I’m Vote Leave, but Durham’s SU should be Neutral

The DSU should facilitate debate, not bypass it.

Tom Harwood is the Chair of Students for Britain.

Don’t stifle the debate.

We are being asked to vote on whether the DSU should take a position for the upcoming EU referendum debate.

The DSU taking a position will not simply be a gesture, it would mean using student money to campaign for a particular side. This is unprecedented in DSU history. The DSU did not pick a side in the AV referendum, and it certainly did not endorse or campaign for any particular political party at the general election.

A vote to endorse one side or the other is a vote to stifle debate. The DSU must be able to let both sides put their case, to allow students to make up their own minds.

We have seen what happens when a body that is supposed to represent students picks sides. The water becomes muddied with misinformation.

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Expect more baseless fiction like this

The country is split 50/50 on this issue, and students deserve to hear an open debate. Students deserve to be treated as adults and hear both sides of the argument.

(Incidentally students deserve a DSU that does not use the word ‘Europe’ in place of ‘EU’ on its literature. Are the Swiss or Norwegians, or 22 other non-EU european countries any less European than EU member states?)

The the DSU will take a position from this referendum that could have as little as a 5% turnout. That means an unrepresentative and insignificant number of students could force the DSU into using resources, time, and money to stifle debate.

If the DSU takes a position, they will be misallocating these resources away from issues that should be of a much higher priority to them, such as the scandal of rising college fees.

People want to know the facts in this referendum and having a biased student union in either direction will mean people are subjected to more scaremongering, propaganda, and misinformation.

I think students deserve to hear all of the sides of the debate. Like how non-EU countries such as Turkey and Iceland fully participate in the Erasmus programme.

Like how since 2011, due to the EU imposed discriminatory migration policy of our country, international student numbers have been steadily falling. The loss of up to 60,000 overseas students would translate to a loss in universities income of around £720 million.

The income from international students (£3.6bn) is far more important to UK Universities than that from the EU (£0.7bn), yet policy fails to reflect this.

Durham has over three times as many non-EU international students compared to EU international students, yet EU nationals get preferential treatment.


Non-eu international students pay higher fees, are not allowed to work & cannot get student loan. EU students get all three.

Everyone should have an equal chance of coming to our world class universities, and students should not be discriminated against simply because they happen to be born outside of Europe. If we vote leave we can end the EU imposed passport discrimination that is hurting further education in this country.


Students deserve open, honest, and accurate debate on both sides.

Vote to keep the DSU neutral in this debate.

Voting is open now.