a JCR are virtually unaffected by CUSU on a college-level.”

“There’s no denying the ideological need for the existence of a union, and the need for our representation at both a university and national level. What this debate came down to was whether effecting change in CUSU would come as a consequence of continued involvement and affiliation, or a harsh awakening in the form of disaffiliation.”

“We continue to be unimpressed with CUSU in its current form: the question is will they listen?”

One Selwynite who opposed the motion was hopeful that the money saved from disaffiliation could have been used on “sports, societies, and JCR events…. and potentially posher fillings for the Selwyn JCR Toastie nights.” Her dreams have been crushed.