PEXIT: Peterhouse call for CUSU affiliation referendum

‘Peterhouse should not pay unnecessary fees to an organisation that operates with such incompetency and inefficiency’

anti-semitism Cambridge Cambridge University CUSU CUSU Council disaffiliation NUS Peterhouse Student Activism student politics TCS

A letter addressed to the Peterhouse JCR has called for a college-wide referendum on affiliation with CUSU, with arguments against CUSU including a failure to address NUS anti-Semitism by spearheading a campaign to remain within the Union, and the ‘undemocratic’ and ‘dysfunctional’ way the organisation operates. 

Currently signed by 17 Peterhouse undergraduates, the letter accuses CUSU of failing ‘to adequately address the pervasive issues of anti-semitism in the NUS by spearheading the campaign against disaffiliation in the recent referendum’, saying that many elected CUSU representatives have ‘dismissed the concerns of Jewish students’. It then elaborates that remaining in CUSU implies ‘tacit consent’ to this behaviour.

Calls from Cambridge’s oldest college to disaffiliate

However the letter elaborates that their problems with CUSU affiliation expand wider than links with the NUS, commenting on its ‘undemocratic’ central organisation. It draws attention to accusations that some students felt ‘difficulty expressing any criticisms or concerns’ at the two CUSU Council meetings this term where the NUS referendum and TCS Print edition fate were decided, whilst also saying the lack of ‘transparency’ in the NUS referendum was problematic.

This revealed concerns with how the financial links between CUSU and the NUS were misrepresented, as well as raising concerns about how voter turnout for the referendum was revealed whilst the voting was still ongoing.

One disaffiliation debate ends, another begins

The letter concludes by remarking upon successful campaigns that have run without the CUSU ‘rubber stamp’, including King’s protests about rent raises, and the Cambridge Student Minds Campaign.

Campaign member Eloise Davis said ‘We are deeply disappointed by CUSU’s handling of the NUS anti-semitism scandal. This comes on top of longer term concerns about the organisation’s incompetence and demands urgent action’.

Currently Corpus Christi and Gonville and Caius are disaffiliated from CUSU. Will Peterhouse be the next to join them?